In this post: Learn how you can use mixed language Spanish-English books to support your child’s learning—plus, our favorites for Spanish beginners! Post contains affiliate links.

You already know that reading is a great way to boost your child’s language skills. But sometimes, finding beginner Spanish books that are just right for your child—not too difficult and not too easy or “baby-ish”—can feel a bit like a Goldilocks situation!

Maybe in the past you’ve picked up an amazing Spanish book only to find that it’s beyond your child’s comprehension level and only leads to frustration. But if you have an elementary schooler, reading board books in Spanish isn’t going to keep them interested either.

It’s so important for kids to love learning a language if you want them to stick with it. If they can’t follow along with the stories they’re reading, they’ll very quickly lose interest. I’ve been there when learning languages myself!

So, what can you do?

mixed language Spanish and English books

Choosing books that are at a level that your child can understand but push them just a little bit further is key. This way, they’re able to use what they already know to understand any unfamiliar words and phrases. This concept is called comprehensible input, and it’s an essential step to successful language learning.

That’s why we love mixed language books. These are books that are mostly in English but incorporate keywords in Spanish sprinkled throughout the story. They also include a glossary at the back of the book to support learning.

Keep reading for our favorite mixed language Spanish-English books to begin building your child’s biliteracy!

Related post: Comprehensible Input: Unlocking Language Learning for Children

Who are Mixed Language Books for?

Mixed language books are best for non-native beginners of any age. You can find mixed language beginner Spanish books that are suitable for preschoolers, older kids, and even teens.

In this post, we’re focusing specifically on mixed language Spanish and English books for ages 3–12.

Keep in mind that mixed language books are different from bilingual books. Bilingual Spanish-English books include the two languages separated on the page. Each language tells the same story side by side.

These can be great in some situations, especially with intermediate Spanish learners, but really aren’t the best option for beginners and very young children who haven’t been exposed to Spanish much in the past.

Mixed language books, on the other hand, are perfect for beginners with limited Spanish experience. They’re mostly in English with key Spanish vocabulary intentionally and strategically scattered throughout the story. This is a great way to learn new Spanish words in a meaningful context!

Related post: Supporting Biliteracy Through Elementary Spanish Stories

Best Spanish-English Mixed Language Books for Kids

Need some suggestions to get started? There are many fantastic mixed language Spanish books for beginners that help build vocabulary, but we’ve narrowed down some of our favorites for you.

While many of these books were written for preschool and elementary age kids, they can also be a great resource for older kids who are beginners.

Here are some of the best Spanish-English mixed language books for kids:

Paletero Man by Lucky Diaz


Paletero Man

  • Hardcover Book
  • Diaz, Lucky (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages – 06/01/2021 (Publication Date) – HarperCollins (Publisher)

This fun and colorful picture book is a great choice for preschoolers and elementary schoolers alike. With fun rhymes and lyrical language, you’ll follow the narrator, a young boy, as he goes through the neighborhood looking for the Paletero Man. It’s full of Spanish words and phrases and perfect for anyone who enjoys an ice cold treat on a hot summer day. (Who doesn’t?!)

Señor Roscoe on Vacation by Jim Field

Do your kids love an adventure? Preschool and elementary kids will follow along with a dog and his goldfish on an exciting trip in this book. It’s loaded with Spanish vocabulary, and your kiddos will spend hours exploring illustrations akin to Where’s Waldo? or Richard Scarry’s Busytown books. 

Señor Roscoe in the City by Jim Field

Another great option in the Señor Roscoe series! Just like Señor Roscoe on Vacation, your kids will love getting lost in this book’s illustrations as they learn even more Spanish words. This time, they’ll explore destinations around the city, like the market and park, as Señor Roscoe prepares for a birthday party.

The Fabulous Lost & Found: Learn 50 Spanish Words by Mark Pallis

The Fabulous Lost & Found and the little mouse who spoke Spanish: Spanish…

  • Pallis, Mark (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 37 Pages – 04/20/2020 (Publication Date) – Neu Westend Press (Publisher)

This fabulous picture book for ages 2–7 introduces Spanish vocabulary through one character, a mouse, who can only speak Spanish. Along with the other characters, readers will have to figure out what the mouse is looking for in the lost and found. This is such a fun way to learn a whopping 50 new Spanish words—and we absolutely love the empathy it builds.

