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). 

Hear me: 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

Peru Books for Kids: A Collection of Favorite Titles

Peru Books for Kids: A Collection of Favorite Titles

Inside: Peru books for kids: a collection of favorite titles. 

 

Peru is a magical place: full of history and culture and that stretches across the centuries. Here I’ve collected our favorite titles for introducing the country to children.

Right now, most books are very sierra-heavy: focused on the Andes and traditional culture. We live in the jungle, and there aren’t many books about the jungle, the coast, or more modern-day life. If you know of more to add, please let me know!

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

 

Peru Books for Kids

 

 

 

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

 

Fictional Peru Books 

 

Maria Had a Little Llama 

An adorable bilingual re-telling of Mary Had a Little Lamb, set in the Peruvian Andes– with a few extra details. 
(PreK- 3rd grade)

 

Up and Down the Andes

Meet children who are traveling to the Inti Raymi festival (festival of the Sun God or the Incan New Year) in Cusco, through lyrical rhymes. This is a beautiful, folk-art introduction to the country and customs of Peru, with the Andes as the backdrop.
(Grades K-3)

 


The Llama’s Secret – A Peruvian Legend 

Available in Spanish and English, this folktale re-tells the story of the Great Flood. In this Andean version, a llama saves the people and animals by warning them to gather on a mountain. I love that authentic culture and words in Quechua are incorporate in this rich tale.
(Grades 2-4)

 


En Alas del Condor (Puertas al Sol)

Alma Flor Ada is one of my favorite authors, and this book is an overview of the native people of Latin America. Although it’s not only focused on Peru, the condor is the national Peruvian bird and a significant cultural reference. 

 

Love and Roast Chicken: A Trickster Tale from the Andes Mountains

A Cuy (guinea pig) must outwit a hungry Fox in this light-hearted story set in the Andes. Beautiful wood-block illustrations and Quechua phrases add to the authenticity of the story.
(Grades K-3)

 


The Littlest Llama

Another llama tale, this is a sweet story about a young llama looking for friends who will play with him. Along the way, we meet typical Andean animals and beautiful scenes of Peru.
(PreK – 2nd grade)

 


Molly and the Magic Suitcase: Molly Goes to Peru

Part of a global “Molly goes to…” series, here we get an introduction to Peru through the eyes of two children, Molly and Michael. They visit Machu Picchu and other famous sites, and learn about traditional dances, clothing, and food.

 


Patterns in Peru: An Adventure in Patterning

Weaving together Peruvian culture and history, Patterns in Peru two children solve a mystery and learn about patterns along the way. 

 


Kusikiy a Child from Taquile, Peru

Written in the tradition of magical realism, Kusikiy tells the story of a Peruvian boy who travels to the Guardian Spirit of the Mountain to find the lost stars of the sky.
(K-4th grade)

 


The Adventures of Paloma in Peru

Learn about travel through Peru and caring for the environment with The Adventures of Paloma in Peru. (Each purchase in the U.S. buys a backpack for a child in Peru!)

Peru Books for Older Readers

 


Secret of the Andes

A Newberry Award winner, the main character here is an Incan boy in charge of caring for the llamas in the Sacred Valley. Mythology and indigenous traditions are woven throughout the story, as he learns the secrets of his ancestors.
(Grades 3-7)

 

Los Baker van a Peru

An adventure story set in Peru, this one is written in Spanish specifically for novice Spanish learners. 
(Middle – High School)

Non-Fiction Peru Books

 


Conoce Peru / Spotlight on Peru

Available in Spanish or English, this is the perfect introduction to Peru for kids, with an overview of its history, customs, geography, food, animals, and more. 
(Grades 2-3)

 

De la A a la Z Peru

A rhyming introduction to facts about Peru, letter by letter (M is for Machu Picchu!). Written in Spanish.
(Grades 1-3) 

 

If You Were Me and Lived in…Peru

An introduction to Peruvian culture and history for kids.
(PreK – 3rd)

 


