Using dual language picturebooks with children in an after school club




dual language picturebooks, bilingual picturebooks, inquiry cycle, after school club


Dual language picturebooks use more than one language in the text of the book. There is increasing literature showing the potential of such books to support language learning, and recent studies explore their use in classrooms to raise awareness of multilingualism. This article describes the ways in which dual language picturebooks were used in an after school club of 8-11 year olds in a Latinx neighbourhood in Arizona. Over a six week period an inquiry cycle was used as a curricular framework for exploring dual language picturebooks featuring both familiar and unfamiliar languages for the children. Findings showed the importance of providing time for connection with the books, followed by demonstrations or readings  of the picturebooks, and the importance of invitations for the children to explore ideas from the picturebooks. The article provides guidelines for using dual language picturebooks in classrooms, and ends with a provocation suggesting that bilingual picturebooks are not necessarily only for bilingual children.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Nicola Daly, University of Waikato

Nicola Daly is a sociolinguist and Associate Professor in the Division of Education at the University of Waikato, New Zealand where she teaches courses in children’s literature. Her research focus is multilingual picturebooks and she was a Fulbright New Zealand Scholar in 2019/2020.

Dorea Kleker, University of Arizona

Dorea Kleker is an early childhood teacher, educator and lecturer at the University of Arizona. Working with students and teachers across a wide variety of educational contexts in both the U.S. and Latin America, her work focuses on global and multicultural children’s literature, literacy and play to develop intercultural understanding and the use of literature to actively engage children as inquirers across all content areas.

Kathy Short, University of Arizona

Kathy G. Short is a professor and endowed chair of global children’s literature in the College of Education at the University of Arizona, USA, and is Director of Worlds of Words: Center of Global Literacies and Literatures ( She has co-authored and co-edited many books and articles, including Critical Content Analysis of Visual Images in Literature for Young People, Critical Content Analysis of Children’s and Young Adult Literature, and Teaching Globally: Reading the World through Literature. She was President of the National Council of Teachers of English and the US Board of Books for Young People.


Bland, J. (2013). Children's literature and learner empowerment children and teenagers in English language education. Bloomsbury Academic.

Bland, J., & Lütge, C. (Eds.) (2014). Children's literature in second language education. Bloomsbury Academic.

Daly, N. (2017). The linguistic landscape of English–Spanish dual language picturebooks. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development. DOI:

Daly, N. (2019). The Linguistic Landscape of Multilingual Picturebooks. Linguistic Landscape. An International Journal, 5(3), 281-301. DOI:

Naqvi, R., McKeogh, A., Thorne, K. J., & Pfitscher, C. (2013). Dual-language books as an emergent literacy resource: Culturally and linguistically responsive teaching and learning. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 13(4), 501-528. DOI:

Short, K. (2009). Curriculum as inquiry. In S. Carber & S. Davidson, (Eds.), International perspectives on inquiry learning (p. 11-26). John Catt.

Sneddon, R. (2009). Bilingual book-biliterate children: Learning to read through dual language books. Trentham Books.

Zaidi, R. (2020). Dual-Language books: Enhancing engagement and language awareness. Journal of Literacy Research. 52(3), 269-292. DOI:

Children’s books cited:

Ada, A.F. (2004). I love Saturdays y domingos (E. Savadier, Illus.). Aladdin.

Beamer, N. (2008). Naupaka (C. Loebel-Fried, Illus.). Bishop Museum.

Beyer, R., & Wellington, L. (2019). The marae visit (N. S. Robinson, Illus.). Duck Creek.

Gonzalez, M. C. (2007). My colors, my world.Mis colores, mi mundo. Children’s Book Press.

Grace, P. (1982). The kuia and the spider (R. Kahukiwa, Illus.). Penguin.

Solomon, S. (2003). Dabu the baby dugong (D. Nona, Illus.). Magabala.

Smith, M. G. (2018). My heart fills with happiness (J. Flett, Illus.). Orca.