The Ultimate Guide to the Best Authentic Spanish Books for Kids

by | Mar 19, 2019

Inside: Authentic Spanish books for kids.

Reading to our kids is one of the most important things we parents can do. And if you’re raising bilingual kids, good books in Spanish are a must! While I dearly love our stash of picture books in Spanish and English, I love finding original Spanish titles, written by native-speaking authors. 

As a non-native Spanish speaker myself, raising bilingual kids, I love knowing these books will expose my kids to that authentic voice and culture I can’t always provide. We can curl up with a good book, and all of us pick on the rich language together. 

Even though many translations from English are excellent, some aren’t. Authentic picture books tend to have a more lyrical, natural feel to them. It’s not always easy to find authentic Spanish titles, but with lots of digging, I’ve found quite a few treasures here. Many books listed here are bilingual, but you’ll see that they were Spanish first, by a native author. 

Because this is such an extensive list of children’s titles in Spanish, I’ve broken it into sections. You can crab a coffee or tea and browse away, or click on a title below to jump directly to that section. 

 

picture books in Spanish for children

 

Authentic Spanish Books for Kids

 

For more book lists and suggestions, be sure to see my Spanish children’s books page. 

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If you’d like to take this list to the library or print and save for later, you can also grab it as a free download. 

Authentic Poetry/Music in Spanish for Kids

 

1. ¡Pío Peep!: Traditional Spanish Nursery Rhymes – This is just our favorite collection of traditional rhymes and illustrations in Spanish, and an essential for every Spanish-language kids’ library. The English translations are beautifully arranged as well. 

2. De Colores and Other Latin American Folksongs for Children – From the beloved children’s singer José Luis Oroczo, here you’ll find the best songs, hand games, and rhymes in Spanish. 

3. Arrorro, Mi Nino – A sweet collection of lullabies and rhymes for bedtime, compiled from 14 different countries. 

 4. Mama Goose: A Latino Nursery Treasury – This is a collection of 68 rhymes, jump-rope songs, fingerplays, proverbs, riddles, birthday songs, and more that can go along with Pío Peep, from the same author and illustrator. 

5. Little Chickies / Los Pollitos – Perfect for little hands, this lift-the-flap board book from Canticos recounts the beloved song Los Pollitos Dicen

6. Little Elephants / Elefantitos – From the same Canticos series, this board book is a sweet introduction to the classic song Los Elefantes Se Balanceaban. 

7. Muu, Moo!: Rimas de animales/Animal Nursery Rhymes – Another treasure from Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy, this collection features animal rhymes and poetry, both traditional and originals from the authors. 

 8. Todo es canción: Antología poética – Featuring all original poetry, this delightful collection is organized by themes that will be helpful for teachers, especially (numbers, vowels, food, nature, etc.)

 

9. Arroz con leche: canciones y ritmos populares de América Latina – This is another collection of Latin-American rhymes and songs for children, with gorgeous illustrations for children. 

10.  Little Mice / Ratoncitos – Another sweet board book from Canticos, introducing babies to the fingerplay Cinco ratoncitos de colita gris.

11. De Colores – This board book is a gentle introduction to the traditional song. Although the text is bilingual, this is from the Lil Libros series, which feature authentic Spanish-language picture books for kids. 

12. Chumba la Cachumba  – An old song about skeletons who come out of their graves at certain hours during the night. 

 

Alphabet Books in Spanish 

 

1. Guatemala ABCs – This is just one book from a delightful series that introduces different Spanish-speaking countries through the alphabet. 

2. Mi primer abecedario – Designed for young pre-readers to learn about the alphabet and its sounds, with a page for each letter. 

3. ABeCedarios: Mexican Folk Art ABCs in English and Spanish – The bold, beautiful illustrations in this board book feature one animal per letter of the alphabet, in the style of traditional folk art. 

4. De la A a la Z Peru – From another wonderful series that tells about Latin American countries through the ABCs in Spanish. 

5. Olinguito, de La A a la Z! – An introduction to the ABCs, in the context of a cloud forest in the Andes. 

6. El Abecedario De Don Hilario – This is a tradtional authentic book in Spanish for the ABCs.

7. Gathering the Sun: An Alphabet In Spanish And English – Told through poetry and the ABCs, this beautiful book invites us into the day-of-day of farm-workers. 

8. ¡Todos a Comer! A Mexican Food Alphabet Book – Learn the alphabet in Spanish through an exploration of Mexican food and cooking. 

 

 

Fiction Books in Spanish for Kids

 

1.  Última parada de la calle Market – CJ wonders why he and grandma ride the bus instead of having a car, or why they get off on the last stop- the “dirty part of town”? Grandma’s beautiful answers, along with award-winning illustrations, make this a must-read for kids.

2. La luz de Lucía – The youngest in a family of fireflies, Lucía is too little to shine like the others – until one night in the dark forest. 

3. Juan Bobo Busca Trabajo – A funny book about a famous Puerto Rican folk hero who goes out to look for work. 

4. Raúl y la iguana – Raul finds an iguana and wants to keep him as a pet – but is that a good idea?

 

5. Alma y como obtuvo su numbre – Alma has a lot of names and wonders why, until her dad sits down to tell her the story behind all her names.

6. La jaula dorado – A boy searches for just the right gift for his grandmother. 

7. Tejedora del Arcoiris – Ixchel tries to learn her family’s long-held tradition of weaving on her own, when her mother is too busy to teach her.

8.  Viva la tortuga! – The journey of a mother sea turtle, who crosses the ocean to lay her eggs on a faraway beach. 

9. El papalote – A mother and her children find out that making and flying a kite isn’t so easy!

10. El Flamboyán Amarillo – From celebrated author Geogrina Lázaro, this classic tells about a flowering walk and a boy who discovers it. 

11. Nochecita – A sweet bedtime story about searching for night-time. 

12. Instrucciones para que el hipopotamo duerma solo – What if you had a pet like a hippopotamus, and he wanted to sleep on your bed? This funny story is a gentle way to talk about being big enough to sleep in your own bed. 

 

13. Me gustaria tener… – A story with rhyming text about silly things animals might do. 

14. Mango, Abuela, y Yo – When Mía’s grandmother comes to live with her family, she finds they speak different languages. Slowly, they each begin to learn a little bit of Spanish and English, with the help of a pet parrot. 

15. El mejor es mi papá – In a faraway land, the animals say why their dad is best, in this warm story about fathers and their children. 

16. Coco: Miguel y la gran armonía – Newberry author Matt de la Peña brings us an original story based on the characters from the movie Coco

 

 

Folktales, Classics, & Legends

 

1. La Lagartija y el Sol – Once in Ancient Mexico, the sun disappeared. All the animals must search the land looking for it, but only one small animal would not give up.  

2. Cuentos que contaban nuestras abuelas – A collection of 12 classic folktales from the Spanish-speaking tradition and world. 

3.  El gallo de bodas – in this Cuban folktale, a rooster gets dirty on the way to a wedding, and enlists the help of everyone to get clean again.

4. Los perros mágicos de los volcanos – The Magic Dogs of the Volcanos show up wherever people tell stories in El Salvador, and this is an original story for children about them. 

 

5. Ratoncito Perez, Cartero – In the Hispanic tradition, Perez the Mouse visits children when they lose their first tooth. 

6. El sombrero del tío Nacho – When Uncle Nacho receives a new hat, he wants to get rid of the old one. But it won’t stay away! (Nicaragua)

7. De oro y esmeraldas: mitos, leyendas y cuentos populares de latinoamérica – Another beautiful anthology of classic tales from Lartn America, from award-winning illustrator and author Lulu Dalcre. 

8. De como dicen que fue hecho el mar – How the ocean was made, from an old Taino myth. 

 

9. La flor de oro: Un mito taíno de Puerto Rico – a retelling of an indigenous creation myth, about the birth of Puerto Rico. 

10. María tenía una llamita – An endearing retelling of Mary Had a Little Lamb, set in the Andes mountains. 

11. El rey colibri: una leyenda Guatemalteca – A Guatemalan legend about a young chief who is transformed into a quetzal. 

12. El secreto de la llama: una leyenda Peruana – A Peruvian retelling of the Great Flood story, in which a llama saves the people. 

 

Related: Spanish Christmas Books for Kids 

 

Celebrations & Traditions

 

1. Los tamales de Ana – Ana and her family make tamales every year, for Christmas. Throughout the years, even as Ana gets older, her older sister still gets to do the hardest parts- will Ana ever get to be in charge?

2. El espíritu del Tío Fernando – A boy remembers his favorite uncle as he prepares for Day of the Dead with his favorite uncle. 

3. La Guagua de Pan de Manuela – Manuela is an Ecuadorian Indian who is preparing typical foods with her mom to celebrate All Soul’s Day. (Includes recipes.) 

4.  Piñatas y flores de papel: Fiestas de las Américas en inglés y español – A bilingual overview of holidays children celebrate across the Americas

 

5.The Birthday Book / Las Mañanitas – Introduce the traditional birthday song in Spanish with this lift-the-flap board book. 

6. ¡Ya llegan los reyes magos! – An introduction to the Christmas tradition of the Three Kings, from the perspective of a child. 

