In anticipation of Hispanic Heritage Month, here are some favorite Latino bedtime stories! Some are in Spanish, others are bilingual, others are mostly in English with Spanish phrases sprinkled in; some emphasize cultural themes or traditions.
What they have in common is passing on heritage – whether through language or culture – through the snuggly intimacy of bedtime stories. Enjoy!
Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of books from Bab’l Books for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission.
Latino Bedtime Stories
Kitchen Dance is a new favorite of mine! Two children are tucked into their beds when they hear strange noises coming from the kitchen. They sneak our of bed and find … their parents, dancing as they put away the dishes! Their father croons a Spanish song into a wooden spoon as he spins their mother around the kitchen. Soon the children are discovered and included in the kitchen dance before being gently returned to bed. This sweet story about a family’s love is a wonderful way to send your children off to dreamland.
George was the shortest giraffe in his herd. He dreams of being so tall that he could eat the moon. But when one night his dream comes true, he gets a big surprise! The Giraffe That Ate the Moon (La Jirafa Que Se Comió la Luna) is an adorable bilingual story about learning to be happy as you are and discovering what is really important. It and the other bilingual books from Bab’l Books were created through a unique translation process: crowd sourcing! Read more about it in this interview on Trilingual Mama and enter below for a chance to win this book and Don’t Wake the Baby! (No Despiertes a la Bebé!)
A truly beautiful book is Nochecita from the wonderful Yuyi Morales (also available in English as Little Night). Nochecita is a story all parents and children can relate to, of a child playing hide and seek instead of coming when her mothers calls her. But this is no ordinary child, it is Night itself, thus the delightful twist at the end as we discover that Nochecita is not getting ready for bed – as most children do when it grows dark – but going out to play in the night sky with her ball, the moon. Children will enjoy the playful antics of Nochecita and Mother Sky’s loving responses, as well as seeing if they can guess where Nochecita is hiding this time. The enchanting, magical illustrations complement the story beautifully, as Nochecita’s bath is made of stars, her dress of clouds, and her hair pinned up with the sparkling trio of Venus, Mercury, and Jupiter.
I got turned onto Texas author Pat Mora thanks to my friend Becky at Kid World Citizen, and I’m so glad! While Mora has written many wonderful books, Little Monkey and I are currently loving her My Family/Mi Familia series, which follow the adventures and daily rhythms of one bilingual family. In Sweet Dreams/Dulces Sueños, Grandma comes to tuck the children into bed, telling them about all the animals that are also lying down to sleep. A wonderfully gentle way to coax your little ones to sleep as well.
Can’t sleep? Why not count sheep – in English and Spanish? Counting Ovejas is a really cute story about a boy who does just that, though the sheep don’t do exactly as they are told! This bilingual book is a fun way to teach numbers and colors in Spanish.
Take a fantastical journey through a dream world as the night spins tales to a child at bedtime. The imagination has no limits as the child travels from one magical scene to another before finally drifting off to sleep. Cuento de Noche (Spanish Edition) is a beautiful bedtime book from Spanish author Roberto Aliaga that highlights the wonder of the imagination.
A long-time favorite in our house is Arrorró, mi niño: Latino Lullabies and Gentle Games. Described as a “Latina Mother Goose,” this is amazing collection of the best known lullabies and gentle games for young children in Spanish. If, like me, you did not grow up with them, you will appreciate the wonderful English translations and clear instructions, in addition to the piano music at the back for learning the melodies!
In a similar vein, ¡Pío Peep!: Traditional Spanish Nursery Rhymes is an incredible collection of traditional Spanish nursery rhymes, including favorites like De colores and Los elefantes. It is a comprehensive set of almost any traditional rhyme from Latin America, all wonderful to share with your kids at bedtime!
This post has been shared at the wonderful Kid Lit Blog Hop.
Bilingual Books Giveaway!
Enter below for a chance to win a pair of bilingual books from Bab’l Books! You could win The Giraffe that Ate the Moon (La Jirafa Que Se Comió la Luna) or Don’t Wake the Baby! (No Despiertes a la Bebé!)These wonderful Spanish/English children’s books are ideal for children ages 2-6. Giveaway goes through September 15, 2015. US, UK, and Europe shipping only.