Bank Street College of Education has announced their list of The Best Children’s Books of the Year in Spanish, 2024 Edition, and we have more than a dozen congratulations to share! The list calls attention to stellar children’s books in Spanish that were published or translated in 2023 as selected by a community of education and children’s literature experts and is available in both English and Spanish editions as a free download (running to 18 pages). Each title includes full bibliographic information, a brief annotation in both English and Spanish, and an image of the cover. We want to note here of the titles selected.
Bilingual board book ¡Muy verde! Too Green! by Sumana Seeborath with illustrations by Maribel Castells, and published by Barefoot Books, gives toddlers an engaging exploration of one of their peers confronted by suspect food—certainly a situation with which many toddlers can relate. The same board book series also presents a fully relatable situation for toddlers in ¡Yo sola! By Myself! by the same author and illustrator team.
Tiger Tales Books receives plaudits for the toddler-friendly picture book, Te Amo hasta la luna y las estrellas (from the original English language edition, I Love You to the Moon and Back). Written by Amelia Hepworth with illustrations by Tim Warnes, the Spanish translation is the work of Maria Correa and Mauricio Correa. This makes a lovely bedtime story with its declaration of parental love featuring a beautiful nighttime sky.
Soaring Kite Books earns four places on Bank Street’s list. First up is a trio of bilingual books for the very young, each written by Delia Ruiz and illustrated by Graziela Andrade. ¡1, 2, 3 Cumbia! English-Spanish Manners Book; ¡1, 2, 3 Merengue! English-Spanish Instruments and Sounds Book; and ¡1, 2, 3 Salsa! English-Spanish Counting Book are presented as the aptly named as the “¡1, 2, 3 Baila!” series and provide fine opportunities to get up and dance while learning to be polite to your partner, recognize the sounds different musical instruments provides, and count to ten.
Also from Soaring Kite Books, for slightly older readers, comes a unique and conversation-starter picture book released in both English and Spanish editions. Written by former Washington, D.C teacher Darren López and illustrated by Bhagya Madanasinghe, Mi Maestro Tiene Tatuajes (My Teacher Has Tattoos) allows readers, along with the protagonist, to discover that tattoos are meaningful in ways beyond his previously assumed association of them with gang membership.
Spain’s NubeOcho Books has seven titles on Bank Street’s list! Una Caja (available in English as The Box) written and illustrated by Maria José Ballesteros, asks readers two to five whether the picture book siblings featured should or shouldn’t open the mysterious box they’ve been given. Ainhoa Revoltosa (also published in an English translation, Ruby the Rambunctious), by José Carlos Andrés and illustrated by Lucia Serrano, presents readers ages three to seven the story of an active little girl who learns how to accept the onset of a physical disability and roll with it. For the same age group, El amor más grande (originally published in English as Big Love), written by Megan Jacobson, illustrated by Beck Feiner, and translated to Spanish by Luis Amavisca and Ude AutumnLeaf, shows diverse families in which parents and grandparents tell their children the enormous size of their love for them.
Three titles selected by Bank Street are drawn from NubeOcho’s somos8 series which feature first experiences and feelings about them for little readers to explore, identify with, and learn to articulate their feelings. Quiero jugar antes de dormir, another picture book title by José Carlos Andrés, this one illustrated by Alessandro Montagnana, offers a story preschoolers will understand perfectly: Little Elephant does not want to go to call it a day even as his community tries to get to sleep themselves. The title is also available in English as Sleeping Is Not for Me! Mamá pingüina es la major, written and illustrated by Chris Haughton, which provides toddler and just-beyond-toddler readers with a penguin chick’s wait for the return of their mother with dinner.¡Soy un príncipe! (I’m a Prince!) by A.H. Benjamin, illustrated by Alessandro Montagnana, and translated to Spanish by Luis Amavisca, stars a little pig who learns the importance of being just himself.
Older readers have a different NubeOcho series entry to celebrate. The newest in picture books about Daniela and her pirate friends is Daniela y las mujeres pirata de la historia (also published in English as Daniela and History’s Women Pirates), written by Susanna Isern and illustrated by a prolific new children’s book illustrator who goes by the singular name Gómez, this time features fact as well as fiction. Age-scaled biographies of ten famous women pirates are featured are provided for four to seven-year-olds.
Bank Street’s list, of course, has many other delights to discover. Whether your native language is Spanish or you are just beginning to step outside English language kids’ books and those translated to English, here’s a great list to start your Spanish reading explorations.