Enrique’s Day: From Dawn to Dusk in a Peruvian City

A realistic look into the everyday life of a boy who lives in Ayacucho. Kids will be fascinated by the photos that show day-to-day customs and routines, at home, school, and around town in Peru. 
(Grades 1-4)

 

 
Doyli to the Rescue: Saving Baby Monkeys in the Amazon

An inspiring true story about a 10-year-old girl who lives on the Amazon river in Peru and rescues baby monkeys. Real-life photos give a fascinating look into nature and life in the jungle.
(Grades 2-4)

 


The Rainforest Grew All Around

Though not about Peru specifically, most of the books about Peru center on the Andes mountains and culture. Don’t forget that a huge portion of Peru is part of the Amazon rainforest! The Rainforest Grew All Around is a delightful introduction to the Amazon and its animal and plant inhabitants. Beautiful!
(Grades K-3)

Books about the Incas

 


The Everyday Life of the Ancient Incas

This gorgeous book (features over “500 color paintings, drawings, and photographs) is a wonderful introduction to Inca life on the everyday level.
(Grade 5 and up- I think) 

 

Lost City: The Discovery of Machu Picchu

A wonderful book that tells the story of the “discovery” of Machu Picchu by Hiram Bingham. Gorgeous watercolor illustrations and storytelling.
(Grades 2-7)

 


The Inca Empire (True Books: Ancient Civilizations)

A basic introduction to the Inca Empire, with photos.
(Grades 2-4)

 


Ancient Inca Daily Life

Another look into daily life among the Incas, for slightly younger readers.
(Grades 3-8)

 


The Ancient Inca 

An in-depth look at the history of the Ancient Inca civilization. Packed with information, art, graphs, and photos.
(Grades 5-9)

 


Machu Picchu: The story of the amazing Inkas and their city in the clouds

A high-quality introduction to the Incas, both in text and illustrations. Be aware that some graphic scenes are included (human sacrifices). (Grades 5-8)

 


Beyond the Stones of Machu Picchu: Folk Tales and Stories of Inca Life

Discover folk tales from the Andes, in this lovely collection. Rich paintings and stories uncover the deep culture and traditions of the Andean natives. 

 

Do you have favorites Peru books for kids that I missed? Let me know in the comments below!

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Peru Books for Kids

 

 

Spanish Bug Books for Toddlers and Kids

Spanish Bug Books for Toddlers and Kids

Inside: Spanish bug books for kids. 

 

My kids are really into bugs. Sometimes I’ll find them turning over rocks in the yard to see what treasures they’ll find underneath. I’ve had to study up to learn a lot of the names myself! Today I’ve collected my favorite books about bugs in Spanish, to read as a family. (Looking for more books? See my posts on 50 Bilingual Books in Spanish and English, and 50 Authentic Picture Books in Spanish.)

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

 

Spanish Bug Books for Kids

 

Insectos! (Dk Readers En Espanol. Level 2)

Here’s a general guide and easy reader for bugs in Spanish. I like the DK readers for non-fiction, and this one will be helpful if you have a curious child or a learning the names together. 

 

 

 

..Sabes algo sobre insectos?/ Do You Know about Insects? 

This is another general guide, with good realistic photos and facts about insects in Spanish. 

 

 

 

La araña muy ocupada (Spanish Edition)

My kids really enjoy this book, which is a delightful introduction to how spiders spin webs. The spider and her web are raised, and little hands love to feel the growing web. 

 

 

 

La abeja de más (Spanish Edition)

A funny fictional story about a colony of bees who discover an unknown bee has entered their hive. This is a fun look into the inner workings of a hive, the queen bee, and worker bees. 

 

 

La vida de la abeja (¡Mira cómo crece!) (Spanish Edition)

Here’s a close-up look in the entire lifespan of a bee, from egg to adult. 

 

 

 

La oruga muy hambrienta/The Very Hungry Caterpillar: bilingual board book (Spanish Edition)

This is one of our very favorites, and a gentle introduction into the lifecycle of a caterpillar and butterfly. It’s hard to get better than Eric Carle! 

