El Día de los Niños/El Día de los Libros

a Celebration of Childhood and Bilingual Literacy


Musical Credits:

Vocals by Tiffany Eng, Michele Lamb, Christine McNew, and Grete Pasch; Michele Turner on mandolin, Allen Mullen on guitar.

Titles of Rhymes on this Page:

Un Gato: .mp3
Sana, Sana: .mp3

Titles of Songs on this Page:

Arroz con Leche
Arruru mi Niño : .mp3
De Colores
Duérmete, Mi Niño: .mp3
Los Elefantes: .mp3
Las Mañanitas: .mp3
Los Pollitos: .mp3
La Rana: .mp3
El Toro Torojil: .mp3

Links to More Songs, Rhymes, Fingerplays, and Games

Arroz con Leche

This song is also a game. Children hold hands and walk in a circle around a boy who stands in the middle. He chooses a girl to be the señorita and she takes his place in the middle of the circle. She chooses a boy, etc. A version of this song may be found in Arroz con Leche, Popular Songs and Rhymes from Latin America selected and illustrated by Lulu Delacre.



Arroz con leche me quiero casar

Rice with milk, I'd like to get married,

con una señorita de la capital,

to a young girl from the capital,

que sepa coser,

who knows how to sew

que sepa contar,

who knows how to sing,

que sepa abrir la puerta

who knows how to open the door

para ir a jugar.

so we can go out and play.

Yo soy la viudita, del barrio del rey,

I am a widow, from the king's quarters,

Me quiero casar y no encuentro con quien:

I'd like to marry, I know not with whom:

con este, sí, con este, no;

with this one, it's yes; with this one, it's no.

contigo, mi vida, me casar yo.

with you, my dear, I'll marry you soon.

Arruru Mi Niño


This lullaby is from Central America.



Arruru mi niño

Lull to sleep my son (daughter)

que tengo que hacer

for I have things to do

lavar tus pañales

wash your diapers

y sentarme a coser.

and sit down to sew.



Una camisita

With a little shirt

te voy a poner

I will dress you

el día de tu santo

on your birthday

al amanecer.

when the sun comes up.



Señora Santa Ana

Mrs. Saint Anne

Señor San Joaquín

Mr. Saint Joaquin

escondan al niño

hide the boy

por el tacuazín.

from the weasel



Señora Santa Ana

Mrs. Saint Anne

porqué llora el niño

why is the boy crying

por una manzana

for an apple

que se le ha perdido

that he has lost



No llores niñito

Don't cry little boy

que aquí tengo dos

because I have two apples

una para la Virgen

one for the Virgin

y otra para vos

and one for you



De Colores

"De colores" came to the Americas from central Spain in the sixteenth century and is now sung all over the Spanish-speaking world on special occasions and celebrations. It is also the anthem of the United Farmworkers of America, a union founded by Cesar Chavez, most of whose members are Spanish-speaking. People hold hands and sway while singing this beautiful song. It may be found in De Colores and Other Latin-American Folk Songs for Children by Jose-Luis Orozco.



De colores,

Painted in colors,

de colores se visten los campos

the fields are dressed in colors

en la primavera.

in the spring.

De colores,

Painted in colors,

de colores son los pajaritos

painted in colors are the little birds

que vienen de afuera.

which come from the outside.

De colores,

Painted with colors,

de colores es el arcoiris que

painted with colors is the rainbow that

vemos lucir.

we see shining brilliantly above.





Y por eso los grandes amores

And that is why great loves

de muchos colores

of many colors

me gustan a mi.

are what I like.



Canta el gallo

The rooster sings

canta el gallo con el kiri, kiri, kiri, kiri, kiri.

the rooster sings with a kiri, kiri, kiri, kiri, kiri.

La gallina.

The hen

la gallina con el cara, cara, cara, cara,

The hen sings with a cara, cara, cara, cara,

Los pollitos,

The little chicks

los pollitos con el pio, pio, pio, pio, pi.

The little chicks with a pio, pio, pio, pio, pi.





Duérmete, Mi Niño


This lullaby originated in Spain and is sung throughout Latin America. For generations, mothers have used it to transmit love, warmth, and peace to their children as they fall asleep. It is in De Colores and Other Latin-American Folk Songs for Children by Jose-Luis Orozco.



Duérmete, mi niño,

Go to sleep, my boy,

duérmete solito,

sleep by yourself,

que cuando despiertes

for when you awaken

te daré atolito.

I will give you cream corn soup.



Duérmete, mi niña,

Go to sleep, my girl,

duérmete, mi sol,

go to sleep my sun,

duérmete pedazo

go to sleep,

de mi corazon.

piece of my heart.

Los Elefantes


In this song, "balanceaba" is sometimes sung in place of "columpiaba." Children add one elephant to the spider web in each verse for long as they wish to continue singing. A version of "Los elefantes" may be found in in De Colores and Other Latin-American Folk Songs for Children by Jose-Luis Orozco.



Un elefante se columpiaba

One elephant swung

Sobre la tela de una araña.

On the web of a spider.

