The Best Spanish Books for Kids (3-12)
Teaching Spanish to Children in an Easy Way
Children absorb all the sounds and languages they encounter and their brains take statistics on the frequency of different sounds they hear.
In order to encode a foreign language in their brain, they need to get high quality and quantity language exposure in their childhood.
The familiarization with the foreign language in the early years brings global benefits for the future learning.
Books and storytelling are one of the cornerstones of early teaching.
Reading to children helps them to become aware of rhythm and intonation features. It is true that children explore the world through senses and movement, but it is down to the sound to lay the foundation for the language. The sound needs to be directed to children in a specific manner – through repetition, rhythm, rhyme, counting and naming.
Spanish books for kids are a perfect tool for early language immersion as they contribute to the richness of the developing language, influence creativity and cognitive processes.
It is a fun, entertaining and stress-releasing method. All you need to know is how to engage your child to listen and what sources to choose.
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What to Do if I Don't Speak Spanish?
Don’t worry if you don’t speak Spanish at all or if you don’t feel confident enough to read to your child in Spanish. There is a solution to it as well! Many books and stories for children contain audio files you can play to your child. Remember however that if you play the audio, the same tipps from above apply. That is: try to make it a multisensory and engaging experience.
Stop the audio to ask questions, show your emotions by using facial expressions, use props and toys. You are a role model your child looks up to and thanks to your engagement your child builds positive associations with the foreign language from the start.
How to Engage Your Child with Books and Storytelling?
Children learn foreign languages through language exposure. Is it true? Yes, it is. But there is something more to add to it. We need good quality and quantity input that is presented in a learning inductive manner.
When reading to your child, you need to take into account a few things:
All in all, reading should be an interactive, multimodal, entertaining, contextualised activity. And with just a few adjustments, you are able to achieve it.
Remember that Spanish books are great for home practice but they shouldn’t be the only means of contact with foreign language for your child.
Make sure to provide appropriate input for your child.
By appropriate input we mean a variety of activities with high quality and quantity Spanish language exposure.
Teaching a foreign language requires consistency, repetitiveness, patience and dedication.
You can find the best way for you and your child to learn Spanish according to your child’s age, needs and resources.
Check out our classes for kids with Spanish native speakers. We make learning fun and classes are adapted to your child’s needs.
List of Spanish Books for your Kids
Bilingual Books in Spanish and English
Bilingual picture books are a great way to get acquainted with the foreign language with the reassurance of the English translation.
Most of the books contain texts both in Spanish and English side by side and some of them just throw in Spanish words and phrases into the English text. Choose the story that is most appealing for your child and learn Spanish together with him.
Here are some book recommendations.
1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar / La Oruga Muy Hambrienta
Author: Eric Carle
Group age: 2 – 5
The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a classic that has been translated into more than 25 different languages.
Kids all over the world marvel at the story about a little, hungry caterpillar.
The bilingual edition offers the text in English and Spanish on opposite pages. Depending on the day, you can go either for the English or Spanish option.
Here you can listen to the Spanish version read aloud by a native speaker.
Author: Susie Jaramillo
This bilingual book is based on a song Los pollitos dicen which is sung by children all over the Spanish-speaking world.
You can listen to the adorable song here.
Moreover, Spanish Playground prepared a colour-in booklet with activities for the songs. You can print it out and make your child really engage with the song.
This bilingual book about little chickens as well as its protagonists will become your child’s favourites in no time.
3. La Princesa and the Pea / La princesa y el guisante
Author: Susan Middleton Elya
Group age: 4 – 8
The book offers a rhyming retelling of the well known story by Hans Christian Andersen. It’s a story about a girl whose royal identity is put to test in a very peculiar way. Is she really a princess? Do you want to find out?
Your children will surely love the classical story with a Latino twist and beautiful, Peru inspired illustrations.
The text is a combination of English and Spanish. In this way, your child can learn to guess the meaning of the Spanish words from the context.
You can listen to the book here.
4. The Little Prince / El Principito
Age group: 7+
Who doesn’t love The little Prince? It’s a story that moves hearts across borders and regardless of age. It’s not only entertaining but also full of morals that are timeless.
This enchanting classical tale is one of the most translated books in the world.
Even though the book is written as a children’s book, it contains many universal truths and lessons about life that will serve all ages.
It is a story about a young prince who visits various planets and has different observations on human nature. It can be a great way for you and your child not only to learn Spanish, but also initiate conversations about topics such as friendship, loneliness, love and loss.
If you happen to have the English version already, you can just buy the Spanish version or listen to the Spanish audiobook here.
