10 Delightful Spanish-Language Titles for Emerging Readers

Kids will encounter bicycle-riding elephants, words-loving dragons, and a fun day at the beach in these Spanish-language books for transitional readers.




Henry, Steve. Me encanta la nieve. illus. by Steve Henry. ISBN 9780823454730.
Janovitz, Marilyn. Voy a intentar. illus. by Marilyn Janovitz. ISBN 9780823454761.
Meisel, Paul. Mira cÓmo juego. illus. by Paul Meisel. ISBN 9780823454754.
Myers, Bernice. Perro y perrito. illus. by ­Bernice Myers. ISBN 9780823455829.
ea vol: 32p. (¡Me gusta leer!). Holiday House. Jul. 2023. pap. $8.99. SP
PreS-Gr 2
–The “¡Me gusta leer!” series shares fun, interesting stories filled with friendly characters that are perfect for Spanish speakers learning to read. In Me encanta la nieve, a rabbit is enjoying the many nice qualities of snow when a branch heavy with it breaks and falls, bringing down a bird and its nest. Luckily, all is well, and the woodland friends enjoy fun in the soft, white snow. In Voy a intentar , a young girl named Elsa admires a fellow gymnast named Jan in her class who is able to twirl and jump. When Elsa tries and falls, she is discouraged, until Jan ­encourages her to keep trying. In Mira cómo juego , a pack of dogs chasing a ball goes on a wild adventure involving a hot air ­balloon, a whale, and a lion. When they lose the ball, their person finds something else to toss: a stick! In Perro y Perrito, Perro asks Perrito to be friends, and Perrito asks him what a friend is. Perro describes all the fun things friends can do together, and when it starts to snow and Perrito becomes lost, Perro shows what a friend also does: helps. Titles in this series are short and contain Spanish sentences composed of only a few words, at times utilizing repetition to help readers practice. Illustrations are bright, colorful, and inviting, with stories that provide a series of fun events or positive messages. VERDICT An excellent addition to Spanish early reader collections for children.–Selenia Paz

Medina, Juana. Elena monta en bici. illus. by Juana Medina. 64p. Candlewick. Mar. 2023. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9781536232509. SP
Gr 1-3
–Elena is a determined elephant with a faithful bird friend. She puts on her helmet, gets on her bike, and starts to ride. Unfortunately, Elena has a few falls and bumps along the way. She tries hard to ride her bike and her friend flies with her every step of the way. After one too many falls, she becomes equally determined never to ride that bike again. But her steadfast pal gives her the encouragement she needs. With a renewed confidence, and help from her friend, Elena rides up and down hills, she rides fast, she rides slow. She can ride a bike! This sweet story about doing difficult things will have children rooting for Elena to get back up again. Medina’s simple text and liberal use of white space make this a helpful work for emerging readers. The bright illustrations and strong lines will keep kids engaged, while the friendship story will ring true. VERDICT This repeated and reassuring text will remind beginning readers that no matter how many times you may fall, you can always try again.–­Melanie Ortega

Oro, Begoña. Ana, el dragón y la nube aspirador. Bk. 1. ISBN 9788448863746.
––––. El león desmelenado no se come ni un bocado. Bk. 2. ISBN 9788448863753.
ea vol: illus. by Keila Elm. 48p. (El dragón de las letras). Beascoa. Jun. 2023. pap. $8.95. SP
K-Gr 3
–Ramón is a young dragon who has a tail, scales, and wings, but there is one thing dragons can do that Ramón is ­unable to: breathe fire! When he tries, he releases letters instead. However, this comes in handy. Whenever someone needs help, they call for Ramón, and he rushes to provide assistance by releasing a random letter. In the first title in this series, Ramón helps a young girl named Ana when an unusual cloud releases odd objects, such as a cow and a tree. Ramón and Ana investigate and, thanks to Ramón’s gift, the cloud is soon releasing water instead. In the second title in this series, a lion calls Ramón for help when he finds himself unable to see. When Ramón’s assistance with his letters brings the lion dangerously close to animals such as a zebra and gazelle, Ramón’s quick thinking saves the day again. Colorful illustrations on white backgrounds and clear text composed of all capital letters make these titles eye-catching and easy to read. The short sentences and accessible words make these a good choice for practicing reading and expanding vocabulary. The Spanish text is expressive and humorous, reflecting the action on the pages, and the letter for each title is emphasized in bold in every word which makes it easy to spot. VERDICT Filled with fun and silliness, this Spanish early reader series is a good choice for children who are learning to read and who enjoy fantastical stories.–Selenia Paz

