Best English Books For Bilingual Kids

My kids are bilingual – truly bilingual. You must be thinking, “Hey, most of us could speak more than one language. What’s the difference?” You’re right. We’re all bilingual or multilingual in one way or another.

What I mean by truly bilingual is they are not spoken or taught one language at a time at home. But simultaneously (English and German) since they were born. I myself speak four languages, but I learned them throughout my life and I still do. However, I was brought up speaking only English.

It’s a challenge bringing up bilingual kids. From mixing of languages and confusion in alphabets and grammar. If you’ve read about my experience bringing up bilingual kids and how do I go about doing it, you’ll get the picture. Yes, it’s hard work having them to master two languages at a time and doing it all by yourself (including my husband of course). However, once they’re on track, it amazes me how they think and analyze situations.

Now, reading is important doesn’t matter if you’re bilingual, monolingual or multilingual. Even though it’s not your first language, and you’ve got a non-native accent, You-Just-Got-Do-It.

When it comes to reading, you’ve got to find books which keeps them interested. Especially in toddlers and little kids where they’re attention span is somewhat short. So, you got to keep them on their tiny toes, wanting to know what’s coming up next.

I’ve gone through so many books in the house. There are books, which still looks brand new because they’re uninterested, and some of them tattered, ripped, and re-taped.

So, to save you the trouble of having your house looks like a public library and also to help you save money, here are 10 books, which my bilingual kids have always gone back to again and again. Even till now.

Note: This is a non-sponsored blog post and all books mentioned were purchased ourselves.

1. Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae (Author), Guy Parker-Rees (Illustrator)

It’s about Gerald the giraffe who has two left feet and was made fun of at the annual Jungle Dance. So, he walked away, feeling sad and alone. He then met a cricket, who gave a good piece of life advice. And with that advice, Gerald went back to the dance with confidence and self-esteem.

It’s one of my kids’ all-time favourites. I’ve probably have read it a thousand times to them. An International No.1 Bestseller children’s book and you can see why, from the cute illustrations and bold colours. It’s just one of those books which you need to have on a bookshelf.

What I like about this book is that it rhymes and has a nice message at the end of the story. That everyone is different and sometimes, we need a little help once in a while. And if you believe in YOU, there’s nothing you can’t achieve.

2. Ella Bella Ballerina and Swan Lake by James Mayhew (Author and Illustrator)

If you’ve got little girls twirling around the room like ballerinas and love princesses, they’re going to like James Mayhew’s Ella Bella Ballerina books. I first got this book, Ella Bella Ballerina and Swan Lake for my eldest daughter who loves everything about ballet. And my now, ballet-obsessed two year old is flipping through the book practically everyday.

It’s about Ella Bella who is enchanted in the magic of ballet. She attends ballet lessons with Madame Rosa and just before the children are about to change as class ends, Ella Bella stays behind all by herself on an empty stage. As she lifts the lid of the musical box, she then embarks in the journey of the fascinating story of Swan Lake.

A beautifully illustrated and easy to understand ballet book for young girls based on the original ballet stories. And on the last page of the book, there’s always a short explanation of the famous classical ballet.

3. Each Peach Pear Plum by Allan Ahlberg (Author), Janet Ahlberg (Illustrator)

My children’s very first ‘I spy’ book and one my favourites to read to them. It’s short and sweet, and it rhymes with adaptation taken from the classic characters in nursery rhymes and fairy tales.

The illustrations are beautiful and makes a fun interactive book for young children. And the board book makes it easy for toddlers to flip over the pages themselves. A must-have in every bookshelf.

4. The Bedtime Bear, A Pop-up Book for Bedtime by Ian Whybrow (Author), Axel Scheffler (Illustrator)

From the pictures, you could tell it’s another all-time favourite book in our house. If you’re looking for a bedtime book for a kid who would pay attention on every page, then this is it. With it’s eye-catching bold colours and attractive illustrations, you could see why it’s always the first book my eldest used to grab and my now two year old does it as well before bed.

Again, it rhymes and somewhat funny. And if you’re looking for a wonderful interaction bedtime book with lots of flaps, then look no further.

