English & Spanish Titles To Read at Home
One of the most important reasons we are raising our kids bilingually is to try to open up their eyes to different worlds. For us, learning a new language is just a start to learning about other people, their cultures, and their histories.
The history of Black people is relevant to all of us. I want my kids to grow up in a world where parents and teachers care that we learn about each other. Because learning about each other can open the doors for empathy, compassion, and kindness.
We need children’s books about Black role models and heroes in our homes and our schools.
An important step in helping our kids understand racism today and what they can do about it is reading with them a variety of diverse books. Books are such an important tool to help kids start learning about other people and our similarities and differences. Furthermore, books can help parents get kids thinking, and get families talking about important issues in our world.
Experts say that having conversations with our kids about racism can help them develop empathy, setting the foundation for becoming anti-racist adults.
Change begins in our hearts and in our homes.
These books include biography-based picture books of Black history. They also include interesting stories with Black protagonists. I hope they can be a good starting point for finding quality English and Spanish books to add to your home or classroom library. Add some diverse books to your family’s daily routine.
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Books about Black History
By Alma Flor Ada & F. Isabel Campoy, illustrated by Mnica Weiss [Ages 5-8]
A beautiful story about how Mrs. Park’s class gets ready to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Day together. By the renowned author-illustrator team of Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy.
by Susan Verde, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds [Ages 4-8]
This is an inspiring true story about supermodel Georgie Badiel’s childhood. She grew up in an African village and traveled daily to bring clean drinking water to her family. A story to shed light on a continued struggle for people all over the world, and hope that comes when children have clean water.
In English: The Water Princess
By Yona Zeldis McDonough, illustrated by Stephen Marchesi [Ages 8-11]
This biography about Rosa Parks, the “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement,” helps kids think about how a small act can spark change. It has black-and-white illustrations.
In English: Who Was Rosa Parks?
By Bonnie Bader & Who HQ, illustrated by Elizabeth Wolf [Ages 8-12]
Another book in the series Who Was…? This is the biography of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This series is intended for children ages 8-12.
In English: Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.?
By William Kamkwamba & Bryan Mealer [Ages 5-8]
The true story of William Kamkwamba and the windmill that he built to get electricity to his tiny village in Malawi after a drought took away his family’s crops and livelihood. An inspiration for young kids and bright ideas that can change lives.
In English: The Boy who Harnessed the Wind
By Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts [Ages 5-8]
Inspired by scientists Ada Lovelace and Marie Curie, this New York Times bestselling book showcases the power of curiosity and problem-solving. A perfect book to empower young girls who love math and science.
In English: Ada Twist, Scientist
By Christine Platt, illustrated by Sharon Sordo [Ages 4-9]
Ana and Andrew take kids on amazing adventures learning about important achievements in Black history and culture. There are 4 titles available in Spanish, and 8 titles in English.
In English: Ana & Andrew (this links to the title “A Day at the Museum”)
by María Isabel Sánchez Vegara, illustrated by Pili Aguado Sierra [Ages 4-7]
Stories with Black Protagonists
By Mary Hoffman, illustrated by Caroline Binch [Ages 4-8]
A beautiful story about a very adventurous little girl and her big dreams – and not letting anything stop her. We love the illustrations in this one!
In English: Amazing Grace
By Oge Mora [Ages 4-8]
This book showcases themes of sharing and community, and was inspired by loving female role models in the author’s life. Omu (AH-moo) is what she called her grandma.
In English: Thank You, Omu!
By Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael López [Ages 5-8]
We all have felt a little bit different at some time or another – by the way we look, the language we speak, or where we’re from. This book teaches us to be brave and be who we are.
In English: The Day You Begin
By Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson [Ages 2-5]
This New York Times Bestseller has won several awards, including the 2016 Newbery Medal. A heartwarming story about a bus ride across town by a little boy and his grandma, learning about the beauty and differences in the world.
In English: Last Stop on Market Street
By Vera Williams [Ages 4-8]
One of our favorite books, this story is about a little girl and her mom saving up to buy a chair after losing everything in a fire. Beautiful illustrations and a beautiful story of community and hard work.
In English: A Chair for My Mother
By Anna McQuinn, illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw [Ages 2-5]
This is a sweet story about a little girl who loves to read, and how she learns she can share that love for books with her new baby brother. All of my kids have loved Anna McQuinn’s Lola (and Leo) series books!
In English: Lola Reads to Leo
By Gaia Cornwall, translated by Georgina Lázaro [Ages 4-8]
A cute story about a little boy tackling his fears at the swimming pool – with the support of his patient father there cheering him on.
In English: Jabari Jumps
By John Steptoe [Ages 4-8]
An African tale about a father with two very different daughters. This story teaches us about the importance of treating all creatures with kindness.
In English: Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters
More must-read English books about Black history:
- Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison
- Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History by Vashti Harrison
- Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Bryan Collier
- The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath (Amazing Scientists) by Julia Finley Mosca, illustrated by Daniel Rieley
- When God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner, illustrated by David Catrow
Have you read any of these picture books that celebrate Black history and stories? Support Bilingual Balance and local bookstores by checking out my other top book recommendations on Bookshop!
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- Easy Screen-Free Spanish Activities for Kids
Let’s listen and grow. Let’s inspire our kids to learn about and care for others!