But What If I’m Not Bilingual?

One of the biggest challenges that I hear when it comes to bilingual storytimes is “I don’t know a second language, so I can’t offer it at my library”. While it is harder to present a bilingual storytime when you’re not bilingual, it isn’t impossible. I often let monolingual colleagues know that there are several different ways to engage your bilingual patrons without having to learn a whole new language.

Sprinkle Some Spanish

One of the easier ways to engage your Spanish speaking audience is by sprinkling some Spanish words into your storytime. This could be as simple as reading a book that has a few Spanish words, interacting with the audience by asking “what is the Spanish word for…” or even using a CD with the Spanish version of one of your storytime songs. Most popular children songs are translated into Spanish and since the tune is the same, it will be easier to follow along even if you don’t know all the words. Even just saying “Hola” at the beginning of your hello song can be a welcomed addition.

Keep in mind that just because you sprinkle a few Spanish words here and there, that unless you are fluently bilingual or presenting with someone who is then you can’t really call it a bilingual storytime, but it is still a great opportunity to engage your Spanish speaking community.

Here are some sprinkle Spanish books that I would recommend. Most of these authors have several books that only have some Spanish. If you know of any others, please write them in the comments:

Fiesta Babies by Carmen Tafolla

Niño Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales —

Oh No, Gotta Go! by Susan Middleton Elya

Green is a Chili Pepper by Roseanne Greenfield Thong

How Do you Say? ¿Como Se Dice? by Angela Dominguez

Marta! Big & Small by Angela Dominguez

Get Some Help From Bilingual Staff or Volunteers

Bilingual paraprofessional and clerical staff can truly be a blessing. If possible, you can get a bilingual staff member to help you present the storytime with you. There a couple different formats that you can use if you have someone else helping you.

Another option is to recruit a bilingual volunteer. Many adults or even teens are more than happy to help conduct a bilingual storytime and it can often be a great opportunity to try and recruit some of the parents and caregivers who often bring their children to the library.


Author: TheLatinxLibrarian

Hey there! My name is Addie and I am a lover of books. I enjoy reading all kinds of books from YA literature to Shakespeare. I am a librarian in a public library. I am a huge fan of books that promote diversity and I enjoy learning about other cultures through the pages of a book. I am also a big fan of humor, sci-fi and crochet!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s