Cinco Books is making fabulous children’s titles from Spanish-speaking countries available in the United States. At Spanish Playground, we believe children’s literature plays an essential role in building language skills and communicating culture. We are thrilled Cinco Books has Spanish books for schools and families, and for both heritage speakers and language learners.
Spanish Books for Schools from Latin America and Spain
Spanish books for schools play an important role in keeping culture and language alive, so having titles from other countries is essential. Children’s books are part of the communities and cultures that create them, and books from Spanish-speaking countries offer a rich reading experience our children need. A strong collection of Spanish books for schools draws on titles from Latin American and Spain, in addition to books from publishers in the United States.
Cinco Books selects titles from the best publishers in Latin America and Spain. The staff is also available to assist school librarians, teachers and administrators. You can tap in their expertise to connect with publishers and select books that enrich the language and lives of your students.
You will want to browse the many titles in the Cinco Books catalog. I’m going to highlight a few Spanish books for schools to consider, but of course Cinco Books has many more beautiful books to choose from. For your littlest readers, be sure to check out the fun Gira la rueda y busca and Mueve board books from Sigmar.
Spanish Books for Schools
La pobre viejecita
La pobre viejecita illustrates a delightful poem by the famous Colombian author Rafael Pombo. The protagonist, la pobre viejecita, has everything, but is sure she has nothing. Children will appreciate the humor and see the ridiculousness of her complaints. The story is funny, and also has an important message for children and adults. The books begins:
Érase una viejecita
Sin nadita que comer
Sino carnes, frutas, dulces,
Tortas, huevos, pan y pez.
This story is a wonderful springboard for talking about what makes us happy and appreciating what we have. The illustrations support the meaning of the words and also contrast the way the viejecita sees herself with her reality.
As you talk about appreciation and how we are sometimes unaware of what we have, you may want to have children begin a book-inspired gratitude journal. This free printable journal is available in Spanish or English, in a couple of different designs. The gratitude journal asks children to think about a book and identify something they like in the story or illustrations that they also have. It’s very effective for helping kids think about their lives and also for building vocabulary. La pobre viejecita is the perfect story to kick off a gratitude journal.
Gris, by Argentine author Silvi Hei, is a story about the important role difference plays in our world. The initial images construct a world of gray, building to one of the most beautiful and striking illustrations I have ever seen in a children’s book. The contrast is wonderful! I’m not going to show you that illustration here, because I don’t want to spoil that moment as you read the book. However, you can see how beautiful Gris is from the cover and the page below.
The story has accessible high-frequency vocabulary and short sentences. There is also a close graphic-text correspondence, so the illustrations support the meaning of the text on each page. The font, OpenDyslexic, is specifically designed for children with dyslexia and easy for any child to read.
No des puntada sin hilo
No des puntada sin hilo is a beautiful collection of refranes. This award-winning book from Chile is culture condensed and illustrated in cross stitch. The cross stitch fits the title, and the traditional, time-worn significance of proverbs. An excellent choice for families, it also makes a good addition to a collection of Spanish books for schools.
The illustrations have images of key words in the proverbs and related refranes are on facing pages. Also, the texture and style of the book are perfect. The art of needlework is something we pass on, like proverbs and lovely children’s books like this one.
Reading is an adventure and reading books published in Spanish-speaking countries takes children across borders to different lands. Part of the joy of learning language and being bilingual is being exposed to the linguistic and cultural richness of these Spanish books for schools and families. Many thanks to Cinco Books for making this literature available for our children!