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Have you see that meme that’s like, “Menú a partir de octubre: dulces, pan de muerto, pavo, tamales, rosca de reyes”? It does kind of feel like this last part of the year is mainly composed of eating delicious things. And I am not opposed!
Something about these colder, darker months just has us spending more time in the kitchen, I suppose. And while we definitely love eating in our family, there’s also something so delightful about READING food-centric books! So I’ve rounded up a list of our favorite Spanish children’s books about food, because there’s nothing like enjoying beautiful and colorful illustrations of yummy things to eat.
(Unless it’s reading WHILE eating, which is encouraged.)
by Paulina Jara, illustrated by Carmen Cardemil
Princesa Zanahoria has big dreams for her life! Unfortunately, her father has his own plans for her, and they include a marriage she has NO interest in. Will she be forced to go through with her wedding? Or can her “haba madrina” (I love this pun very much) save the day? All of the characters in this book are vegetables! From the rhyming text to the beautiful cut-paper collage illustrations, there’s so much to love.
by Oge Mora
Omu has made a delicious red stew for her lunch. And not only does it taste fabulous, it also smells AMAZING! So when the smell wafts out of her apartment and into the neighborhood, her neighbors can’t help but follow their noses to see where that delectable scent is coming from. But after sharing her stew with everyone, dinnertime comes around and Omu discovers that the pot is empty! Has Omu been so generous that there’s nothing left for her? I love this story of community, generosity and gratitude so much.
by Kyo Maclear, illustrated by Julie Morstad
This beautifully illustrated book is a playful celebration of the joy of eating, loosely inspired by the real (and iconic!) Julia Child. It tells the story of a girl named Julia, who falls in love with French food at a young age. She and her friend Simca decide that what all the stressed, busy adults in their lives really need is to recapture the joy of being a child. Will their food help these grown-ups remember?
by Gracia Iglesias Lodares, illustrated by Sara Sánchez Nuñez
Marcelina is a well-meaning giraffe who decides to cook a delicious meal for her niece. There’s only one problem: she’s not much of a cook! So when she follows the suggestions of her equally well-meaning friends, the result is kind of a disaster. Who will save dinner now? This silly, rhyming book has been a family favorite for years!
by Naibe Reynoso, illustrated by Ana Varela
How do you fold a taco? If you think there’s only one way, you’re in for a surprise with this colorful bilingual book. Wrestlers, dragons, magicians, dinosaurs and other unexpected characters show us every way possible to get that taco folded (from the realistic to the ridiculous). The whimsical illustrations in this one are so cute!
by Juan Llorca & Melisa Gómez, illustrated by Lirious Bou
Amaia's birthday is coming up! She can’t wait to celebrate with her friends and family, and she especially can’t wait to eat her birthday cake! But a few days before, the “puaaaaj” appear: little creatures that can’t stop asking questions about suspicious-looking food (“what is that green thing??”). This book is a useful tool especially for families that want to motivate picky little eaters to enjoy their food!
by Ashley Marie Mireles, illustrated by Edith Valle
This non-fiction book is so interesting! Food is an essential part of cultura, so while Latin-American countries may use many of the same ingredients, the end result is pretty different. I think this book does a great job of drawing connections among foods across different Spanish-speaking countries and cultures across the Americas. A great one to learn lots of fun facts, especially if your family (like mine) includes family recipes from more than one country!
by Mira Sriram, illustrated by Mariona Cabassa
In this book inspired by the author’s hometown in India, a little girl searches for a gift for her Amma (mom). The stalls in this southern Indian street market offer a vibrant rainbow of delights for her to explore. The endnotes in this book are pretty useful too, since they explain all the items on sale and introduce us to different markets around the world.
by Marcela Valladolid, illustrated by Eliza Moreno
Last but not least on our list is this children’s cookbook by one of my favorite chefs, Marcela Valladolid! Inspired by her own Mexican heritage, Chef Valladolid includes recipes for her family’s favorite foods, in both Spanish and English. If you have a kid that likes to cook & follow recipes (I do!), this book is phenomenal.
Happy reading (and eating)!
Vanessa Nielsen Molina
Vanessa is an entrepreneur, educator, and mamá of four, who’s passionate about helping other parents experience the joy of raising bilingual children. Follow her journey and access more resources at BilingualBookworm.com.