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Best & Brightest Spanish Books of 2018

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This Best & Brightest list was created by Denver Public Library librarians to celebrate our favorite recently published Spanish children's books. Enjoy!

More of the Best & Brightest Books of 2018

Travesías En La Ciudad
Barrera, Ave, 1980- author.
Kindergarten-3rd grade. Mexican writer Ave Barrera’s book excels at introducing children to various modes of transportation as they travel throughout the city. Written in first person, a city full of people travel by plane, subway, taxi, bus, bicycle and more. The full bleed illustrations depict a sense of wonder and infinite possibilities. The pages are full of street vendors and traffic jams, busy parks and bustling sidewalks. The detailed mixed media illustrations burst forth with the sights, sounds and smells of the city. A two page spread at the back of the book provides a visual glossary of traffic signs, as well as tips on navigating public transit. This nonfiction picture book will find an appreciative audience at home or in the classroom, prompting plenty of discussion and encouraging kids and grown ups alike to take a closer look at all the different ways people get around the city.
¡Hermanos!
Bonilla, Rocio, 1970-
Preschool & up. As two books in one, ¡Hermanos! illuminates the love-hate nature of sibling relationships through dueling perspectives. Read one way through, readers will see the world through a big sister’s eyes. Flip the book over to see the world through the little brother’s perspective. At the end of both books, both siblings decide that having a sibling isn’t so bad after all. Depending on the perspective the characters appear human or like anthropomorphized animals. The expressive text is well-paced and the detailed illustrations deftly use light, shadow and line work. Focused on ordinary daily routines—walking to school, cooking at home, fighting over toys—this picture book provides kids and their grown ups a wonderful opportunity to discuss feelings about siblings and ways to strengthen sibling relationships.
1 2 3
Bouquet, Audrey, author.
Birth-Toddler. From the series Aprende con los ratoncitos, these board books are excellent for introducing babies and toddlers to the basic concepts of numbers and colors. In 1 2 3, little mice playfully guide the reader through counting from one to ten. In Colores, mice play hide and seek, blending in with the colors. The size of the books and their sturdy pages make them easy to handle and will invite little ones into the mice’s world of wonder.
Colores
Bouquet, Audrey, author.
Birth-Toddler. From the series Aprende con los ratoncitos, these board books are excellent for introducing babies and toddlers to the basic concepts of numbers and colors. In 1 2 3, little mice playfully guide the reader through counting from one to ten. In Colores, mice play hide and seek, blending in with the colors. The size of the books and their sturdy pages make them easy to handle and will invite little ones into the mice’s world of wonder.
Hablemos Con El Fuego
Colavita, Ernesto, author.
1st grade & up. In Colavita’s Hablemos con series of nonfiction books, children don’t just learn about earth and fire. They also gain practical knowledge, such as how to grow a garden or prevent a fire. Children become members of the world and “talk with” earth and fire to better understand these topics. In Hablemos con la tierra, readers are introduced to the differences in soil found in dry and humid climates and, through a legend, imagine that dirt created humanity. Hablemos con el fuego explores the dual nature of fire—fascinating, useful, but also dangerous—and presents the legend of possum and fire. Containing large, colorful, full-spread illustrations, each book allows the reader to learn, create and imagine in unique, inspiring ways.
Hablemos Con La Tierra
Colavita, Ernesto, author.
1st grade & up. In Colavita’s Hablemos con series of nonfiction books, children don’t just learn about earth and fire. They also gain practical knowledge, such as how to grow a garden or prevent a fire. Children become members of the world and “talk with” earth and fire to better understand these topics. In Hablemos con la tierra, readers are introduced to the differences in soil found in dry and humid climates and, through a legend, imagine that dirt created humanity. Hablemos con el fuego explores the dual nature of fire—fascinating, useful, but also dangerous—and presents the legend of possum and fire. Containing large, colorful, full-spread illustrations, each book allows the reader to learn, create and imagine in unique, inspiring ways.
Contar Leones : Retratos De Animales En Libertad
Cotton, Katie, author.
Preschool & up. Eye-catching, lifelike charcoal illustrations of wild animals take center stage in this counting picture book. Contar leones features a multitude of endangered animals on clean, white pages and includes poetic descriptions of their everyday activities. The large size trim brings the fascinating world of these animals to life. Each two page spread features a different animal, posed playfully, accompanied by a few lines of text. Additional scientific facts about each species and online resources included in the back matter make this book an excellent choice for readers of all ages, particularly school-age children interested in doing research at home or in the classroom.
Rana De Tres Ojos
Dios, Olga de, 1979- author, illustrator.
