The Ultimate Guide to the Best Authentic Spanish Books for Kids

The Ultimate Guide to the Best Authentic Spanish Books for Kids

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. 

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

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. 

 

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 Huge 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

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!

Spanish Mama Newsletter

Books in Spanish for kids

songs in Spanish

movies and shows in spanish

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. 


 

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!

Spanish Mama Newsletter

Books in Spanish for kids

songs in Spanish

movies and shows in spanish

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

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!

Spanish Mama Newsletter

Books in Spanish for kids

songs in Spanish

movies and shows in spanish

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 good-sized collection of Spanish audio books for children, with digital books you click on to turn the pages and listen to the audio. Most of the books are written in simple Spanish (though some use less-common phrases since they are written for Spanish speaker), 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 and up. 

 

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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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:

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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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Why Spanish Learner Novels Are Changing Everything

Why Spanish Learner Novels Are Changing Everything

Inside: Why learner novels are important and how to find the best Spanish books for beginners.

 

The face of teaching language is changing. We’re moving towards living language, what I call the magic stuff: things we get lost in. Like stories and books.

Today’s post is for everyone: tired teachers, insecure speakers, homeschoolers, eager high-flyers– all of you! Because everyone needs stories, and everyone teaching Spanish needs learner novels.

Students in classes that include time set aside for voluntary reading in the form of sustained silent reading do better than those in similar classes without sustained silent reading on tests of reading comprehension, vocabulary, writing, and grammar.

This is true of first- and second-language studies and holds for children, teenagers, and university students.
(Krashen, 2004; 2007; Krashen and Mason, 2017).

Language Magazine, The Conduit Hypothesis

Language Latte just put out an amazing podcast that covers the “why” and the role of reading in language classrooms. (Really- it’s excellent. Go and listen!)

This post here is sort of written to my younger self; the information that would have helped me as a new teacher and mom to bilingual kids. At the end I include where access novels and more links on teaching with them.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support! For authentic book lists and suggestions, be sure to see my Spanish children’s books page. 

 

Authentic Resources Aren’t Everything

 

With our limited time, authentic resources must be used wisely. If you hand your students a picture book, or sit on the couch to read The Hungry Caterpillar with your toddler Spanish-learner, you’ll quickly realize even children’s books are VERY advanced. 

Sometimes, it’s good to practice the skills of navigating authentic resources: picking out words you know, matching text to picture, and getting the general idea. 

But here’s the thing: to efficiently learn new vocabulary and get the grammar of a language subconsciously imprinted on your brain, you should be reading things that are comprehensible and enjoyable. 

Enter Spanish learner novels: books written for beginners.

You can re-tell La oruga muy hambrienta with comprehensible language, but that’s not your only option. You can also choose from leveled readers that only use simple language from the get-go, building up to the day that The Hungry Caterpiller is pan comido.

For Spanish learners, tuning into the local Spanish radio station sounds like noise. It’s a good thing to do, but it will take years of tuning in for your brain to turn that “noise” useful language you’ve acquired and can use. Think of how many people live in foreign countries without learning to speak– surrounded by language, but not taking it in. This is why beginners need learner materials.

Novels for Non-Native Parents & Teachers

 

Those of us who aren’t native speaker need to stay ahead of our kids. You need immediate language to use (like, the next day while putting on everyone’s shoes on or telling a story in the past tense). 

So guess what? You need a Spanish learner novel on your night stand. I love Spanish shows on Netflix and Spanish podcasts for improving fluency, but there’s something about written language that sticks with us and cements all the things we know from here and there. If your Spanish is totally fluent, go ahead and read Cien años de soledad! For others, simplified language will improve your skills more efficiently. 

If you are teaching Spanish three and need to “cover” the subjunctive, be reading a “level 3” novel. You will be filling yourself with the exact language you need to flow while chatting with your class or writing a story. 

Maybe you’re a parent trying to give your kids a bilingual boost and feel insecure about your Spanish. Read a level 1 or 2 novel, and you’ll notice that it becomes easier to speak to your kids in simple, whole sentences. 

 

Novels for Students with Non-Native Teachers

 

As a non-native teacher and mom, I know I can’t be the only source of input. Beyond songs and shows, learner novels are an excellent, excellent way to provide accurate, whole language on just the right language level. 

If you are a parent who is doing a once-a-week class or learning together at home, buy a pack of novels. Once your child has a very basic foundation, have him or her read at least 10 minutes a day. It is THE BEST way to acquire Spanish and no teacher is needed. You might feel confident to read aloud, just not coming up with things on the fly. Some novels also come with audio, and you all can listen together.

 

Novels for Stressed Teachers

 

That’s probably most of us! Learner novels are for every teacher, but they really have been game-changers for lowering my stress-level. I’m doing something wonderful for my kids, while giving my voice and brain a break. That makes me a better teacher, win-win!

Here are some ways novels will rock your teaching world:

  • Set up a free reading time as your bell-ringer.

    This is life-changing. For Spanish 1 first semester, I do bell-ringers. After that, everyone comes in and reads quietly for 10 minutes, in all my classes. It is a soothing, peaceful way to start class. I have a minute to collect myself before we jump in, and the students have that transition time of “switching to Spanish” before class starts, and can choose according to their interests. I don’t quiz, or do assignments. Some teachers are able to set up awesome, comfy classroom libraries that give an extra touch of “reading is special.”

Credit: Blair Chalker Brown

 

  • Use a novel as you dip your toes into CI.

    It’s not easy to teach in a new way. If providing lots of comprehensible input is a new thing for you, purchase a set of class novels with a teacher’s guide. If you teach with novels, you will quickly see how vital it is that your students know high-frequency words. If throwing out the textbook feels scary because you lose a clear plan, find a novel or two to study. Look at the glossary in the back, and you’ll know what you’re working towards. Build up to that glossary: week by week, add in new words, and use them in stories, chats, and songs.

 

  • Teach a class novel across several levels

    Multiple preps are stressful! Get around this with novels. Many books can be adjusted across several levels, and you can concentrate on developing a quality unit. Robo en la noche, for example, contains both present and past tense versions. Spend a month on the book, studying Costa Rica, conservation, travel, etc. and adjusting the conversations and resources slightly, for each class. Save your brain space!

 

  • Use novels for absences, special circumstances, and extra credit. 

    I always have a deer-in-the-headlights look when a student announces they are leaving to go to Disney tomorrow, and can I please give them the work they’ll miss all next week? Dude, I don’t have any of that stuff ready. Unless we’re doing something uber-specific, I hand them an appropriate novel and say, “Read this on your trip.” They can do a simple quiz or chat with me about it after. I’ve also done this with students out for extended illnesses. Novels can also be great for students wanting extra credit, adjusting a class to be an “honors class” (this sort of things happens in small schools), or for heritage speakers who need more challenge. 

 

Where to Get the Best Spanish Beginner Books

 

Some learner novels are available on Amazon. Here is a sampling!

 

 

 

More sources:

TPRS Publishing – Fluency Matters

TPRS Books

Spanish Cuentos

Information on teaching with novels:

How to Teach Spanish with Novels, 101

Novels Sorted by Level from Bryce Hedstrom

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!

Spanish Mama Newsletter

Books in Spanish for kids

songs in Spanish

movies and shows in spanish

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