 

National Geographic Readers: De la Oruga a la Mariposa (Caterpillar toButterfly) 

Here’s a non-fiction look into the lifecycle of a butterfly, witch good photos and explanations. As a non-native Spanish speaker, it’s so helpful to have the technical terms for me to learn!

 

 

 

 

La Mariposa

Butterflies are just the backstory to this touching book about a boy who doesn’t speak English in his new school, but it’s a beautiful story with beautiful pictures. 

 

 

La Mariquita Malhumorada (Spanish Edition)

Another Eric Carle treasure that’s been translated into Spanish, this one follows a grouchy ladybug who meets lots of other insects and finally learns some manners. It’s also a good peek into a ladybug’s life.

 

 

 

 

La luz de Lucía (Spanish Edition)

This story is about a little firefly who learns to accept her own uniqueness and shine her light. 

 

 

 

 

Non-fiction Guides to Specific Insects in Spanish

 

If you are looking for specific guides or want to have a collection about different insects, you may want to check out these titles!

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re looking for more activities to do with bugs in Spanish, I have a bilingual game pack, with picture cards to play Memory, Go Fish, Bingo, and a mini-book. Check it out for some extra bug fun!

 

The Best Spanish Board Books for Babies & Toddlers

The Best Spanish Board Books for Babies & Toddlers

Inside: Spanish board books (or bilingual books) for babies and toddlers. 

 

The earlier you start introducing language, the better. Studies show, in fact, that babies recognize language sounds from the womb

By far, my favorite baby shower and birthday gifts have been books in Spanish, or bilingual books. And board books will last for years, through little brothers or sisters too! I still have some of my own books from my childhood: think of how this will encourage your kids to pass on Spanish to their kids, one day!

I love having bilingual books when they’re available. I will warn you, though, that our kids get attached to the stories we read over and over. When they’ve memorized it in a certain language, they sometimes insist on that one!

(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!

 

Spanish Board Books for Babies and Toddlers

 

Here are sturdy little board books that will last curious fingers and maybe even some chewing (right??). Fill those little mind with beautiful language, from day one.

 

Diez deditos de las manos y Diez deditos de los pies

This one is just too sweet, from the illustrations to the text. Rhyming words introduce babies from all over the world, through a fingerplay of counting baby’s fingers and toes. 

 

 

Little Chickies / Los Pollitos: A bilingual lift-the-flap book 

Los pollitos is part of a series from Canticos introducing well-known rhymes in Spanish. I love Los pollitos, and you can find other rhymes like Un elefante se balanceaba. So cute!

 

 

La oruga muy hambrienta/The Very Hungry Caterpillar: bilingual board book

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is such a classic, you can’t go wrong with this one as a baby shower gift! Every Spanglish home needs this treasure.

 

Global Babies/Bebes del mundo

I love the text of this book, and I love the global images of babies from all over the world. My kids always enjoy seeing the real pictures of babies. 

 

 

 

Zapata: Colors / Colores

Lil’ libros is a great company that has been busy writing bilingual board books packed with Latino culture. This one is a sweet introduction of the colors, but be sure to check out their whole series!

 

 

Oso pardo, oso pardo, ¿qué ves ahí?

I am so glad these classics are available in Spanish! Learn both animals and colors with these anticipatory rhymes. 

 

 

 

Sweet Dreams/Dulces Suenos (My Family/ Mi Familia)

This is a wonderful little bedtime book, and perfect for Spanglish families who are trying to do Spanish bedtime routines. 

 

 

 

      

Buenas Noches, Bebe! / Good Night, Baby!, Buenos Dias, Bebe!

These soft board books were helpful to me as a new mom trying to speak Spanish with my kids. The books take you through morning and night routines, with some phrases I hadn’t been sure how to express. 

 

 

 

Cinco monitos brincando en la cama/Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed (A Five Little Monkeys Story)

We love all the Monitos books and their antics. My kids ask for these quite often, still!

 

 

El camioncito Azul (Little Blue Truck, Spanish Edition)

There are several titles available about El camioncito azul, with good stories and beautiful illustrations. 

 

 

 

Buenas noches, Gorila

This is a fun book that makes little ones laugh over naughty Gorila. The text is scant, so it may be best for native speakers and not parents trying to learn (or remember!) Spanish along with their kids. 

