Skip to content
Books del Sur curates Latin America Spanish-language literature to support dual language curriculum.
Books del Sur curates Latin America Spanish-language literature to support dual language curriculum.
books to bridge edit image with Frida Kahlo book covers

Books to Bridge Spanish and English

Teaching for Biliteracy book coverTeaching Biliteracy book cover

The concept of the “the bridge” was developed by Karen Beeman and Cheryl Urow the authors of Teaching for Biliteracy: Strengthening Bridges between Languages. Caslon Publishing, 2013.

While many students naturally bridge languages, the bridge is a critical planned instructional point in the biliteracy instructional model for explicit language instruction. Beeman and Urow define “the bridge” as “the instructional moment in teaching for biliteracy when teachers bring the two languages together, guiding students to actively engage in contrastive analysis of the two languages by visually placing them side by side and to transfer the academic content they have learned in one language into another.” (Teaching for Biliteracy, 151). The instructional methods used during the bridge are further explained in Chapter 10: The Bridge: Strengthening Connections between Languages and there are many resources on their webpage.  We encourage you to explore these resources, try them on, and reflect with colleagues as you implement them. 

To support your work, on Wednesdays we will share on social media and update this page with the books that best complement Monday’s Libros a Lunes.  Our goal is to enrich our students’ understanding of both languages and to avoid redundancy.  Most of our books del Sur’s literature is written in Spanish and not translated; therefore, we can support your units without being redundant.  We recognize that translated books are an important part of having a balanced Spanish book collection (see link; however, we discourage the use of using the same book in both languages when possible. 

 We do encourage using the same books to build community between bilingual and non-bilingual classrooms.   For example, our Frida Kahlo book is available in English and Spanish.  It is an ideal book for a biography unit.  As a grade level you may be studying biographies, your bilingual classroom may use Frida Kahlo para niños y niñas in Spanish and your colleagues that instruct only in English may use the same book in English.  The intersection of your two classes may be natural or intentional. The students may naturally share that they are reading on the bus or during library time.  You may also intentionally have students come together to discuss biographies.  Conversations could be focused around who, biographies genres, or perhaps the art teacher wants to study Frida Kahlo.  Whatever the reason when students identify that they are reading the same book, regardless of language, it is something they can share, therefore they can connect with each other, and ultimately increase their tolerance of another.

Books are one of many tools to facilitate bridging language between English and Spanish as well as bridging the lives of our bilingual-bicultural kids. 

The following are some of the books for we have identified for the bridge.  We will gladly match books to your units, please reach out to


Suggestions of Books for the Bridge (continue to refer back as we will be constantly updating it)

Spanish Books del Sur

English Books 



Frida Kahlo para niñas y niños


Frida and Her Animalitos

 Frida  by Jonah Winter

Violeta Parra para niñas y niños


Mister and Lady Day: Billie Holiday and the Dog Who Loved Her

Juana Azurduy para niñas y niños

These two books share the actions of women that lead to the American Revolution in the United States (Founding Mothers) and Alto-Peru (Juana Azurduy).  These are important narratives to present an inclusive history of the Americas!

Founding Mothers

Gabriela la poeta viajera

My Name is * Yo me llamo Gabriela

Cantos y rondas de mamita Clara
Where the Sidewalk Ends
Canto Errante Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets
Juegos tradicionales book cover Juegos Tradicionales a book full of games and activities to build community.  The ultimate resource to improve classroom community is the Morning Meeting Book from the Responsive Classroom community.  It is a practical guide on how to plan and facilitate Morning Meetings in your classroom, and tons of activities to plan! While Juegos Tradicionales provides lessons that speak to the culture of Latin America, The Morning Meeting Book provides the U.S. school structure and practical guide to make it work in your classroom. The Morning Meeting book cover
Hoy no quiero ir al colegio book cover Hoy no quiero ir al colegio is a story about the bully and the victim's perspective. It will promote conversation about bullying. Similarily, When a Bully is President is a book to talk about current and historical oppression and bullying in the United States while focusing on the important role kids can play. It uses creativity and self love as a base to develop strength during difficult times.
Flora book cover

Flor cuentos andinos is a book of stories that a grandmother wrote her grand-daughter to share with and preserve the origin stories of the plants of the Andes. Similarly, the book The Water Walker is the story is of an Ojibwe Grandmother’s love of water. She shares how the Water Walks are journeys to honor water and protect it for generations to come. Both books share the connections of humans and earth through the lens of elders.

The Water Walker book cover
Previous article Why I Write

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields