Spanish Christmas Books for Kids

Spanish Christmas Books for Kids

Inside: Christmas Spanish books for kids.

 

When I was growing up, my mom created little Christmas traditions we kept up for years. One of them was “the book basket.” We had a stack of annual favorites, and she would read a little bit from each one, finishing the last page or chapter of each on Christmas Eve. Every year she’d get choked up in the same parts, and even my dad would tear up on the last page of classics like A Certain Small Shepherd and The 24 Days Before Christmas.

We rolled our eyes at our sentimental parents, of course. But of course, here I am with kids of my own, boo-hooing my way through sweet books too. Now that I’ve got bilingual kids, I’ve been on the hunt for Christmas books in Spanish, so I can carry on the family traditions with our own bilingual, bicultural twist. 

In this post I’m sharing my favorite titles in Spanish, and would love to hear your suggestions as well! For more book lists and suggestions, be sure to see my Spanish children’s books page. 

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

 

Christmas Spanish Books for Kids

 

Spanish Christmas books

 

 

Christmas Traditions

 

El Niño Espíritu by John Bierhorst and Barbara Cooney
(Mexico)

The nativity story, as told by Spanish missionaries to the Aztecs and one that dates back to the 16th century. Cooney is an award-winning illustrator who brings the story to life with period illustrations.

Feliz Nochebuena, Feliz Navidad by Maricel Presilla
(Cuba, Puerto Rico)

A tour of the author’s Christmas memories from growing up in the Caribbean, centered on the delicious food and recipes, and the people who made them. 

¡Ya Llegan los Reyes Magos! by Georgina Lazaro

A beautiful book that introduces traditions surroundings Los Reyes Magos, from a child’s perspective. 

The Night of Las Posadas by Tomie dePaola
(Santa Fe, New Mexico)

Though this one isn’t in Spanish, Tomie dePaola stories and paintings are just irresistible. This story tells about a small town’s procession of Las Posadas. Mystery and miracle follow, to save the posadas on Christmas night.  

 

Contemporary Christmas Stories

 

¡Qué Montón de Tamales! by Gary Soto
(Mexico)

As María helps her mother in their family tradition of making tamales for nochebuena, she tries on her mother’s ring. It slips off and gets lost in the mountains off masa they are preparing! María enlists the help of her cousins to eat all the tamales and find it.

La Noche Buena: A Christmas Story by Antonio Sacre
(Cuba, Miami)

This year, Nina leaves behind a snowy landscape to spend Christmas with her grandmother in Miami– where it’s hot and humid. There, she learns about another side of Christmas, full of new food, dancing, music and family.

El Árbol de Navidad by Alma Flor Ada

A family decorates their Christmas tree together, as told by rhyming cumulative text with each added ornament. I love the folk illustrations in the story as well. 

Arturo and the Navidad Birds by Anne Broyles
(Central America)

Arturo is visiting his grandmother, and she tells him the story behind each ornament as they decorate together. When Arturo accidentally breaks a bird ornament, he is filled with guilt and tries to make another. A sweet bilingual story that won second place in the International Latino Book Awards for picture books.

 

Translated Classics

 

Los renos rebeldes de Navidad by Jan Brett

We love Jan Brett at our house, and I was so excited to see this one in Spanish! She retells a Ukranian folk tale in Spanish in this gorgeous book, about a young girl in charge of Santa’s reindeer. 

¡Cómo el Grinch robó la Navidad! by Dr. Seuss

It’s hard to get more classic than the Grinch for Christmas, and now you can enjoy this story in Spanish!

El Árbol de Navidad del Señor Viladomat by Robert Barry

Señor Viladomat has accidentally bought a tree that is too big for his house. What he does with the chopped-off end part brings Christmas cheer to many neighbors, both animal and human

La Navidad del Camioncito Azul by Alice Schertle

Everybody’s favorite little blue truck is back for Navidad, with a counting-Christmas-trees twist. 

 

The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola

(Mexico)

Written in English, this recounts the Mexican folktale behind the poinsettia (or flor de la Nochebuena), and Holy Night. As always with dePaola, gorgeous paintings vividly accompany the story set against a group of children waiting for Christmas. 

There are several other versions available for this classic folk tale:

El Regalo de La Flor de Nochebuena retold by Pat Mora

Milagro de la Flor de Nochebuena retold by Brian Cavanaugh

Zetta the Poinsettia by Alma Hammond

 

Bilingual or English Books

 

Feliz Navidad by Jose Feliciano

A bilingual introduction to Jose Feliciano’s classic songs, with lift-up flaps for little fingers. 

El Mejor Regalo del Mundo: La Leyenda de la Vieja Belen by Julia Alvarez

(Dominican Republic)

Julia Alvarez is one of my favorite Latina authors, and you won’t want to miss this delightful bilingual re-telling of the Dominican folk character La Vieja Belen. 

Tres Reyes Mago: Colors – Colores by Patty Rodriguez

This sweet and simple board book introduces colors to kids in the context of the Christmas story. 

The Santero’s Miracle by Rudolfo Anaya
(New Mexico)

This bilingual story takes place in a small village, where Andrés is visiting his grandpa. When a big snow hits, Andres worries his family won’t be able to join them for Christmas. A sweet story of a surprise miracle and family. 

Miracle on 133rd Street by Sonia Manzano

A sweet story about a roast too big to fit into Mami’s oven. What started as a simple cooking problem ends up being an opportunity for the neighborhood to come together and spread the Christmas spirit. 

Twas’ Nochebuena by Roseanne Greenfield Thong

A retelling of The Night Before Christmas that introduces the tradition of Nochebuena, along with Christmas vocabulary in Spanish:

’Twas Nochebuena and all through our casa

every creature was kneading tamale masa

N is for Navidad by Susan Middleton Elya

A bilingual alphabet book that introduces different Latino Christmas traditions and words. 

A Piñata in a Pine Tree by Pat Mora

El Regalo de Navidad by Francisco Jiménez
(US – Immigration Theme)

Renowned author Francisco Jiménez recounts one Christmas from his childhood, the year in which all he wanted was a red ball. His parents explain that they have no money, and are on the constant move. A poignant surprise waits for us in this tale.

El Hombrecito de Mazapán by Louise Martin

The classic tale of the gingerbread boy, told in Spanish. 

A Doll for Navidades by Esmeralda Santiago

The author recounts one childhood Christmas when all she wanted was a doll, in this heartwarming story about love and family. 


 

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Where To Find the Best Online Spanish Books for Free

Where To Find the Best Online Spanish Books for Free

Inside: How to find online Spanish books for free.

 

We all know that reading is one of the top ways to improve your language skills. And there’s good news for Spanish learners: more and more books in Spanish are available these days. Though I’ve already got lots of physical book lists for you (and a Spanish audio book list!), this post will concentrate on online books to read and enjoy for free. 

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

 

Online Spanish Books 

 

For parents of bilingual kids, or homeschool families, online books can be a great way to supplement your Spanish collection. 

For teachers, you can print some of these books as you set up a classroom library, or project them onto the board and use them in a whole-class setting. 

And now, let’s get started! If you have more suggestions, please let me know in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

1. Maguaré

 

 

Sponsored by the Colombian Ministerio de Cultura, Maguaré is a one-in-a-million find for Spanish materials. You can access over 100 picture books, poems, and tongue twisters. (A few are set to music or include audio as well).

 

 

All the books are available as free downloads, and a few even have the option to print in black and white for kids to color. Definitely bookmark this site if you are looking for high-quality printable Spanish books!

 

Recommended for intermediate Spanish learners and up. 

 

 

2. Reading A-Z

 

 

Reading A-Z is a huge resource of leveled readers, with an extensive collection in Spanish as well. (And when I say huge– we’re talking hundreds of books!) Their site is extremely user-friendly and the books are organized by level, skill, topic, and type. 

 

 

If you are looking for books to print, Reading A-Z does require a subscription. However, if you are just looking for online Spanish books, this may be the perfect fit for you. 

Recommended for novice Spanish speakers and up. 

 

 

3. Read Conmigo

 

Although you have to sign up with an email, Read Conmigo offers free online books in Spanish, targeted for ages PreK – 5th grade. Currently, they have over 45 bilingual titles. Though the books are not printer-friendly, you have the choice to download onto your phone, a computer, or onto a Kindle. They also have an App available, if you’d like a kid-friendly version on-the-go. 

 

read conmigo

 

Recommended for novice Spanish speakers and up.

 

 

4. International Children’s Digital Library

 

The International Children’s Library currently has 100+ books in Spanish for kids. They have lots of search options, for looking by age and topic, once you get the hang of it. 

 

international libray

 

Recommended for intermediate Spanish speakers. 

 

 

5. Children’s Books Forever

 

Children’s Books Forever also has a small collection of online books, in a variety of languages. They are available for free and are printable. 

Recommended for intermediate Spanish speakers. 

 

 

6. Unite for Literacy

 

 

Although I include this one on my list of audio books in Spanish, Unite for Literacy is such an asset for beginners I’m including it here too. All the books are written in very basic Spanish, with non-fiction themes like colors, toys, art, animals, and more. The site includes many other languages, in addition to Spanish!

 

 

Recommended for noviceSpanish speakers. 

 

 

7. Grimm Stories

 

Technically, this site is full of online stories, not books. Grimm Stories offers dozens of fairy tales in Spanish, from the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson. All are available as a PDF for easy printing!

Recommended for intermediate Spanish speakers and up. 

 

8. Fables in Simple Spanish

 

 

 

If you are looking for online Spanish stories in told on a novice level, I have a few options on my site as well. You can check out my Fables in Spanish page, where I’ve retold famous fables in beginner language. My preschool Spanish lessons also include free beginner stories. A few a narrated; we’re working on turning all of them into read-aloud videos!

 

 

Recommended for novice Spanish learners. 

 

 

9. El Huevo de Chocolate

El Huevo de Chocolate is an extensive site in Spanish with all sorts of links: guessing games, fables, folk tales, books, and more. The books section and stories section contain text from mostly classic works in Spanish. The comic sans font and design make the site less user-friendly, but if you are on the search for more authentic texts in Spanish, definitely check them out.

Recommended for intermediate Spanish speakers and up. 

 



 

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where to find spanish books online

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A Guide to Finding Spanish Audio Books for Kids

A Guide to Finding Spanish Audio Books for Kids

Inside: The best Spanish audio books for kids.

 

When raising bilingual kids or teaching Spanish, audiobooks are a great resource to have in your stash of Spanish-language materials. The only problem is this: they’re really hard to find! I’ve been searching in all my favorite groups and readers have sent in their top sites. I wish I had even more options for you, but here are some great resources to help you get going.

 In addition to the online options below, be sure to check your local public library for Spanish audiobooks, or books with CDs. Many library actually have extensive collections, and you might find some goodies there! 

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

 

Spanish Audio Books for Kids

 

If you’re using audiobooks at home, you can be creative. Listen in the car or on road trips. Let your kids do something with their hands while listening (puzzles, coloring, building, etc.), or turn on the Spotify playlist below at bedtime.

For teachers in the classroom, Spanish audio books could make a good station or alternative activity for native/heritage speakers. If you have older students who are still struggling to read, giving them a simple audio option can also be a helpful alternative.

And now, let’s get started! If you have more suggestions, please let me know in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

1. The Spanish Experiment

 

The Spanish Experiment currently has nine free stories for listening, including classic fairy and folk tales. When you click on the link, the first five will show as free, and the last four with a membership. But if you click on over to The Fable Cottage, they are free too! These stories are narrated with a very high-quality audio and include a script you can follow. Although there are a few images, it is more for listening and not an actual “audio book.”

Recommended for intermediate Spanish speakers. 

 

 

2. Unite for Literacy

 

 

Unite for Literacy is a huge collection of Spanish audio books for children, with digital books you click on to turn the pages and listen to the audio. All the books are written in very basic Spanish, with non-fiction themes like colors, toys, art, animals, and more. The site includes many other languages, in addition to Spanish!

Recommended for young children and novice Spanish learners. 

 

3. Spotify Playlists

 

Spotify is actually a goldmine of online stories in Spanish, and one of the best free options out there. Of course, you won’t have the visuals to follow along with, but you find some quality narrators. I’m sharing several playlists that you might like.

 

Recommended for intermediate Spanish speakers. 

 

 

 

 

4. Storybooks Canada

 

Storybooks Canada is an amazing project that highlights African stories, and provides books with audio in dozens of languages– one of which is Spanish!

Recommended for beginning Spanish speakers. 

 

 

5. 123 Teach Me

 

123 Teach Me provides audio of short stories for kids, along with a script of the story. There are currently 18 stories available, some of which were familiar fables, along with some new stories to me. 

Recommended for elementary kids and intermediate Spanish speakers.  

 

 

6. LibriVox

 

LibriVox is another free option. A lot of the content is for adults or very advanced learners, and only the audio is available. However, there are over 400 titles available, with more in progress. Most are original titles in Spanish (lots of poetry), along with translated classics. It’s a lot to sort through, so here are some titles you might be interested in: El Ratón Perez, La Biblia, Cuentos de Hadas (Grimm’s Fairy Tales), Alice in Wonderland. Don Quijote, Las Fábulas de Esopo, Shakespeare. 

Recommended for older students and advanced Spanish speakers. Also available as an App. 

 

7. The Bible App for Kids

 

The Bible App is free, and technically more than a simple audiobook. You can download the stories, which include text, audio, and images that are slightly animated. This is a huge resource to have at your fingertips, if you read the Bible with your kids!

Recommended for intermediate to advanced Spanish speakers. Available as an App. 

Amazon Audible 

 

There are several paid options for Spanish audio books. Amazon Audible seems to have the largest collection, with titles like Buenas Noches, Luna, stories from Beatrix Potter, and popular folk takes. It also includes many chapter books like Esperanza Renace, Manoltio Gafotas, y El Prinicipito. (There is a monthly fee.) Click here to go directly to the collection of Spanish-language books



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A Collection of Day of the Dead Songs

A Collection of Day of the Dead Songs

Inside: The best Day of the Dead Songs, or canciones para Día de Muertos. 

 

With Día de Muertos drawing near, I’ve pulled together a variety of songs to use at home or in the classroom and add this link to my Spanish songs for kids page. These songs may be fun to sing, and the images are a great springboard for discussions about the holiday.

If you’re looking for an entire collections of resources and ideas for Day of the Dead, check out my Día de Muertos activities post as well! I’ve gots lots of links to free resources and ideas for celebrating or teaching traditions. 

 

Day of the Dead Songs for Kids

 

We’ll start off with some options for a younger crowd! These are a mix of traditional songs, and learners songs designed to teach about the holiday.

(Honestly, I am not sure how much I would show with really young kids. It seems like it would be hard to share without lots of English to explain what we are watching, and that some families might be uncomfortable with the graveyard images. However, you know your class and context! I am sharing these so you know your options, and can plan accordingly!)

 

Los Esqueletos – Chumbala

 

I like this one for the very clear singing voice, and the graphics are sweet too. (It works in telling time too, by describing what they do the night of Día de Muertos.) Though it portrays the calaveras in a whimsical way, the graveyard backyard might be scary. 

 

Las Calaveras – Chumbala

 

Another version of Chumbala, with slight different lyrics. 

 

 

Día de los Muertos

 

This song from Rockalingua is an introduction to Día de Muertos — the date, location, activities, etc. The music slogs a little, but still comprehensible and the graphics are useful when working with kids. 

 

El Día de Los Muertos

 

Another comprehensible Day of the Dead song for introducing what the day is about, the graphics here are also helpful for teaching. I didn’t love the music itself, and feel like it doesn’t coincide with the cultural context of the holiday. 

 

Tumbas Por Aquí Tumbas Por Allá

 

This one is a littler creepier, and sort’ve falls under the Halloween category too. 

 

 

Recuérdame – Coco

 

How could I not include music from Coco? Here are two different version, both of which includes scenes from the movie. 

 

Day of the Dead Songs for Teens or Adults

 

Here are some options for older students or adults as well!

 

Calaverita – La Santa Cecilia

 

This is a Day of the Dead classic: a lively song with a comprehensible chorus. Kara Jacobs has some fantastic resources that go with this song too! Just a heads up that Donald Trump appears briefly in one scene– this was before he was elected president, but it may feel political for some.

 

Recuérdame – Natalia Lafourcade

 

I love this re-mix of Recuérdame from Natala Lafourcade. It includes scenes from Coco, mixed in with scenes of Lafourcade singing and Day of the Dead contexts. Really lovely, folksy version that includes lyrics. 

 

La Llorona – Natalia Lafourcade

 

A traditional Mexican folk song, this is not exactly a Day of the Dead song, but it fits in with themes of death, and the afterlife. This story is difficult for me to hear or teach (rooted in a story of a jilted woman who drowns her children and then forever after haunts her former lover and weeps for her children), so be aware of that if you use this. 

 

 

Cumbia de los Muertos – Ozomatli

 

In a totally different musical genre, here’s a cumbia twist on Día de Muertos with some reggae thrown in. It also includes an English portion. (I’ve included two version below.)

 

 

 

Day of the Dead Songs

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Happy Birthday Songs in Spanish

Happy Birthday Songs in Spanish

Inside: Different versions Happy Birthday songs in Spanish, on YouTube.

In English, the song Happy Birthday is a staple at any birthday celebration– and wherever you go, it will basically sound the same. In Spanish, however, there are different versions, and they vary by country as well.

Here in Peru, for example, you’d better be prepared if you’re the cumpleañero! You’ll be sung at least three different songs, including Happy Birthday in English, before you get to blow those candles out. Though you say feliz cumpleaños to directly wish someone a Happy Birthday in Spanish, the words get switched to cumpleaños feliz in most cases, to fit the cadence of the song.

 

I’ll share several ways to sing to someone on their birthday, and you can pick your favorite. I wish there were a good version with lyrics on YouTube to recommend for free, but the pickings are slim. If you have more suggestions, let me know in the comments below for sure. 

If you are a classroom teacher, and would like to have quick, nice version with lyrics for your students to follow, you may want to look into this $5 version from Minute by Minute Spanish, which includes several regional options. 

 

If you prefer just to sing without music, here are the lyrics to some simple versions:



Cumpleaños, feliz,

Cumpleaños, feliz,
Cumpleaños feliiiiz,
Cumpleaños feliz.


Cumpleaños feliz
Te deseamos a ti
Que los cumplas feliz
Cumpleaños feliz



Cumpleaños, feliz,

Cumpleaños, feliz,
Te deseamos todos,
Cumpleaños feliz.


 

Happy Birthday Songs in Spanish

 

Let’s get started on our tour of Feliz Cumpleaños songs in YouTube, with option for kids to adults!

 

1. Cumpleaños Feliz with Lyrics

 

*Update!!* An awesome reader just sent me this link, which actually does show the lyrics during the song. WIN!

Cumpleaños feliz,
Cumpleaños feliz,
Te deseamos todos,
Cumpleaños feliz.

 

2. Cumpleaños Feliz – Canción Infantil

This one has a nice audio of children singing, though the images are a bit outdated!

Cumpleaños feliz,
Te deseamos a ti, 
Que los cumplas felices,
Cumpleaños feliz. 

 

3. Happy Birthday – Spanish Version

 

A slower version, sung by adults. Here are the lyrics:

Cumpleaños feliz,
Te deseamos a ti, 
Que los cumplas en tu día,
Que los cumplas feliz. 

 

 

4. Cumpleaños Feliz en Español

 

The graphics and lyrics are great in this version, though the audio is a little hard to sing along to.

Cumpleaños feliz,
Cumpleaños feliz,
Te deseamos todos,
Cumpleaños feliz.

 

5. Las Mañanitas

 

Work in some beautiful, cultural music with Las Mañanitas, traditionally sung on birthdays in Mexico and other Spanish-speaking places. 

 

And with lyrics:

6. Cumpleaños Feliz – Kids Songs

 

This one *does* show the lyrics, but unfortunately also show wine on the table! You may still want to use the audio, so here are the lyrics:

Cumpleaños feliz,
Cumpleaños feliz,
Te deseamos todos,
Cumpleaños feliz.

 

7. Festeja Tu Cumpleaños

 

Another version that sings Que los cumplas feliz, mixed in with an original version from Plim Plim.

 

8. Cumpleaños Feliz – Tambor Urbano

 

 

9. Feliz Cumpleaños

 

An original mix from Toobys. If you introducing vocabulary related to birthday, it includes words like pastel, globos, velitas, regalos, etc. 

 

10. Rompe La Piñata – Dale, Dale, Dale

 

You could also include traditional songs that are sung for the piñata part of a birthday party.

 

 

 

And just for fun– a bonus video poking fun and how long it take to sing all the songs in most countries! Maybe not for class, but a funny watch:

 

 

Do you know of any good Happy Birthday songs in Spanish that I missed? Let me know in the comments!

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Happy Birthday Songs in Spanish

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The Ultimate List of YA Spanish Books for Teens and Pre-Teens

The Ultimate List of YA Spanish Books for Teens and Pre-Teens

Inside: Authentic YA Spanish books for teens and pre-teens.

 

Some of my most formative companions as a pre-teen were books. I read them over breakfast, after school, and returned to my favorites over and over. They formed such a deep part of my imagination that anyone who loved the same books felt like an instant friend. 

As I raise my bilingual kids, I’m very aware of the books they’re surrounded by. We’ve gathered a good collection of Spanish children’s books, but I’ve just started reading chapter books with my 5-year-old. So I’m diving into the world of Spanish chapter books!

At the end of this post, I’ll include links to classics translated into Spanish like Harry Potter and Magic Treehouse. However, if you’re like me, the most exciting finds for me are really the authentic books, first written in Spanish. I want my kids to develop their literacy in Spanish, obviously, but on a deeper level I want them to grow up with bicultural book-companions. 

When I sat down to write this, I thought authentic YA Spanish books  would be very hard to come by. Thankfully, my readers saved the day by offering all sorts of titles that were new to me. If you have a chapter book in Spanish you love that’s not on the list, make sure to let me know in the comments below!

Please note that this post was written with bilingual readers in mind, or students with high intermediate-advanced skills. If you are looking for learner novels for novice-intermediate skills, I have a post on Spanish books for beginners too. 

 

YA Spanish Books

 

I’ve done my best to categorize and describe the books below. Some I’ve read personally, and some were recommendations from other teachers and parents. Any age recommendations are based on information from Amazon. 

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

 

YA Spanish books for teens

Immigration-Themed

 

Cajas de Cartón: Relatos de la Vida Peregrina de un Nino Campesino by Francisco Jiménez
(Ages 10-12+)

Told in short autobiographical vignettes through the eyes of a 12-year-old, Cajas de Cartón relates the story of a Mexican immigrant family working in California in 1947. Though they experience many setbacks, their determination and hope shines through.

Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
(Ages 8-12+)

Esperanza has a good life in Mexico, with everything most girls would want. But one day, her world is turned upside and she ends up escaping with her mother to California, who is forced to labor as a field worker. In spite of everything, she discovers her own strength and happiness.  

Devolver al Remitente by Julia Alvarez
(Ages 10-12+)

Tyler lives in Vermont and meets a Mexican girl, Mari, when his family hires a group of migrant workers after an accident. As everyone fights to save the farm, Tyler wrestles with his own questions about immigrants and the law, while Mari finds her way between her Mexican identity and new life in the U.S.

Yo, Naomi Leon by Pam Muñoz Ryan
(Ages 9-12+)

Naomi’s quiet life her grandmother and little brother is uprooted when her mother reappears after seven years. As Naomi discovers her family’s past (and why her mother left), the grandmother decides they must leave California for Mexico. (Not recommended for 10 and under.)


Trilogies / Series

 

La Ciudad de las Bestias
El Reino del Dragon de Oro
El Bosque de los Pigmeos (Memorias del Águila y del Jaguar 3) 
(Ages 10+)

La Ciudad de las Bestias is the most well-known book from this trilogy by Isabel Allende, also available as a set. The series delves into the world of magical realism, set amidst the South American rainforest. 15-year-old Alexander Cold leaves behind his life in the U.S., to accompany his eccentric grandmother on an expedition to the Amazon that will change his life forever. Along the way they are joined by Nadia Santos, another teen whose path becomes linked to theirs, as they make their way into uncharted territory.

Memorias De Idhún by Laura Gallego García
(Ages 12-18)

A fantasy trilogy that follows three teenagers born on earth, but join a resistance movement connected to another world: Idhún.

Marina and the Prince of Mist Trilogy by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
(Ages 12-18)

15-year-old Oscar disappears from school, after meeting Marina and making the fateful decision to follow a mysterious old woman in a cemetery. A gothic-horror adventure trilogy set in Spain.

Hacia el fin del mundo by José Ignacio Valenzuela

When her friends Patricia mysteriously disappears, Ángela must put her Anthropology studies in action to find her– by delving into the secrets of the “Leyenda del Malamor,” in which an entire village was bewitched and never again felt love. 

Manolito Gafotas by Elvira Lindo
(Ages 9-12+)

A classic from Spain, Manolito Gafotas stars the adventures of a 10-year-old boy and his friends (and arch-enemies) in a working class neighborhood. 

