Which books in Spanish for kids are best?
Whether you’re looking to introduce a second language to a child, or you’re buying books for a Spanish-speaking loved one, the selection of books in Spanish for kids has increased exponentially in the last few years. It’s grown to include picture books, early readers and chapter books for all skill levels and language ability. If you’re looking for a heart-warming, visually stunning kids’ book in Spanish, “Hija” by Ariel Andrés Almada and illustrated by Sonja Wimmer, is a great choice.
What to know before you buy books in Spanish for kids
The intended reader’s main language
There are many benefits to a native Spanish speaker to read and be read to in their first language: feelings of inclusion, seeing themselves and their culture in books and increased comprehension. Reading in other languages to predominantly English-speaking kids offers a different set of benefits: a broadening of horizons, early exposure to multiculturalism and language immersion. The approach to introducing books in Spanish will differ depending on the reader’s first language, so learn about it before making your purchases.
The cultural identity of the writer
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with buying books in Spanish that are translations of beloved classics in English, there’s a missed opportunity in not seeking out at least some books by native Spanish speakers. A book in Spanish is not just a translation of a story in English. They weave in cultural context, experience, foods and traditions that add to the immersion experience, both for the native Spanish speaker and the English speaker reading for Spanish immersion. A book in Spanish by a Spanish speaker offers more than just translated work.
The child’s reading and comprehension level
A child already mastering chapter books may not be engaged by even the best picture book, and a child who doesn’t read yet may lose focus and interest with a book that’s too lengthy or doesn’t have enough visual cues for early learners. While age is often a good rule of thumb when buying books for kids, knowing their reading and comprehension level is a more thorough way of making sure you’ll buy books they’ll love.
What to look for in quality books in Spanish for kids
Joyful celebration of Spanish culture and family
Because kids construct their view of the world in great part through the media they’re exposed to, choosing books that emphasize joy, fun and togetherness is a great way to instill a sense of the value in Spanish and Latin culture and the richness of the language and traditions.
A fun story
Of course it’s important to teach kids, but they learn best when engaged in a fun, rollicking story that keeps them coming back again and again.
A beautiful book
Whether you’re buying a picture book with great illustrations or a chapter book with interesting chapter headers, kids are visual and remember small details. Take an extra moment to make sure the book you’re buying doesn’t just contain a great story, but is also in a format that kids will find interesting and engaging.
How much you can expect to spend on books in Spanish for kids
The average kids’ book in Spanish costs about what its counterpart in English does, from $10-$20, usually. Hardcovers and picture books tend to cost more and paperbacks are less.
Books in Spanish for kids FAQ
How can I know if the author or illustrator of a book I’m considering are native Spanish speakers?
A. Most bookselling websites contain a section with an author and illustrator bio. Native speakers, particularly for kids’ books in Spanish, will usually include that information in their bio.
Is a bilingual book better, or one only in Spanish?
A. The answer depends on the Spanish proficiency of the child. A native Spanish speaker, or one whose first language is Spanish, will enjoy and engage with a kids’ book entirely in Spanish. An English-speaking child for whom you’re trying to provide a Spanish immersion experience will likely benefit from hearing the story in both languages, so a bilingual book is preferred for them.
What are the best books in Spanish for kids to buy?
Top book in Spanish for kids
“Hija” by Ariel Andrés Almada and illustrated by Sonja Wimmer
What you need to know: This winner at the 2020 Independent Publisher Book Awards is a heartfelt, touching story perfect for new parents, kids just learning Spanish and native speakers. It offers an authentic, lyrical story.
What you’ll love: The sweet story (which translates to “Daughter” in English) is gorgeously illustrated. It’s one of those stories that both parents and kids will love to read again and again.
What you should consider: This book is only in Spanish, so non-native speakers may need some translation to engage with it.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top book in Spanish for money
“¡Pío Peep! Traditional Spanish Nursery Rhymes”: Bilingual in Spanish-English
What you need to know: These aren’t translations of English nursery rhymes, but authentically Spanish and Latin American favorites illustrated meaningfully and simply.
What you’ll love: Touching on themes like making tortillas, playing dress up and the evergreen childhood concern about bedtime, this collection will tickle kids familiar with these rhymes and engage those hearing them for the first time.
What you should consider: With only 29 nursery rhymes included, you may find yourself wishing this book was longer.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
“Última Parada de la Calle Market”
What you need to know: Winner of the Newbery Medal, touching and insightful, this book is an instant classic.
What you’ll love: This book, whose title means “Last Stop on Market Street,” is translated from English, but was written by a Mexican American author and looks into the life of a Latin American child with tenderness and heart.
What you should consider: This edition is only in Spanish, so it’s best for kids proficient in the language.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Maria Andreu writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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