As the story has higher difficulty you can read the English version of the book with your child first and then read the Spanish version.
There is also a beautifully animated movie El Principito from 2015 that your whole family can enjoy.
Authentic Spanish Books for Kids
1. Arroz con leche: canciones y ritmos populares de América Latina
Author: Lulu Delacre
Music is one of the best ways to introduce a foreign language for your child.
It makes learning fun, stress-free and thanks to rhymes and rhythm the texts and vocabulary are easy to remember.
Make Spanish a part of your daily life with this collection of traditional Latin-American songs and rhymes.
Author: Alma Flor Ada
It is a collection of 12 classic folktales from the Spanish-speaking tradition and world.
There are not many illustrations included, therefore the tales are not appropriate for children just starting their adventure with Spanish.
Here you can listen to one of the tales from the book.
Bedtime Spanish Books for Kids
Bedtime involves all different rituals to soothe your child to sleep. The stories that your child gets to hear before falling asleep need to be chosen wisely.
These bedtime books in Spanish contain great night time stories and beautiful illustrations.
Both you and your child will enjoy this new evening ritual. We can promise you that!
Author: Michael Grejniec
It’s a sweet, dreamy story about different animals that want to find out what the moon tastes like. Elephant, a turtle, even a little mouse work together to reach the moon and see if it’s salty or sweet. Will they make it?
Here you can listen to the tale and see the animation. We do not recommend showing the animation to your child before going to sleep but you can watch it with him again on the next day.
Author: Margarita Del Mazo
This adorable book tells a story of a firefly who wants to shine as brightly as her family but it is too small. Then, one night, the moment finally comes.
It is a book about the importance of shining with your own light, about the things that make us unique.
We have no doubt that you will love it as much as your child. There is also an English version available.
Author: Yuyi Morales
Award-winning author and illustrator Yuyi Morales created a story about Mother Sky and her little daughter Nochecita (little Night).
Mother Skye convinces her daughter to come out and make the sky dark so that everyone can sleep. The book has beautiful illustrations in rich purples, blues and reds. You will be hooked from the first page!
Spanish Poems for Kids
Poems are a great way to get immersed in a foreign language in an exciting way.
Through poetry you can really appreciate the beauty of the foreign language, understand better its structure and get to discover its whimsical features.
Poems often contain rhymes and have a distinctive rhythm that helps to absorb the intonation and melody of the language as well as to memorize the vocabulary. Children love to recite short poems and stories with funny rhymes and hear them all over again.
Author: Jorge Luján
The book is a celebration of colours. In each short poem the author focuses on one colour and explores its presence in the surroundings. It’s a beautiful collection with interesting illustrations.
Author: Alma Flor Ada
Alma Flor Ada is a devoted advocate for bilingual education in the United States. Her anthology of poems is fun, engaging and educational.
Poems are divided into different subjects. There are categories like “mi cuerpo y yo”, “en la escuela”, “con los que más quiero” and many others.
It is a great tool to combine language practice with imaginative play.
Author: José Luis Ferris
This selection of poems includes both classic and contemporary poets from Spain and Latin America.
Some of them might be a bit demanding for young children to read but it is a great way to introduce poetry in your child’s life.
Check out as well this list of short poems and rhymes that you can learn together with your child and recite at different times of the day.
Just make them a natural part of your daily life and repeat them together with your child. They are perfect for getting used to the melody of the language, practising vocabulary and creating habits.
Spanish Books for Kids Online for FREE
There are many free resources and platforms that offer free Spanish books and stories for children. They contain graphics, some of them include music and audio as well. Many websites contain advanced filter options and you can search for a book adapted to your child’s age and interests. Many of them are easily printable as well.
Remember that online stories cannot completely replace physical books. Especially in the evening children shouldn’t watch too much electronic media. Having a physical copy allows your children gaze-following and makes them focus more on the story and illustrations. Therefore, try to achieve a good balance between physical books and online stories.
Maguaré is sponsored by the Colombian Ministry of Culture.
It is a treasure containing picture books and poems. Some of them include audio as well. Take a look and find a story that your child will love.
There are various Youtube channels that offer books read aloud in Spanish.
Often one can encounter books read aloud by native speakers and see the illustrations or an animation.
Read Tia Carla is one of the channels that offers a playlist with books in Spanish.
Digital Library for Children is a great platform that offers titles for different age groups and has a lot of search options.
The books often contain versions in many languages so you can read them both in Spanish and in English.
Let us know which books are the best for you and your child. Did we miss on any of your favourites? We would be thrilled to know.
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