The Tía Lola Series by Julia Alvarez
(Ages 8-12+)

This heartwarming series from Dominican writer Julia Alvarez tells the stories of Tía Lola, who arrives from the Dominican Republic to visit her relatives in Vermont. She brings music, food, dance, and a bit of magic to the family, and eventually the whole town.

Los Futbolísimos by Roberto Santiago
(Ages 10-12+)

A light mystery series centered on a group of young soccer players, who solve mysteries and learn about friendship, teamwork, and sportsmaship along the way. 

El caso de la pluma perdida by René Saldaña Jr.
(Ages 9-12+)

Mickey is a kid detective, certified by an online he took two years before. The witty and smart star helps his friends and classmates find out the truth in this mystery series.


El Barco de Vapor

This is a series from Spain, with readers that range for ages 6 to 10+ and cover a variety of topics and genres. I’ll include a few examples in the Amazon link below for 10 and up, but if you end up browsing around, the books are color-coded for the different levels:

Seria Blanca (6 and up)
Seria Azul (7 and up)
Serie Naranja (8 and up)
Serie Roja (10 and up)


Modern Classics

 

El Polizon Del Ulises by Ana María Matute

One day, three sisters find an orphaned baby on their doorstep. While they devote themselves to bringing Jujú, as he comes to be called, he creates his own world of books and imagination.

El principito by Antoine de Saint-Esbury

Although this one was originally written in French, the Spanish version is a long-time classic for Spanish speakers as well, as one of the best-selling children’s books. Accompanied by watercolor illustrations from the author himself it tells the story of a French pilot who crashes in the Sahara desert and meets a prince from another planet. 

Cocorí by Joaquín Gutierrez

Cocorí is perhaps the most famous Costa Rican book for children. It tells the story of a young black boy, Cocorí who meets a white girl and receives a rose from her. She asks for a spider monkey in return. This interaction sets off the rest of the story, with some lovely life lessons and culture too. The book has had some controversy, though it continues to be read widely in Spanish-speaking schools. 

La Casa en Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

An acclaimed coming-of-age novel about a young Latina teen wanting to escape her impoverished Chicago neighborhood, told through vignettes. This is a powerful work that deals with deep themes like sexual trauma, and recommended for older teens. 


More Titles

 

La casa imaginaria by Pilar Mateos
(Ages 7-10+)

In Claudia’s house, the rules aren’t normal: there’s no bedtime, for example. But when she and her friend find the keys to a secret door, everything changes.

Me llamo María Isabel by Alma Flor Ada
(Ages 7-10+)

María Isabel is a new student at school, where the teacher insists on calling her Mary because there’s already another María in class. María must make her teacher understand that her real name is important to her because she is named after her Puerto Rican grandmother. 

Aventuras de Picofino (El Duende Verde) by Concha López Narváez
(Ages 7-10+)

An endearing story about a rooster who runs away from his farm to avoid being dinner, and embarks on a series of adventures.

Cartas del cielo by Lydia Gil
(Ages 8-12+)

While Celeste is still grieving over the recent loss of her grandmother, mysterious letters begin to arrive in the mail– from her grandmother! As Celeste deals with her changed life after her grandma’s death, the letters guide her into a celebration of Cuban food and traditions. 


Copo de algodón by María García Esperon
(Ages 9-12+)

Copo de Algodón is the princess of Tacuba in ancient Mexico, and the story of her people during the arrival of Hernán Cortes is told through her eyes in this historical novel.

Antes de ser libres by Julia Alvarez
(Ages 12+)

Anita is a 12-year-old living in the Dominican Republic, during the dictatorship of Trujillo. When her uncle disappears and the secret government police begin to hound her family, Anita must find her strength and freedom. 

Diez cuentos y pico del abuelo Perico by Juan Muoz Martin
(Ages 7-9+)

One of many titles by Juan Munoz (this one is book 9 in a series), for beginning readers of chapter books.

Con cariño, Amalia by Alma Flor Ada
(Ages 8-12+)

Amalia finds comfort in her grandmother’s stories and time together after her best friends moves far away. When she suffers another loss, she must find strength she didn’t know she had, to go on.


El Puma de la noche 


Chapter Books Translated into Spanish

 

Below you can find lots of ideas for popular books in English that are available in Spanish. These are so well-known that I won’t include a little synopsis of each one; you can just grab the titles from the covers!

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YA Spanish books and chapter books in Spanish:

Welcome

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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