• Nene Bilingüe Mami

Growing a Bilingual Library

Are you breaking the bank trying to grow your bilingual home library? You don't have to! We know that not all books are published as bilingual versions, and not all books are translated to our target language. Working with what you have is a great start.

When I read our English-only books, my children often times will ask me to reread them in Spanish. I gladly do this, however I felt that my cold-translations (translating on the fly, without much preparation) were not as smooth as I'd like them to be. Sometimes I'd have the word in Spanish and then forget it or think of a better word to use as I was translating.

I've also had situations where I go to the library and pick-up a Spanish (translated) book and didn't like the translation. Not all translations are the best quality - usually because tense and grammar were off. I mean, Google translate is a great resource, but I've read some books that seem like they used web based translators without checking if it actually made sense.

I always welcome books as gifts and have purchased many myself. I love adding books to our library that represent diversity and have meaningful messages. If they are bilingual, even better! I also don't think its worth purchasing two versions of every translated book just for the sake of having a book in both our home-languages. Not to mention, space is limited.

So why not make our own bilingual books?

We received these books as a Christmas gift. I love the series Little People, Big Dreams and we already had a few in our library. As for the sixth book, this was the first time we had seen this book but were grateful that the story fit our criteria for meaningful books. Most of the Little People, Big Dreams series have been translated to Spanish. Parker Looks Up had not. This did not stop me from translating all of these books at home.

Materials Needed:





I went to our local library and picked up the Spanish version of some of these books. Of course, not all libraries have every single book ever published in all its versions, so I took what I could find. I looked through the books and was overall pleased with the translations available.

As I was typing out the translation on my computer I did come across a few translations that I wasn't attached to.

Take this as an example. I wasn't sure what "a la virulé" meant, and to tell you the truth I had never heard it used. So what did I do? I googled it. Turns out the saying meant "twisted, in bad shape." It seems that the phrase was derived from a French saying having to do with how a man's socks were put on. Great, I learned something new! And I could probably explain it to my children just fine when we read. Ultimately I decided to type out my own translation for this page (even though I liked how the writing was rhythmic and rhymed well).

This right here is the beauty of DYI-ing your own bilingual books. You can pick and choose how you'd like to translate them using vocabulary how'd you like.

After typing out all the translations by page, I simply printed the sheet, took some scissors to cut off excess label, and ta-da we had a bilingual book!

Translating your books doesn't have to be an all-nighter project. This can be something you do with time. This could be a process, and at the end - your home library will have doubled, still with the same space and minimal out-of-pocket expenses.

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