Spanish Children's Books
Libros de Niños

So if someone types Spanish children's books into a search engine, are they looking for children's books in Spanish or children's books that honor Latino culture? (Click to the booklists.)

Are they Hispanics looking to help their children understand their cultural identity, or Anglos seeking to broaden their children's horizons?

I can't know for sure, but I hope to help you either way.

covers from Pam Munoz Ryan's 'The Dreamer,' illustrated by Peter Sis

Children's books are under attack

It's true. Today, reading has to fight for our children's attention. Good Spanish children's books have to compete with TV, music and video games.

The time previous generations spent reading is now more likely to be spent on a cell phone.

And yet...

And yet reading remains more important than ever. A child's best chance for success lies in books, perhaps even moreso for a minority child than for others. A thirst for knowledge - un anhelo de sabiduría - is what separates children with futures from children without them.

Since we know that a love of reading is essential to our children's future success, it's up to us as parents to provide good fuel for that love!

A Spanish children's book that doesn't entertain, that doesn't compel your child to keep turning pages, is as bad as no book at all.

It can be even worse than no book at all if it discourages your child from reading!

So the pressure is on YOU to find the BEST Spanish children's books

Fortunately, there's help to be had. Let me tell you about some award-winning Spanish children's books. (Titles that appear as links are reviewed, in English, on this site.)

English language Spanish children's books - The Pura Belpré Award

The Pura Belpré Award honors "Latino/Latina writers and illustrators whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth."

These are Spanish children's books - usually in English - that speak to children about what it means to be Latino. The awards are given every two years - one for best writing, one for best illustrating.

Pura Belpré Award for Writing | Pura Belpré Award for Illustrating

English language Spanish children's books - The Américas Award

The Américas Award recognizes outstanding Spanish children's books that "portray Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinos in the United States."

(Some of the books The Américas Award honors are picture books, and some are chapter books. The ones for which an illustrator is named are picture books. The one where no illustrator is named are probably chapter books.)

The Américas Award for Spanish Children's Books Honoring Latino Culture

Award-winning English language children's books translated into Spanish

The most prestigious awards for children's books in America in English are the Caldecott and Newbery Medals.

The Caldecott honors the best illustrations in a children's book for a given year. The Newbery honors the best writing.

A large number of these top books are now Spanish children's books because they've been translated. I list them below.

Caldecott for Illustration | Newbery for Writing

Pura Belpré Writing Award

  • 2016 - Margarita Engle. Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir.
  • 2015 - Marjorie Agosín. I Lived on Butterfly Hill.
  • 2014 - Meg Medina. Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass.
  • 2013 - Benjamin Alire Sáenz. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.
  • 2012 - Guadalupe Garcia McCall. Under the Mesquite.
  • 2011 - Pam Muñoz Ryan. The Dreamer.
  • 2010 - Julia Alvarez. Return to Sender.
  • 2009 - Margarita Engle. The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom.
  • 2008 - Margarita Engle. The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano.
  • 2006 - Viola Canales. The Tequila Worm.
  • 2004 - Julia Alvarez. Before We Were Free.
  • 2002 - Pam Muñoz Ryan. Esperanza Rising
  • 2000 - Alma Flor Ada. Under the Royal Palms: A Childhood in Cuba.
  • 1998 - Martinez, Victor. Parrot in the Oven: mi vida
  • 1996 - Cofer, Judith Ortiz. An Island Like You: Stories of the Barrio

Back to awards list

Pura Belpré Illustrating Award - Spanish children's books

  • 2016 - Rafael López. Drum Dream Girl.
  • 2015 - Yuyi Morales. Viva Frida.
  • 2014 - Yuyi Morales. Niño Wrestles the World.
  • 2013 - David Diaz. Martín de Porres: The Rose in the Desert illustrated.
  • 2012 - Duncan Tonatiuh. Diego Rivera: His World and Ours.
  • 2011 - Eric Velasquez. Grandma's Gift.
  • 2010 - Rafael López. Book Fiesta! Written by Pat Mora.
  • 2009 - Yuyi Morales. Just In Case.
  • 2008 - Yuyi Morales. Los Gatos Black on Halloween. Written by Marisa Montes.
  • 2006 - Raul Colón. Doña Flor: A Tall Tale About a Giant Woman with a Great Big Heart. Written by Pat Mora.
  • 2004 - Yuyi Morales. Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book
  • 2002 - Susan Guevara, Illustrator. Written by Gary Soto. Chato and the Party Animals
  • 2000 - Carmen Lomas Garza. Magic Windows.
  • 1998 - Snapshots from the Wedding, illustrated by Stephanie Garcia. Text: Gary Soto
  • 1996 - Guevara, Susan. Chato's Kitchen written by Gary Soto

Other books about Latin American experience reviewed on the site:

Back to awards list

The Américas Award

  • 2016 - Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope-Pérez
  • 2016 - Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan
  • 2015 - Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal by Margarita Engle
  • 2015 - Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh
  • 2014 - Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Cindy Trumbore and illustrated by Susan Roth
  • 2013 - The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano by Sonia Manzano
  • 2012 - Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People by Monica Brown; illustrated by Julie Paschkis
  • 2012 - Hurricane Dancers by Margarita Engle
  • 2011 - Clemente! by Willie Perdomo
  • 2011 - The Dreamer by Pam Muñoz Ryan
  • 2010 - Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez
  • 2010 - What Can You Do with a Paleta? written by Carment Tofolla, illustrated by Magaly Morales
  • 2009 - Just in Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book by Yuyi Morales
  • 2009 - The Surrender Tree by Margarita Engle
  • 2007 - Red Glass by Laura Resau
  • 2007 - YUM! ¡MMMM! ¡QUE RICO!: America's Sproutings by Pat Mora. Pictures by Rafael López
  • 2006 - Josias, Hold the Book by Jennifer Elvgren; illustrated by Nicole Tadgell
  • 2006 - The Poet Slave of Cuba by Margarita Engle; illustrated by Sean Qualls
  • 2005 - Cinnamon Girl: letters found inside a cereal box by Juan Felipe Herrera
  • 2004 - My Name is Celia/Me llamo Celia by Monica Brown; illustrated by Rafael López
  • 2004 - Sammy & Juliana in Hollywood by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
  • 2003 - Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book by Yuyi Morales
  • 2003 - The Meaning of Consuel by Judith Ortiz Cofer
  • 2002 - Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez
  • 2001 - A Movie in My Pillow by Jorge Argueta; illustrated by Elizabeth Gómez
  • 2001 - Breaking Through by Francisco Jiménez
  • 2000 - The Composition by Antonio Skármeta; illustrated by Alfonso Ruano
  • 2000 - The Color of My Words by Lynn Joseph
  • 1999 - Crashboomlove, by Juan Felipe Herrera
  • 1998 - Barrio: José's Neighborhood by George Ancona
  • 1998 - Mama and Papa Have a Store by Amelia Lau Carling
  • 1997 - The Circuit by Francisco Jiménez
  • 1997 - The Face at the Window by Regina Hanson; illustrated by Linda Saport
  • 1996 - In My Family/En mi familia by Carmen Lomas Garza
  • 1996 - Parrot in the Oven by Victor Martínez
  • 1995 - Tonight by Sea by Frances Temple
  • 1994 - The Mermaid's Twin Sister by Lynn Joseph
  • 1993 - Vejigante Masquerader by Lulu Delacre

Back to awards list

Caldecott - translated into Spanish children's books

  • 2008 - La invencion de Hugo Cabret (The Invention of Hugo Cabret)
  • 2005 - La primera luna llena de Gatita (Kitten's First Full Moon)
  • 2002 - Los tres cerditos (The Three Pigs)
  • 2001 - Asi que quieres ser presidente (So You Want to be President)
  • 1995 - Noche de humo (Smoky Night)
  • 1991 - Blanco y negro (Black and White)
  • 1989 - Cantante y bailarín (Song and Dance Man)
  • 1986 - Expreso polar, El (The Polar Express)
  • 1982 - Jumanji (Jumanji)
  • 1981 - Fábulas (Fables)
  • 1979 - La niña que amaba los caballos salvajes (The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses)
  • 1978 - Arca de Noé, El (Noah's Ark)
  • 1976 - Por qué zumban los mosquitos en los oídos de la gente: Un cuento de Áfica Occidental (Why Mosquitos Buzz in People's Ears: A West African Tale)
  • 1975 - Flecha al sol (Arrow to The Sun: A Pueblo Indian Tale)
  • 1972 - Un buen día (One Fine Day)
  • 1970 - Silvestre y la piedrecita mágica (Sylvester and the Magic Pebble)
  • 1969 - Tontimundo y el barco volador: un cuento ruso (The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship: a Russian Tale)
  • 1967 - Sam, Bangs y Hechizo de Luna (Sam, Bangs and Moonshine)
  • 1964 - Donde viven los monstruos (Where the Wild Things Are)

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Newbery - translated into Spanish children's books

  • 2000 - Me llamo Bud, no Buddy (Bud, Not Buddy)
  • 1999 - Hoyos (Holes)
  • 1998 - Lejos del polvo (Out of the Dust)
  • 1997 - Retrato del sábado (View from Saturday)
  • 1996 - Aprendiz de comadrona (The Midwife's Apprentice)
  • 1995 - Entre dos lunas (Walk Two Moons)
  • 1994 - El Dador (The Giver)
  • 1992 - Shiloh (Shiloh)
  • 1990 - ¿Quién cuenta las estrellas? (Number the Stars)
  • 1987 - El niño que pagaba el pato (Whipping Boy)
  • 1986 - Sarah, sencilla y alta (Sarah, Plain and Tall)
  • 1984 - Querido señor Henshaw (Dear Mr. Henshaw)
  • 1981 - Amé a Jacob (Jacob Have I Loved)
  • 1978 - Un puente hasta Terabithia (Bridge to Terabithia)
  • 1977 - Lloro por la tierra (Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry)
  • 1976 - El rey gris (The Grey King)
  • 1974 - La danza de los esclavos (The Slave Dancer)
  • 1973 - Julie y los lobos (Julie of the Wolves)

Back to awards list.

Latino children's poets.

Children's books by category.

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