 

 

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes/Cabeza, Hombros, Piernas, Pies 

I love, love fingerplays and movement songs. This is one babies will be sure to love too!

 

 

 

 

Besos for Baby: A Little Book of Kisses

This book is bilingual in the sense that it switches between languages. Very sweet!

 

 

 

 

Ve, Perro. Ve!: Go, Dog. Go! (Bright & Early Board Books

Another classic available in Spanish as a board book!

 

 

 

What Spanish board books do you love? Let me know in the comments?

 

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Spanish board books for babies and toddlers

Thanksgiving in Spanish: Your Mega-Collection of Classroom Ideas

Thanksgiving in Spanish: Your Mega-Collection of Classroom Ideas

Inside: A round-up of classroom ideas for Thanksgiving in Spanish.

Are you wondering how to handle the week of Thanksgiving in Spanish class? If half of the students are gone anyway, should we hand out a bunch of worksheets and call it a week? I’m not one to judge: I know it’s what an exhausting time of year it is.

Thanks to embracing comprehensible input, I no longer view holidays as isolated themes– time to teach some random vocabulary that won’t come up again until the next year. Nope! As long as we make in comprehensible, any theme can work for any student. That said, I do think it’s okay to accept that a few days of the year won’t be as content-packed as the others. If you’re going to do something like a craft, holidays are a good time to do them.

But let’s not re-invent the wheel. I’ve gathered some awesome resources to make the most of the week, with a little bit of everything, for everyone.

Here are some ideas for a typical Thanksgiving week:

Monday: Story, MovieTalk, and/or discussion. Pick one of the videos and infographics below, and plan your classes around it– even if you have different levels! Just adjust your own language to each group.

Tuesday: Craft day or hands-on day, if you’re planning to do one. From Monday, you probably used terms like turkey, so you can bring them around again today. Pick songs to play in the background; talk about one if it’s helpful. With younger classes, a mini-book might work well.

Wednesday: Game day. Go easy on yourself this day; it’s probably a weird half-day. Celebrities, Mafia, or Categorías are all perfect for crazy schedules and ancy students! If you have younger ones, Ponle el sombrero en el pavo or Pavo, pavito might be fun.

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

 

Spanish Thanksgiving Activities

 

Easy & Fun Ideas

 

 

  • Ask or tell a funny Thanksgiving story: a turkey who tries to avoid ending up one the dinner table, a family member who tries to enact a vegan Thanksgiving, or mishaps on the way to spend the holiday at the cousins’ house.

 

  • Choose a song and just focus on a few keywords (like gracias!). Do a really easy listening activity like Draw, Listen, Check

 

  • Lots of teachers do the traditional turkey or leaf crafts. This of course is easy to adapt to the Spanish classroom: students write things they’re thankful for, in Spanish, on the leaves or feathers.
  • If you can, take it up a notch to make it more input-based: generate some options and talk about them. Brainstorm things that students are thankful for, boil them down to common themes among the students, and categorize in “necessities” and “luxuries.” Make it Comprehensible has a great explanation for how to set up and guide this sort of discussion so the students are getting lots of input.

 

  • Retell the original Thanksgiving story. Use a picture book, draw as you go (a la Story Listening), or use a video from below as your visual.

 

 

 

#authres

There are lots of infographics, songs, and video clips you can throw in during Thanksgiving week. These are fun to to prompt discussion and give the students a chance to see what they can understand from an authentic resource.

 

Credit: Speaking Latino

 

Credit: Infografias en Castellano

 

Credit: http://trocitosgraficos.tumblr.com/image/36286671704

 

Visit my Thanksgiving in Spanish page on Pinterest to find lots more Thanksgiving in Spanish realia!

 

Songs

I have a whole post just on Thanksgiving songs for kids, if you’re teaching a younger crowd. This first song is nice because it uses the “Doy gracias por…” refrain that is part of many of the mini-books and crafts teachers like to do.