7. ¡Qué montón de Tamales! – As María’s family prepares tamales for Noche Buena, she accidentally loses her mother’s ring in the masa. The kids decide the only way to find it is by eating their way through all the tamales!

8. ¡Qué cosas dice mi abuela! – A little tells about his day, which turns out to be a delightful introduction to classic Spanish-language sayings. 

 

 

Immigration-Related Spanish Picture Books

 

1La Frontera: El viaje con papá – A young boy and his father make the difficult journey from Mexico to cross the border into the US, where they hope to make a new life. 

2. Xochitl, la Nina de las flores – Xochitl missed her garden in El Salvador, and begins a nursery with her family to sell the flowers on the street. 

3. Del norte al sur – José and his father going to Mexico to visit his mamá after she had to move back to México. This book covers a very difficult subject with a tender book, perfect for kids. 

4. Soñadores – Caldecott-winning artist Yuyi Morales recounts the story of leaving her childhood home in Mexico to make a new life in the United States, as a young girl.  

 

Related: Peru Books for Kids

 

Picture Books in Spanish About Culture & Geography 

1. En Alas del Condor – Stories about the history and culture of Spanish-speaking places, for children. 

2. El Chocolate de Abuela– When abuela visits from Mexico, she always brings stories and treasures from her travels, which share rich traditions and customs of Mexico. 

3. Esperando el Biblioburro – A true story of a teacher and librarian who created a mobile library on two donkeys to travel through the mountains and bring books to children in rural Colombia. 

4. La Isla – Rosalba goes on an imaginary journey to the Caribbean with her grandmother, who takes her through a tour of old stories and places on the island. 

 

5. Mi isla y yo – A beautiful introduction in Spanish for kids to island biodiversity, through an exploration of Puerto Rico. 

6. Vuelo del quetzal – Learn about the land, places, and animals found throughout Latin America, through the eyes of the quetzal, and with beautiful illustrations. 

7. Cuadros de Familia – An introduction to Mexican-American culture, through the day-to-day life of the author’s family. 

8. Ojos del Jaguar – Learn about the pre-Colombian civilizations throughout Latin America, written in a way that kids will understand and enjoy.

 

9. La Ñusta Diminuta – A tiny Incan princess tries to save her people from a terrible drought, and introduces us to Incan culture and history along the way. 

10. ¿Qué puedes hacer con un rebozo? – Learn about the traditional Mexican shawl as a young girl plays with one and imagines all the things she can do with one. 

11. Cuauhtémoc: Shapes – Formas – For very young readers, this is a board book that teaches shapes through the context of the city of Tenochtitlan, along with Cuauhtémoc, the last Aztec emperor. 

12.Un día más y otras historias – Indigenous tales about about now-endangered animals throughout South America. 

13. ¿Dónde está el coqui? – An exploration of Latin American and Caribbean lands and animals, guided by a little frog, the Coqui. 

 

Note: Maguaré is also an amazing online resource for authentic online books in Spanish for kids!

Authentic Picture Books in Spanish for kids

 

 

Free Downloadable Authentic Picture Books in Spanish for Kids

 

Biographies in Spanish for Kids

 

1. Anti Princesas 1: Frida Kahlo para chicas y chicos – A colorful combination of illustrations and photos explores of the life of Frida Kahlo, for children. 

2. Viva Frida – A Caldecott Honor book that introduces young readers to one of the most famous artists, Frida Kahlo. 

3. Conoce a Pablo Neruda – Learn about the famous poet and politician, including a look into his playful childhood. 

4. Pasando páginas: La historia de mi vida – An autobiography written by Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latino on the U.S. supreme court.

 

5. Tito Puente, Rey del Mambo – A colorful overview of the life of musician Tito Puente. 

6. Me llamo Celia – Young readers can get to know Celia Cruz’s life story in this vibrant picture book. 

7. Me Llamo Gabito – The life of renowned author Gabriel García Marquez, told through imagery borrowed from his own works. 

8. Guadalupe: Primeras Palabras – Very young readers can learn about famous Hispanic people as well! This is just one biography in board book form, available from the Lil’ Libros series. 

 

9. Violeta Parra para chicas y chicos

10. Lado a lado, La historia de Dolores Huerta y Cesar Chávez – Discover the two important people who fought for farmworkers’ rights, and how their early lives led into their life work. 

11. Conoce a Gabriela Mistral – Learn how a quiet young girl grew up to be first Latin American writer to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature. 

12. Me llamo Gabriela – Another beautiful and inspiring look into the childhood and life of Gabriela Mistral. 


What other authentic Spanish children’s books do you love? Let me know in the comments below!

 

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the ultimate guide to authentic books in spanish

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Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

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