The yearly Monarch migration to México is just around the corner. Knowing this, when I spied a picture-book bundle at our library the other day with the theme of Butterflies, I snatched it up faster than you can say ¡Hola, hola, Mariposa! I could also see that the bundle included this gem that I’ve been meaning to read for years: Señorita Mariposa by Ben Gundersheimer (also known by his music as singer Mister G).
Of course I couldn’t just stop there. Being an aspiring bilingual family, I also wanted to get my hands on some books about butterflies in SPANISH. I’ve compiled below all the books I could find about Monarchs and Butterflies in Spanish – and a few in English because they incorporate learning about Hispanic Culture!
If you know of any books about butterflies in Spanish that aren’t on this list – please share about them in the comments of this post! Por favor y gracias.
Señorita Mariposa by Ben Gundersheimer has beautiful illustrations that take you on the same 3,000 mile journey the “super-generation” of Monarchs takes every year from Canada to México. The book, based on a song by Mister G, alternates between English and Spanish verses, but each one has translations underneath. So no matter what language you speak – English or Spanish – you can understand what the verses are saying. Once you read the book, make sure you listen to the song as well.
La Mariposa by Francisco Jiménez, Illustrated by Simón Silva
We have not read this one yet – but I did put a hold on it at our library so we can! One part of the Amazon review in particular stood out to me: “this honest, unsentimental account of a schoolchild’s struggle to learn language reveals that our imaginations powerfully sustain us. La Mariposa makes a subtle plea for tolerance in our homes, our communities, and in our schools.”
I also love the work of Simón Silva – you might recognize it from Alma Flor Ada’s book Gathering the Sun – so I know we will really enjoy the illustrations in this one. So warm and striking.
National Geographic Readers: De la oruga a la mariposa
I love these Level 1 readers in Spanish for my kiddos, since we are still at a beginning level of Spanish comprehension. Even though the non-fiction texts we read in English are at a higher level, these work great for us since the kids generally know all the information in told, so their brains only have to work on understanding what the Spanish words mean.
Our library didn’t have this particular one, but hopefully yours will! If not, perhaps one of these non-fiction choices are an option.
Asombrosas Mariposas from the Eyewitness Junior Series
Mariposas – Asombrosos Animalitos Series
La migración de la mariposa monarca
El ciclo de vida de la mariposa by Bobbie Kalman
La mariposa en el aire by Dana Meachen Rau
Ciclo de vida de una mariposa monarca by Jennifer Gillis
La vida de una mariposa by Dona Herweck Rice
Non-Fiction for Grown-Ups
Handle with Care by Loree Griffin Burns
I ran across this book years ago when we were doing a unit study on Costa Rica. You’ll get to visit the fascinating world of a butterfly farm, and read about the conservation work happening to help keep our beautiful butterfly populations thriving.
Fun & Silly Books
La pequeña mariposa que sí pudó by Ross Burach
You won’t learn much about mariposas from this book, but it makes the list of my favorite growth mindset picture books! Entertaining and funny books like this work great for second-language learning because they keep the attention of the readers. The short & sweet & hilarious text is sure to be a hit, even for kids who complain “Mom, read it in ENGLISH!”
And while you’re at it, you might as well get La oruga muy impaciente also. Then come back here and tell me which one was your kids’ favorite!
La oruga muy hambrienta by Eric Carle
Well I can’t include a book about an oruga without mentioning this classic: La oruga muy hambrienta. Yes, it’s a book featuring a caterpillar . . . but at the end of course comes the beautiful BUTTERFLY! This is a great book for practicing (or introducing) days of the week in Spanish! And foods! It’s a fun one all around and shouldn’t be missed – even if it IS a translation.
Butterflies on Carmen Street – Mariposas en la calle Carmen by Monica Brown, Illustrated by April Ward
Yes! THE Monica Brown who wrote my favorite bilingual series Marisol McDonald. In this story, Julianita and her class raise some monarch butterflies to learn about their life cycle. When it’s time to let them go, she worries her new little friend won’t find the way. Thankfully Julianita’s abuelo, who spent his boyhood in the highlands of Mexico watching the monarchs arrive every year, assures her the little butterfly’s journey is in his heart.
My Blue Butterfly – Mi mariposa azul by Mercedes Alvarez Rodman
A story about a friendship between two girls across the equator from Boston to Venezuela. They meet online through a program called El Sistema and find common bonds in music and a little blue butterfly.
Jaguares y mariposas by Catherine Russler, Illustrated by Ely Ely
My friend Madison gave a glowing review for this book over on Instagram and I think you should read it. I’m not Mexican-American myself, but I love that this book holds space for those niñas who are – and celebrates them.
The Beautiful Butterfly: A Folktale from Spain Retold by Judy Sierra
Have you ever heard the story of the beautiful butterfly? After being courted by many suitors, the beautiful butterfly chooses a husband, only to have him eaten by a fish! Although this tale is told in English, I wanted to share it since it’s a story from Spain.
Uncle Monarch and the Day of the Dead by Judy Goldman, Illustrated by Rene King Moreno
Many Día de los muertos books feature the Monarch – a symbol of the holiday. Uncle Monarch is one of my favorites. It would pair nicely with Baila como una hoja which I recently reviewed on Instagram.
What books about mariposas are your favorites?