Día de acción de Gracias

 

If you’re looking for older kids, I love Mercedes Sosa and Gracias a la vida is a classic. Gracias has good repetitions of “gracias por…”, and Fonseca’s positive song Gratitud fits in perfectly if you’re doing a grateful-for theme. Or try this great Latino Thanksgiving playlist.

Gracias a la vida by Mercedes Sosa

 

Gracias – Silvestre Dangond & Juancho de La Espriella

 

Gratitud Fonseca

 

For Kids

Doy Gracias Mini-Pack (If you would like to purchase ready-to-go materials, I recommend this one from Mundo de Pepit! $3)

Free Spanish Doy Gracias Mini-Book

Free Bingo & Memory Games from Spanglish Baby

Free Doy Gracias Activities from Mrs. G Dual Language

Color-by-Number Turkey from Mix Minder

Five Crafts for Kids from Spanish Playground

Older Students

Spanish Turkey Glyphs (If you want to save time and purchase an activity, I recommend these glyphs from Sol.Azucar, available for a variety of proficiency levels. Students get to relax and color, plus lots of comprehensible input! $3)

A whole month of free Thanksgiving projects from La Profesora Frida

5 Ideas for Thanksgiving in Class from Sol.Azucar. I like the “Que linda manito” idea, especially!

Info in Spanish from Illinois University 

Free Activity Sheet to go with a reading of the Celebra día de acción de gracias con Beto y Gaby from Santilla

 

MovieTalks

These would make great MovieTalks for a Thanksgiving in Spanish day. You narrate the stories in language the students understand, discuss, possibly type up a reading, and voila– you have a high-interest, language-packed activity. 

 

 

Salt, sugar, cooking terms

 

Re-tell the Story

 

Retell the original Thanksgiving story, perhaps choosing a character from the perspective of the Native Americans, and one from the perspective of the Pilgrims. You could use this video for visuals (definitely address that it’s a simplified version– it glosses over the complicated story of colonization and it’s impact on native people in the Americas). If you like, contrast it with the version below.

 

 

#authres Movies

 

How Latino immigrants are adopting the holiday of Día de acción de gracias:

 

La historia de Thanksgiving en español (very much from the perspective of the Pilgrims, but fairly comprehensible with subtitles):

 

Report on Free Birds in Spanish:

 

La historia de Thanksgiving, en español:

 

 

 

Thanksgiving in Spanish 

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Thanksgiving in Spanish Activities

50 of the Best Authentic Spanish Books for Kids

50 of the Best Authentic Spanish Books for Kids

Inside: Authentic Spanish books for kids.

While I love our stash of picture books in Spanish and English, I really like finding original Spanish titles. And authentic Spanish books for kids are not always easy to get! It’s taken some digging, but I’ve found quite a few treasures here. As a non-native Spanish speaker, I love knowing these books will expose my kids to that authentic voice and culture I can’t always provide.

Although some books listed here are bilingual, I looked for ones that were written in Spanish first, by a native author. Normally I like to include a little blurb about each title, but we’re still working our way through the list. I didn’t want to wait to share all of these with you!

You’ll notice this list is very Alma Flor Ada-heavy as well. Honestly, I just love her books, and there were many more I could have included. Let me know in the comments what you would add to your list!

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 Spanish Books for Kids

Poetry/Music

 

¡Pío Peep!: Traditional Spanish Nursery Rhymes (Spanish Edition)

De Colores and Other Latin American Folksongs for Children (Anthology) (Spanish Edition)

Arrorro, Mi Nino

Little Chickies / Los Pollitos (Canticos)

Little Elephants / Elefantitos (Canticos)

Muu, Moo!: Rimas de animales/Animal Nursery Rhymes (Spanish Edition)

Todo es canción: Antología poética (Spanish Edition)

Arroz con leche: canciones y ritmos populares de América Latina Popular Songs and Rhymes From Latin America (English and Spanish Edition)

Pimpon (Coleccion Puertas al Sol)

 

 

 

 

Mama Goose: A Latino Nursery Treasury (English and Spanish Edition)

 

Alphabet Books

 

Abecedario De Los Animales (Spanish Edition)

Mi primer abecedario (Abececuentos) (Spanish Edition)

Olinguito, de La A a la Z!/Olinguito, from A to Z!