Preschool & up. This isn’t your typical picture book about a frog. This frog has three eyes; this frog lives in water that is too dirty; and this frog has to wear a swimsuit because of it. Frog soon starts asking questions and discovers that there is a factory that makes new things that no one needs. When Frog realizes that his voice is too small to get the factory to listen to his environmental concerns, he spreads the word, enlisting Yellow Bird, Pink Monster and Blue Monster to help with his cause. Rana de tres ojos explores the topic of pollution, filling a void in Spanish children’s books as it addresses the importance of taking care of the planet and the consequences of failing to do so.
Mis Amigos
Fort, Glòria, author.
Birth-Toddler. In Fort’s Mis amigos, each colorful page introduces the reader to a new character sharing an activity or object that they enjoy. Whether playing in the sandbox, reading a book in braille or kicking a ball, the kids in this board book love to play with their friends. Caregivers will find ample opportunity for conversation through digital illustrations and brief text featuring children with a variety of physical abilities. This sturdy board book is a celebration of abilities and interests, as well as the activities universally loved by children.
La Matadragones : Cuentos De Latinoamérica
Hernandez, Jaime, author, artist.
3rd grade & up. Through six-frame panels and bold, stunning images, La matadragones provides readers with a fresh look at three classic tales from Latin America. In the first, a young heroine longs to marry the king’s son, slays a dragon, gives to those in need and learns to stand up to injustice. The second tale features a woman who marries a doomed mouse. In the final tale, clever Tup makes the ants do all his work. La matadragones wraps up with information on the origins of these folktales, providing depth and inspiring discussion. Look for the simultaneously published English version, The Dragon Slayer: Folktales from Latin America.
Mi Loca Familia En La Parte De Abajo
Higgins, Chris, 1950- author.
4th grade & up. Adventure. Each book in the rollicking Mi loca familia chapter book series features Mattie, the independent protagonist, decked out in a different hat for each of her adventures. In Mi loca familia está más loca, Book 7 of the series, a family friend from Australia visits Mattie’s classroom to share what life is like Down Under. Book 8, Mi loca familia en la parte de abajo, finds Mattie traveling to Australia and experiencing flying for the first time. Short chapters and plentiful dialogue keep the story moving at a clip. Black and white spot illustrations appear once a chapter, providing visual interest. Enjoyable as stand alone or series titles, readers will relate to Mattie’s fear of new experiences, as well as her bravery in facing that fear. So put on your favorite hat and join Mattie in her adventures!
Mi Loca Familia Está Más Loca
Higgins, Chris, 1950- author.
4th grade & up. Adventure. Each book in the rollicking Mi loca familia chapter book series features Mattie, the independent protagonist, decked out in a different hat for each of her adventures. In Mi loca familia está más loca, Book 7 of the series, a family friend from Australia visits Mattie’s classroom to share what life is like Down Under. Book 8, Mi loca familia en la parte de abajo, finds Mattie traveling to Australia and experiencing flying for the first time. Short chapters and plentiful dialogue keep the story moving at a clip. Black and white spot illustrations appear once a chapter, providing visual interest. Enjoyable as stand alone or series titles, readers will relate to Mattie’s fear of new experiences, as well as her bravery in facing that fear. So put on your favorite hat and join Mattie in her adventures!
La Cueva
Hodgson, Rob, author, illustrator.
Preschool & up. It all begins with a pair of eyes peering out from a dark cave. A persistent wolf waits patiently—and sometimes not so patiently—through the seasons for the presumably small creature to emerge. In Hodgson’s excellently translated picture book, readers experience a minimally-worded story with a distinct beginning, middle and a surprising ending. La cueva is smartly-paced and great for reading aloud, thanks to its large illustrations and text. Readers will delight in trying to guess who is in the cave!
Marcelina En La Cocina
Iglesias Lodares, Gracia, 1977-
Preschool-2nd grade. Have you heard the saying “Too many chefs spoil the broth”? Marcelina the giraffe is about to learn the meaning of this phrase when she optimistically starts making soup for her visiting niece. Unfortunately Marcelina doesn’t know how to cook. The strange smell emanating from her soup attracts her neighbors who, one by one, add odd ingredients (fizzing cola, green leaves, spider webs) to the boiling pot. This irreverent picture book is narrated in short, rhyming verses, punctuated by the onomatopoeic sounds of the gurgling pot. The pastel illustrations, utilizing a crayon-like texture, depict the absurdity of Marcelina’s recipe and the general chaos in the kitchen. Marcelina’s recipe seems headed for disaster, but luckily, a final, important ingredient arrives in time to save the day. Readers of Marcelina en la cocina will enjoy “tasting” all the delicious sounds as the storyline bubbles to its heartwarming conclusion.
El Golazo De Pedro
Manushkin, Fran, author.