Ransom, Candice. ¡Día de playa! illus. by Erika Meza. 32p. (Leyendo a Pasos). Random. May 2023. pap. $5.99. ISBN 9780593646656; Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780593646663. SP
Gr 1-3
–Summer has come, and beach day has arrived! From packing the car and building sand castles to jumping in the water and flying kites, a Black family enjoys a day in the sun. Encounters with seagulls and crabs won’t stop their fun. Plus, ice cream is the cherry on top! The day ends at the park where the family gets on rides and continues their fun. Simple sentences, rhyming text, and colorful illustrations make this a great choice for young readers either reminiscing about their fun at the beach or planning for that day in the future. VERDICT A joyful Spanish-language early reader with colorful picture support that will have readers reaching for their beach towels!–Melanie Ortega

Thornhill, Samantha. La muestra de talentos. illus. by Shirley Ng-Benitez. 32p. (¡Zambúllete en la lectura! Confetti Kids: Bk. 11). Lee & Low. Mar. 2023. pap. $10.95. ISBN 9781643796338. SP
Gr 1-3–Five friends are excited to hear about the upcoming school talent show. Each of them has a talent that they can’t wait to share. The kids assume that Henry will play the drums, but he’d like to do something different. Unsure, Henry talks to his mom and her partner about what to do, and then he gets excited to share. Thornhill continues her popular emerging reader series about the diverse “Confetti Kids.” The three brief chapters are set to a third-person Spanish narrative that reads as single sentences built into two- to six-line paragraphs. This book could work in a bilingual story time paired with the source material or for a social unit in the primary school classroom referring to self-confidence. Ng-Benitez’s digital watercolor-based illustrations set the mood of the plot with expressive characters and a simple pictorial background. The back matter contains instructions for an activity directing children to think of a talent they would like to have and their hobbies. VERDICT A familiar, easy-to-read story for Spanish-language collections in need of school-based stories.–Kathia Ibacache

Thornhill, Samantha. Un adiós especial. illus. by Shirley Ng-Benitez. 32p. (¡Zambúllete en la lectura! Confetti Kids: Bk. 12). Lee & Low. Mar. 2023. pap. $10.95. ISBN 9781643796321. SP
Gr 1-3
–In the “Confetti Kids” series, May’s family owns a flower shop. Like other stores in the neighborhood, they’ve had difficulties and have been forced to close their business. This news has made May and her diverse group of friends, who have shared many cheerful moments at the flower shop, unhappy about her impending move. In this time of need, the friends have an idea on how to comfort May. Thornhill presents another entry in her easy reader series about a diverse group of friends. The three short chapters are set to five- to six-line paragraphs with medium-sized black text. The third-person, Spanish-language narrative is predictable and reads naturally with simple dialogue and familiar terms interspersed with a few stretch words. This book is perfect for a ­bilingual story time activity paired with its English counterpart, A Special Goodbye, or for a social unit. Although the main theme is doleful, this book centers on the support of friends. Ng-Benitez provides digitally made watercolor illustrations that perfectly portray the neighborhood and moods of the characters, with subtle depictions of daily life expressed through a mixture of full-spread art and images set in bubbles. The back matter features instructions for an activity directing children to think about their favorite place in their neighborhood and the value of friends’ support. VERDICT A candid story reflecting real-life issues in a simple, child-friendly narrative. A solid choice for Spanish-language early reader shelves.–Kathia Ibacache

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