El Abecedario De Don Hilario

Gathering the Sun: An Alphabet In Spanish And English (Spanish Edition)

¡Todos a Comer! A Mexican Food Alphabet Book (Bilingual English and Spanish Edition)

 

Authentic Spanish Fiction

 

Una extraña visita (Libros Para Contar / Stories for the Telling) (Spanish Edition)

El Canto Del Mosquito / Song of the Teeny-tiny Mosquito (Libros Para Contar (Little Books)) (Spanish Edition

Viva la tortuga! (Long Live the Turtle) (Spanish Edition)

El papalote / The Kite (Spanish Edition) (Cuentos Para Todo el Ano / Stories The Year Round)

Juan Bobo Goes to Work (Spanish edition): Juan Bobo busca trabajo

Instrucciones para que el hipopotamo duerma solo (Spanish Edition)

Me gustaria tener… (Libros Para Contar / Stories for the Telling) (Spanish Edition

La jaula dorada / The Golden Cage (Spanish Edition) (Cuentos Para Todo el Ao / Stories The Year Round)

El mejor es mi papa (Serie Amarilla) (Spanish Edition)

El Flamboyán Amarillo (Spanish Edition)

Folktales, Classics, & Legends

 

The Lizard and the Sun / La Lagartija y el Sol (Picture Yearling Book) (Spanish Edition)

Cuentos que contaban nuestras abuelas (Tales Our Abuelitas Told): Cuentos populares Hispánicos (Spanish Edition)

Bossy Gallito / El gallo de bodas: (Bilingual) (Spanish Edition)

Ratoncito Perez, Cartero (Puertas al Sol)

Los Zapaticos de Rosa

Chumba la Cachumba

De como dicen que fue hecho el mar (Spanish Edition)

De oro y esmeraldas: mitos, leyendas y cuentos popules de latinoamérica


Paco Yunque (Spanish Edition)

 

 

Authentic Books in Spanish for Kids: Culture & Geography

 

En Alas del Condor (Puertas al Sol)

Ojos del Jaguar (Puertas al Sol)

Authentic Picture Books in Spanish for kids

 

Free Downloadable Authentic Picture Books in Spanish for Kids

¡Qué montón de Tamales! (Spanish Edition)

In My Family/En mi familia

Family Pictures, 15th Anniversary Edition / Cuadros de Familia, Edición Quinceañera

What Can You Do With a Rebozo?/¿Qué puedes hacer con un rebozo? (English and Spanish Edition)

Vuelo del quetzal (Puertas Al Sol / Gateways to the Sun) (Spanish Edition)

La Isla (Spanish Edition) (Picture Puffin Books)

Abuela (Spanish Edition)

Biographies

Conoce a Pablo Neruda / Get to Know Pablo Neruda (Bilingual) (Personajes Del Mundo Hispánico / Historical Figures of the Hispanic World) (Spanish Edition)

Conoce a Gabriela Mistral / Get to Know Gabriela Mistral (Bilingual) (Personajes Del Mundo Hispanico / Characters of the Hispanic World) (Personajes … of the Hispanic World) (Spanish Edition

Don Quijote para siempre (Spanish Edition) (N/A)

ANTI PRINCESAS 1: FRIDA KAHLO PARA CHICAS Y CHICOS

Violeta Parra para chicas y chicos

Viva Frida (Morales, Yuyi)

 

Holidays & Celebrations

 

Celebra Cinco De Mayo Con Un Jarabe Tapatio / Celebrate Cinco De Mayo With the Mexican Hat Dance (Cuentos Para Celebrar) (Spanish Edition

Celebra la Navidad y el Día de los Reyes Magos con Pablo y Carlitos (Cuentos Para Celebrar / Stories To Celebrate) (Spanish Edition

Piñatas and Paper Flowers: Holidays of the Americas in English and Spanish / Piñatas y flores de papel: Fiestas de las Américas en inglés y español (Spanish and English Edition)

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

 

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Authentic Books in Spanish for Kids

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