Kindergarten-3rd grade. Fans of Katie Woo will surely enjoy the latest companion series about her classmate Pedro. Whether he’s running for president, scoring a big soccer goal or transforming himself into a ninja, Pedro approaches life with curiosity and enthusiasm. Perfect for beginning readers, each story is divided into three chapters that utilize short exchanges of dialogue and simple exposition, giving readers insight into Pedro’s thoughts and emotions. Accompanying illustrations provide visual context clues. Back matter includes conversation and writing prompts, as well as links to videos and games from the publisher’s website. This series is a wonderful choice for developing reading skills at home or in the classroom.
Pedro, Candidato A Presidente
Manushkin, Fran, author.
Kindergarten-3rd grade. Fans of Katie Woo will surely enjoy the latest companion series about her classmate Pedro. Whether he’s running for president, scoring a big soccer goal or transforming himself into a ninja, Pedro approaches life with curiosity and enthusiasm. Perfect for beginning readers, each story is divided into three chapters that utilize short exchanges of dialogue and simple exposition, giving readers insight into Pedro’s thoughts and emotions. Accompanying illustrations provide visual context clues. Back matter includes conversation and writing prompts, as well as links to videos and games from the publisher’s website. This series is a wonderful choice for developing reading skills at home or in the classroom.
Pedro El Ninja
Manushkin, Fran, author.
Kindergarten-3rd grade. Fans of Katie Woo will surely enjoy the latest companion series about her classmate Pedro. Whether he’s running for president, scoring a big soccer goal or transforming himself into a ninja, Pedro approaches life with curiosity and enthusiasm. Perfect for beginning readers, each story is divided into three chapters that utilize short exchanges of dialogue and simple exposition, giving readers insight into Pedro’s thoughts and emotions. Accompanying illustrations provide visual context clues. Back matter includes conversation and writing prompts, as well as links to videos and games from the publisher’s website. This series is a wonderful choice for developing reading skills at home or in the classroom.
¡Puff!
Mazo, Margarita del, author.
Birth-toddler. Selected by the Spanish Organization for Children’s and Young Adults’ Books (OEPLI) as an essential read, ¡Puff! is yet another winner from beloved Spanish writer of children’s literature Margarita del Mazo. Each page of is full of rich vocabulary and contains two lines of rhyming text, all while being surrounded by simple, colorful illustrations of humans, animals and inanimate objects. Some smile, some frown, some look concerned, some gasp and pinch their noses—but everyone hears, smells and sees farts in ¡Puff! This hilarious board book invites everyone to appreciate the universal hilarity of flatulance.
¡Es Hora De Ir A La Camita!
Pellai, Alberto, author.
Preschool-1st grade. Each title in the Pequeños grandes retos series by doctor and psychotherapist Alberto Pellai and educational psychologist Barbara Tamborini expertly combines picture book and parenting manual. Caregivers and educators will benefit from the collection’s realistic depictions of childhood growing pains, such as the challenges of mealtime and bedtime rituals. Readers will quickly feel tension build as the text bounces back and forth between parent and child perspectives. Told in rhyme using rich vocabulary and whimsical, detailed illustrations, each book assures caregivers that these challenges can be overcome. The books also build children’s self-esteem and end with relevant caregiver tips and activities for adults and children to try together.
¡no Quiero Comer!
Pellai, Alberto, author.
Preschool-1st grade. Each title in the Pequeños grandes retos series by doctor and psychotherapist Alberto Pellai and educational psychologist Barbara Tamborini expertly combines picture book and parenting manual. Caregivers and educators will benefit from the collection’s realistic depictions of childhood growing pains, such as the challenges of mealtime and bedtime rituals. Readers will quickly feel tension build as the text bounces back and forth between parent and child perspectives. Told in rhyme using rich vocabulary and whimsical, detailed illustrations, each book assures caregivers that these challenges can be overcome. The books also build children’s self-esteem and end with relevant caregiver tips and activities for adults and children to try together.
Las Gafas De Sentir
Pérez-Sauquillo, Vanesa, 1978- author.
Preschool-Kindergarten. Marquitos has a simple approach to deal with his emotions. In Las gafas de sentir, the colors on the pages match his mood, and Marquitos knows how to shake off negative feelings. Poet, translator and author Vanesa Pérez-Sauquillo tells Marquitos’ story in verse, deftly incorporating spare text with a variety of colors, situations and facial expressions to convey Marquitos' many emotions and methods of self-regulation. In the end, Marquitos reveals his favorite shade in which to view life, and young readers will benefit from the book’s positive spin on accepting and handling life’s rainbow of emotions. This book is part of the Grandes pasitos (Big Baby Steps) collection, a series of entertaining and heartwarming books that capture significant moments in the lives of little ones.
La Niña Invisible
Puño, 1978- author.
