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7 Bilingual Books in Portuguese and English from Beginner to Advanced

Reading fully in Portuguese can seem overwhelming. Sometimes, even easy Portuguese short stories or books may seem too daunting. Luckily, there’s another, less frightening option than reading entirely in Portuguese: bilingual Portuguese-English books.

These books offer text in both English and Portuguese, making it easier and less intimidating to switch seamlessly between the languages as you deem fit. Read on for seven excellent bilingual Portuguese-English books for some relaxed Portuguese reading practice.

Contents


1. “The Toddler’s Handbook”

The Toddler's Handbook: Bilingual (English / Portuguese) (Inglês / Português) Numbers, Colors, Shapes, Sizes, ABC Animals, Opposites, and Sounds, with ... Learning Books (Portuguese Edition)

The name may seem off-putting (unless you actually are a toddler), but the book offers great learning material for beginner Portuguese students, whether or not they’re teething.

This bilingual book contains over 100 common, useful words, including numbers, animals, body parts, colors, shapes and more.

Each word appears in both English and Portuguese and includes an associated image to help you connect the Portuguese word more directly with its meaning. The colorful pages are easy to scan quickly so you can pick up a few new words whenever you have a moment.

Plus, once you advance past the beginning level, you can always re-purpose your copy into a generous baby gift.

2. Language Lizard Books

bilingual-books-portuguese-english

Language Lizard offers a wide array of bilingual children’s books, including dozens of Portuguese-English options.

The books here run the gamut of topics, covering themes like body parts in “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” and sports in “Goal! Let’s Play!”

To find Portuguese options, click “Portuguese” under the “Shop by Language” heading on the left side of the browser. Then, select any book that appeals to you.

Once you’ve clicked on the book of your choice, there’s a drop-down menu labeled “Language Selection” that you can use to select “Portuguese-English.”

3. “Good Night, Little Sea Otter”

Good Night, Little Sea Otter (Portuguese/English) (Portuguese and English Edition)

This illustrated children’s book may be designed for preschoolers, but it’s also a useful tool to help Portuguese students transition to reading more advanced texts.

“Good Night, Little Sea Otter” is about a baby sea otter who wants to say goodnight to all the sea animals, so expect to learn plenty of animal words.

Vibrant illustrations and accompanying English-language text make the story easy to follow.

The book uses Brazilian Portuguese, so if you’re studying European Portuguese, we recommend you try a different option.

4. “Portuguese-English Bilingual Visual Dictionary”

Portuguese-English Bilingual Visual Dictionary

Like “The Toddler’s Handbook,” this book features a variety of images labeled in both English and Portuguese.

However, unlike “The Toddler’s Handbook,” it introduces words that adults might need to know. For instance, you’ll learn words for office supplies, furniture and other useful vocabulary.

The focus is mostly on things you’ll encounter in everyday life, so you’re likely to see some words that you use all the time in English that you never even realized you might need in Portuguese.

You can also download an audio app associated with the book for help with pronunciation. Plus, the simple, visual layout makes it easy to peruse whenever you have a moment and want to learn some new vocabulary.

5. “Learn Portuguese: Parallel Text Easy Stories (English-Portuguese)”

This book is designed to help you read in Portuguese, even if you have no previous Portuguese experience.

The layout facilitates reading: Each sentence first appears in (Brazilian) Portuguese, then English, making it easy to compare and contrast.

The stories are all about adventures around the world, so they’re fun and engaging to read.

They’re also written specifically for learners, using simple sentence constructions and tenses and including plenty of useful phrases and common vocabulary words in context.

6. “The Life of Cleopatra”

Learn Portuguese - Bilingual Book (Portuguese - English) The Life of Cleopatra

Bilingual books aren’t just for beginners: there are some excellent options for more intermediate Portuguese students, as well. “The Life of Cleopatra” is one such option.

This bilingual text tells a tale set in the time of Cleopatra, so you’ll learn plenty of more advanced, historical words you’re unlikely to encounter in conventional coursework. 

However, to make the story more engaging, the book uses a conversational tone and a first-person point of view, placing you in the story. Each line appears in Portuguese, then English, making it easier for readers to follow along.

Fans of “The Life of Cleopatra” may enjoy the other books in the series: “The Adventures of Julius Caesar” and “The Starry Night.” Both offer similar bilingual texts with a historical setting, which are readable by beginners but more appropriate for intermediate Portuguese students.

7. “The Alienist”

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There aren’t a lot of bilingual texts available for advanced Portuguese students, as at this stage it’s assumed that you’re ready to read exclusively in Portuguese.

Luckily, there’s still one bilingual option for advanced Portuguese students: “O alienista,” or “The Alienist.” If you’re unfamiliar with the term, “alienist” was an early word for what’s now called “psychiatrist.”

This satiric novella by famous Brazilian author Machado de Assis follows a physician who aims to find a universal cure for pathological disorders, but in so doing, drives a town to the brink of insanity. This bilingual text is provided by Interlinear Books, which offers it in printed or digital form. An audiobook is also available.

The text features the Portuguese in large, clear letters, with the English meaning in smaller, lighter-colored text directly below each word. This keeps you focused on the Portuguese text and enables you to completely ignore the English text until you encounter a word you don’t know.

How to Use Bilingual Portuguese-English Books

Bilingual books are awesome learning tools, but it’s easy to fall into the trap of relying too much on the English text. Here are some tips for making the most out of your literary journey into these bilingual books:

  • Try reading as much of the book in Portuguese as possible. If your goal is to improve your Portuguese reading skills, you should always try to focus as much as possible on actually reading in Portuguese.

    Consider the English text more like a crutch that you can lean on if you need a little extra support—not an essential tool that you use constantly.

  • Write down or highlight any unfamiliar vocabulary for further study later. This will help you expand your vocabulary and better understand the Portuguese texts you read.
  • Read the same book until you understand all the Portuguese text. It may seem repetitive, but this will help ensure that you’ve learned all the words and that you’re ready to move on to another text. Plus, you can have the self-satisfaction of having read a whole book in Portuguese.

 

Don’t let the intimidation factor keep you from reading in Portuguese. Check out these bilingual Portuguese-English books for easy reading practice!
 

And One More Thing…

If you've made it this far that means you probably enjoy learning Portuguese with engaging material and will then love FluentU.

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized Portuguese lessons.

Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Portuguese language and culture over time. You’ll learn Portuguese as it’s actually spoken by real people.

FluentU has a wide variety of videos, as you can see here:

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FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts. You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used. If you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.

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Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.

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Learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s robust learning engine. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.

learn-spanish-with-music-videos

The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning with the same video.

You can try FluentU for free for 2 weeks. Click here to check out the website or download the iOS app or Android app.

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