The Lucky Grapes: A New Year’s Eve Story by Tracey Kyle


The Lucky Grapes: A New Year’s Eve Story

  • Hardcover Book
  • Kyle, Tracey (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages – 10/04/2022 (Publication Date) – Sky Pony (Publisher)

Exploring Hispanic culture is such an important part of learning Spanish. In this gorgeously illustrated picture book for young readers (ages 3–6+), your kids will learn about the Spanish tradition of eating 12 grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve. With fun rhymes, engaging illustrations, and Spanish vocabulary sprinkled in, you can’t go wrong with this one! Who knows—maybe you’ll even start a new tradition with your family!

Alpaca Pati’s Fancy Fleece by Tracey Kyle


Alpaca Pati’s Fancy Fleece

  • Hardcover Book
  • Kyle, Tracey (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages – 09/10/2019 (Publication Date) – Running Press Kids (Publisher)

We love the message behind this sweet picture book for preschool and elementary age kids. An alpaca named Pati doesn’t want to give up her beautiful fur and decides to run away, until she learns that her fur helps to keep others warm. This story reminds us that beauty is on the inside and promotes a spirit of giving—all through an engaging story and illustrations that kids will love!

A Paintbrush for Paco by Tracey Kyle

A Paintbrush for Paco

  • Hardcover Book
  • Kyle, Tracey (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 40 Pages – 07/03/2018 (Publication Date) – little bee books (Publisher)

This is such a relatable story for artistic kids who have a tendency to daydream. The fun rhymes and colorful illustrations will inspire kids to embrace their creativity while learning los colores (and more) in Spanish! Another great read for preschoolers and big kids alike.

Pepe and the Parade: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage by Tracey Kyle


Pepe and the Parade: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage

  • Hardcover Book
  • Kyle, Tracey (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages – 08/27/2019 (Publication Date) – little bee books (Publisher)

We often use the term “Hispanic culture” when really the Spanish-speaking world is made up of many unique cultures. Pepe and the Parade celebrates that diversity through this festive story, as Pepe and his friends attend a Hispanic Day parade. Kids ages 4–8 will love learning about the food, music, and cultures represented in this book.

Isabel and Her Colores Go to School by Alexandra Alessandri


Isabel and her Colores Go to School (English and Spanish Edition)

  • Hardcover Book
  • Alessandri, Alexandra (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 40 Pages – 07/15/2021 (Publication Date) – Sleeping Bear Press (Publisher)

This beautiful picture book will resonate with elementary schoolers who have ever been nervous about fitting in on the first day of school. Isabel, who speaks Spanish, is beginning at a new school where the other students speak English. Colorful illustrations bring this sweet, hopeful story to life, and you’ll find plenty of Spanish vocabulary sprinkled throughout!

La Princesa and the Pea by Susan Middleton Elya


La Princesa and the Pea

  • Hardcover Book
  • Elya, Susan Middleton (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages – 09/05/2017 (Publication Date) – G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

Kids will love this re-telling of the classic fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen—set in Peru! The whimsical illustrations were inspired by Peruvian culture, and Spanish words are easy to distinguish as they’re in a different color and font from the English text. You don’t want to miss this award-winning picture book!

Related post: First Spanish Sight Words for Kids: FREE download!

Llamitas Spanish Level 1 Curriculum

Llamitas Spanish® makes it easy to teach Spanish to your kids at home, whether you’re a complete beginner or native speaker. That’s partly because this done-for-you curriculum includes bilingual scripts with each and every lesson!

Llamitas Spanish curriculum mockup including the textbook and curriculum box

We literally tell you (the parent and teacher) what to say by providing the instructions in both English and Spanish. You pick what works for you! If you’re a complete beginner, all you have to do is read the English script.

That means you can teach Spanish to your kids without knowing any Spanish at all!

If you’re concerned about pronunciation, we’ve taken care of that too. Our lessons include pronunciation guides as well as hundreds of native speaker audio tracks to support authentic Spanish pronunciation.

We have two perfect starting points offered for beginners: our Level 1 Curriculum and Preschool Morning Binder.

Level 1 is ideal for beginners up to age 9 or 10, while the Preschool Morning Binder is a gentle introduction for younger kids. Both will give you a fun way to teach your kids authentic Spanish without any planning or previous language experience needed from you!

Take the placement quiz on our website to find the perfect level for your child!

Related post: How to Raise a Biliterate Kid

Spanish Freebie Library

For even more Spanish resources for beginners, don’t forget to check out our free resource library!

FREE Spanish Resources

When you sign up for our freebie library, you can take advantage of tons of helpful resources, including book lists, printables, music playlists, games, and more.

This is a great option for families on a tight budget or for you to test the waters a bit before getting started on our Spanish curriculum. You can start teaching your child Spanish today for free!