4th grade & up. Adventure. La niña invisible is the captivating coming-of-age story about Trog, an audacious girl who dares to break away from her tribe’s old tradition of only sending boys to do “the trip.” Beautifully narrated and illustrated, with sprinkles of humor and unexpected surprises, this chapter book invites the reader to join Trog on a dangerous and fascinating expedition. A deserving recipient of the 2018 El Barco de Vapor Award for juvenile literature, La niña invisible immerses readers in Trog’s journey and encourages them to consider how their own stories could unfold.
Cantinflas : A Bilingual Geography Book
Rodríguez, Patty, author.
Birth-Toddler. Patty Rodríguez’s diverse collection of Lil’ Libros bilingual board books exposes readers to biographies, geography and Latino culture. In La vida de Selena, a biography of the famous, award-winning Mexican American singer known as the “Queen of Tejano Music,” each spread is a different color scheme and includes one sentence in English and then again in Spanish highlighting elements of the singer’s life, for instance, her tour bus, her favorite food (pizza), her passion for fashion and more. Cantinflas explores the life of the Mexican comedian using a find-and-seek device to engage readers and help them learn geography. Utilizing Día de los Muertos skulls, La Catrina presents readers with a variety of emotions that little ones can imitate. All three books feature solid colored backgrounds, large text and clear, colorful illustrations that fit the developmental needs of babies and toddlers.
La Catrina : Emotions = Emociones
Rodríguez, Patty, author.
Birth-Toddler. Patty Rodríguez’s diverse collection of Lil’ Libros bilingual board books exposes readers to biographies, geography and Latino culture. In La vida de Selena, a biography of the famous, award-winning Mexican American singer known as the “Queen of Tejano Music,” each spread is a different color scheme and includes one sentence in English and then again in Spanish highlighting elements of the singer’s life, for instance, her tour bus, her favorite food (pizza), her passion for fashion and more. Cantinflas explores the life of the Mexican comedian using a find-and-seek device to engage readers and help them learn geography. Utilizing Día de los Muertos skulls, La Catrina presents readers with a variety of emotions that little ones can imitate. All three books feature solid colored backgrounds, large text and clear, colorful illustrations that fit the developmental needs of babies and toddlers.
The Life Of Selena = La Vida De Selena
Rodríguez, Patty, author.
Birth-Toddler. Patty Rodríguez’s diverse collection of Lil’ Libros bilingual board books exposes readers to biographies, geography and Latino culture. In La vida de Selena, a biography of the famous, award-winning Mexican American singer known as the “Queen of Tejano Music,” each spread is a different color scheme and includes one sentence in English and then again in Spanish highlighting elements of the singer’s life, for instance, her tour bus, her favorite food (pizza), her passion for fashion and more. Cantinflas explores the life of the Mexican comedian using a find-and-seek device to engage readers and help them learn geography. Utilizing Día de los Muertos skulls, La Catrina presents readers with a variety of emotions that little ones can imitate. All three books feature solid colored backgrounds, large text and clear, colorful illustrations that fit the developmental needs of babies and toddlers.
Álbum De Bichos
Rubio, Antonio, author.
Preschool-1st grade. Antonio Rubio’s imaginative book explores a bug’s life in a playful way, with centipedes that wear boots and snails sporting neckties. Each page progresses through the alphabet with whimsical illustrations and descriptions of anthropomorphized bugs in their natural habitats. The soft color palette, paired with the text’s rhythm, rhyme and alliteration will make readers want to enjoy this captivating picture book from the Sopa de libros series over and over again!
Hay Un Tigre En El Jardín
Stewart, Lizzy, author, illustrator.
Preschool & up. Stewart’s picture book is an ode to the imagination, with its embossed cover and lush, mixed media illustrations throughout. Nora’s grandmother encourages her to venture outdoors to shake her boredom. “I thought I saw a tiger out there,” Grandma says. Incredulous, Nora and Rafa la Jirafa, her faithful stuffed sidekick, slowly walk into the garden. Although reluctant at first, Nora is overjoyed when her boring day is transformed into one full of excitement and wonder. Readers’ imaginations and love of storytelling will be stoked by stirring dialogue between Nora and Tiger. Stewart’s illustrations are textured and the foliage of the garden seems to explode from the page. An excellent choice for storytime or sharing at home, this book succeeds in inviting readers of all ages to make their own imaginative journeys.
¿Qué Está Pasando Allá Arriba?
Villagrán, Jazmin, author, illustrator.
Preschool-1st grade. From beginning to end, Jazmin Villagrán’s whimsical tale sparks the reader’s curiosity to find out what’s happening above the clouds. Employing a vertical layout that accentuates the storyline, this picture book features three jumping frogs daring an eager pig to imitate them as they jump higher and higher, urging the willing pig to reach never-before-seen heights. Zany illustrations and hilarious facial expressions will have readers in fits of giggles. This story is both entertaining and original and lends a surprising touch of nostalgia for readers who recognize the inclusion of a traditional song.