5. Taylor Tiptoe by Elanor Best (Author), Lara Ede (Illustrator)

Here’s another book about dance. A little girl, named Taylor aspires to dance in the Summer Showcase. However, she is so tiny, that during the audition, no one noticed her. So, she went to seek for help. Instead of helping her, it didn’t go as planned. She then realized, she just had to believe and be true to herself to succeed.

It’s currently my two year old’s favourite book. The illustrations are so cute and colourful. I like the fact that she learned a bombastic word like ‘ginormous’. It may not look like an interactive book to you, but it is. We would talked about the colour of their shoes, count the number of little girls on the page, etc. And my girl thinks that this book is somewhat funny in her own little way.

6. Don’t You Dare Brush My Hair! by Rosie Greening (Author), Lara Ede (Illustrator)

Another sweet illustrated book and somewhat funny. It’s all about Clare who loves her hair and doesn’t allow anyone to either wash or brush her hair. She would decorate her hair with all kinds of stuff you wouldn’t think of.

My little girl would laugh and say how funny her hair looks. And then she’ll go all, “Eewww…so stinky!” Since I’m all into rhyming books for kids, this is one of them. It’s also interactive as my daughter talks about what’s stuffed in the hair. A perfect story to read together.

7. Elmo’s ABC Book : Sesame Street (Big Bird’s Favorites Board Books) by Deborah November (Author), Carol Niklaus (Illustrator)

If your kids are into Elmo and the whole Sesame Street characters, then this Elmo’s ABC book is great to start introducing them to alphabets. It’s been with us for years and we’re currently reading it to my youngest. She would then say out the alphabet as we go through the book and read by sight at certain words.

Though it’s a board book, it’s small, compact, and fits nicely even in the front pocket of your backpack. The pictures are very colourful and besides, who doesn’t like Elmo.

8. Girl’s Potty Time by DK Children (Publisher)

Are you searcing for a potty book to start potty training your kid? Then look no further. And not to worry if you’ve got a little boy, there’s a Boy’s Potty Time version too. I used this book for both of my girls. Even though my youngest is potty trained, sometimes she’ll just sit quietly all by herself and look through the pages of the book.

In my opinion, it’s a great book. The pictures are more practical with ‘real human pictures’, showing girls like herself go through the same process as her. I thought the cover of the book is amusing, looking like a shape of a toilet seat. The part where there are portable potties for travel made it altogether relatable. My girl was excited to see that she has the exact same portable potty as shown in the picture, which I always keep in the car. Also, special reward stickers are included for a job well done.

9. Little Golden Book Christmas Favorites by Gale Wiersum, Jane Werner, Clement C. Moore (Authors), Alex Steele Morgan, Eloise Wilkin, Mircea Catusanu (Illustrators)

A collection of three mini charming stories : The Animals’ Christmas Eve, The Christmas Story, and The Night Before Christmas.

First, it’s a story told from the animal’s point of view like from the 12 days of Christmas. Then, a short story of the birth of Jesus. And lastly, The Night Before Christmas is pretty obvious, about St. Nicholas.

A beautiful illustrated book and makes a great gift for kids.

10. Favourite movie or television series books.

Like what the sub-heading says, books in your child’s favourite cartoon series or movies. For example, mine is currently into Peppa Pig, Frozen, both in English and German, and some other German cartoon characters. It doesn’t matter if there are more words than pictures in a page. As much as I know, they’ll sit still, listen, while pointing to the pictures and interact.

Do you have books which your kids just can’t get enough of? Would love to know what are they by leaving a comment below.


  • Thomas Schröttner

    Hi Beverly! My kids looove all the books of Julia Donaldson (author) and Axel Scheffler (illustrator). We’ve got the Gruffelo, Gruffelo’s child, stick man, the highway rat, a squash and a squeeze, Zog, Zog and the flying doctors, the snail and the whale, Charlie Cook’s favorite book, and the one with the witch and some more – nearly all the books that they’ve done together! Most of them are perfectly rhymed with rhythm and most of the time you can find a Gruffelo hidden in the pages, because that was their First big success. The German versions are nice too, but the English ones have a better rhythm.
    See you, Karin

    • Beverlogue

      Hi Karin!
      Books from Julia Donaldson is definitely worth mentioning. My kids have read the German version (borrowed from a friend) and will definitely try to get hold of the English version. Thanks!

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