Y como veiron que resistía

And when he saw that it held him,

Fueron a llamar otro elefante.

He called another elephant.



Dos elefantes se columpiaba

Two elephants swung

Sobre la tela de una araña.

On the web of a spider.

Y como veiron que resistía

And when they the saw that it held them,

Fueron a llamar otro elefante.

They called another elephant.



Tres elefantes...

Three elephants...

Cuatro elefantes...

Four elephants..

Cinco elefantes...

Five elephants...

Un Gato


This is a repeating rhyme. An adult tells the rhyme to a young child and asks "Should I tell it to you again?" The child says "Yes," and the adult repeats it until the child says no.



Había una vez un gato

Once upon a time there was a cat

con los pies de trapo

who had feet made out of cloth

y los ojos al revés.

and the eyes upside-down.

Quieres que te lo cuente otra vez?

Should I tell it to you again?

Las Mañanitas


Mañanitas are traditional Mexican songs that people sing early in the morning on birthdays and other special days. Often people are awakened with this song on their birthdays. Young men also serenade their girlfriends with this beautiful song. Sometimes mariachi bands are hired to serenade the celebrant. This song may be found De Colores and Other Latin-American Folk Songs for Children by Jose-Luis Orozco.



Estas son las mañanitas

These are the morning songs

que cantaba el Rey David.

that King David used to sing.

Hoy por ser día de tu santo

Because today is your birthday

te las cantamos a ti.

We are singing them to you.





Despierta, mi bien, despierta,

Awaken, my dear, awaken,

mira que ya amaneció

and see that the day has dawned,

ya los pajarillos cantan,

now the little birds are singing,

la luna ya se metió.

And the moon has set..

Los Pollitos


This rhyme may be found in Los Pollitos Dicen, The Baby Chicks Sing by Nancy Abraham Hall and Jill Syverson-Stork.



Los pollitos dicen "pío, pío, pío",

Baby chicks say "pio, pio, pio,"

cuando tienen hambre,

when they are hungry.

cuando tienen frío.

when they are cold.



La gallina busca

The hen looks

el maíz y el trigo,

for wheat and corn,

les da su comida,

she gives them their food,

y les presta abrigo.

And she keeps them warm.



Bajo sus dos alas

Under her two wings


tucked in and snuggled tight

hasta el otro día

until the next day

duermen los pollitos.

they sleep all through the night..

La Rana


"Cucú" is the sound of a frog. This song describes what a little frog sees from a pond. Additional verses may be added at any time to describe what is happening in the room in which the children are singing.



Cucú, cucú cantaba la rana

Cucu, cucu sang the frog

Cucú, cucú debajo del agua,

Cucu, cucu under the water

Cucú, cucú pasó un caballero

Cucu, cucu a man walked by

Cucú, cucú con capa y sombrero

Cucu, cucu with coat and hat

Cucú, cucú paso una señora

Cucu, cucu a woman walked by

Cucú, cucú con traje de cola,

Cucu, cucu with a long dress

Cucú, cucú pasó un marinero,

Cucu, cucu a sailor walked by

Cucú, cucú vendiendo romero,

Cucu, cucu selling rosemary

Cucú, cucú le pidió un ramito,

Cucu, cucu the little frog asks for a sprig

Cucú, cucú no le quiso dar,

Cucu, cucu but he doesn't give her any

Cucú, cucú y se echó a llorar.

Cucu, cucu so she starts to cry.

Sana, Sana


This rhyme is said to have magical healing power. Parents gently rub or tap their fingers over a cut, bruise, or other injury in a circular motion, repeating the rhyme, and the injured child quickly feels better. "Sana" means heal. This song is in De Colores and Other Latin-American Folk Songs for Children by Jose-Luis Orozco.



Sana, sana,

Heal, heal,

colita de rana,

little tail of the frog,

Si no sanas hoy,

If you don't heal today,

sanarás mañana.

you'll heal tomorrow.

El Toro Torojil


Children hold hands and walk or skip in a circle around one child, the frog, who stands in the middle. The children sing the song once and then ask the child in the middle how she feels: "¿Cómo amaneció la ranita?" The child in the middle decides if she is ¡bien! (well) or ¡engusanada! (dead and full of maggots.) If she is well, she stays in the middle for another round. If she is dead, all of the children run away screaming and laughing, until she catches one of them who then becomes the frog. Torojil is a medicinal herb, and this song is as popular in some Central American countries as "Ring Around the Rosie" is in the United States.

Vamos a la vuelta

Let's go around and around

del toro torojil

of the bull torojil

a ver a la rana

to see the little frog

comiendo perejil

who's eating parsley



La rana no está aquí

The frog is not here

estará en su vergel

she's probably in her garden

cortando una rosa

cutting a rose

sembrando un clavel.

planting a carnation.

¿Cómo amaneció la ranita?

how is the frog this morning?

[the frog responds either]: ¡bien! or ¡engusanada!

[the frog responds either]: better! or full of maggots!

Lone Star Día

Bilingual Library Programs for Latino and Spanish-speaking Children and Families

Page last modified: July 8, 2016