Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Top 10 Spanish Books of 2019

We have read so many good books this year, but I wanted to compile a list of the ones that we treasured most. Some of these books have been around forever and some are brand new. Some are light and fun, while others cover topics that even adults struggle to discuss, like immigration and death. All of them are wonderful and kid approved by my bunch. If you’re interested in buying any of these books, I have linked all of the titles to wherever they can be purchased online.

1.  Dragones y tacos : This has been a family favorite this year because who doesn’t love stories about mythical creatures eating tacos? The dragons, however, cannot handle spicy salsa, so when they accidentally eat copious amounts of it the aftermath is not pretty. My kids love to recreate that scene, so if you’ve read the book just picture my kids running around breathing fire.

2.  Fire! Fuego! Brave Bomberos : My oldest has been obsessed with firefighters for years so having to return this one to the library was pretty painful for him. I love this book because it rhymes effortlessly in Spanglish, which is no easy task. The book is mostly in English but has key words in Spanish throughout the story and it is just so much fun to read aloud.

3. Marisol no combina : This book felt like looking into the future for my children. Marisol is a Peruvian-Scottish-American with brown skin and red hair. She loves who she is but other children comment on how she doesn’t match and doesn’t like to play the way everyone else does. She tries to fit in and loses her joy. Her teacher reminds her that she is loved for who she is, and Marisol happily goes back to being herself, matching or not. This book is a MUST HAVE for any child, but especially for those who are mixed race.

4. La verdadera historia de los tres cerditos : A classic story for sure, this was one of my favorites to check out from the library when I was a young reader. The big bad wolf tells his side of the story, where he just needed to borrow some sugar but unfortunately had a nasty cold. My kids could not get enough of this one and loved reenacting the epic sneezes that come from the big bad wolf.

5. Mi papi tiene una moto : This book has been highly recommended all over social media this year and it deserves all the praise. First of all the illustrations are gorgeous and rich in Latinx culture, as is the story itself. The main character loves riding with her Papi on his motorcycle through town and describes what she experiences on the ride. They pass by a construction site where her Papi works, by her abuelos home and their lemon tree, a mural honoring those who fought for laborers' rights, and of course they finish off their trip with some delicious raspados from a local street vendor.

6. Ella persistió alrededor del mundo : A collection of stories of incredible women around the world and they’re accomplishments. I actually teared up a little as I read this to my daughter because she is growing up in a world where she can be anything. More than ever women are breaking down barriers and becoming trailblazers in their fields. I feel so grateful for books like these that highlight strong women that my daughter and my sons can look up to.

7. Rosita y Conchita : Not only is this story PERFECT for Day of the Dead, I think it is acceptable for talking about death and grief as well. Children, as well as adults, struggle to understand and cope with death, but I think the best thing you can do is talk about what they’re thinking and feeling. The main character of this story is building an altar for Día de los Muertos for her twin sister who died, and the twin is finding her way home using the clues left on the altar. I cannot read this story without crying, it is so well done and emphasizes an eternal bond between with loved ones who have passed on.

8. El día en que descubres quien eres : Many children grow up feeling isolated because of how they look, or where they come from, and this book is a great reminder that what makes us unique is what also makes us so special. Each page discusses different things that may make a person feel different, such as poverty, race, immigration, culture, and bullying, and discusses these difficult topics in a way that is age appropriate for young readers.

9. Gracias Omu : First of all, the illustrations in this book are sooo good. They are mixed media art that were created by the author and are just gorgeous. The story is about an elderly women, Omu, who makes a huge pot of stew and shares it with anyone who knocks on her door inquiring about the delicious scent. At the end of the day her stew is gone and she hadn’t eaten any herself. Each person she had shared with returns with food to share and they all feast together. I read this to my kids around Thanksgiving but it is a beautiful story to share year-round about sharing and compassion.

10: La frontera : I think this story was a little advanced for my kids, ages 1, 3, and 6, but I plan to read it again and again in the future to help them understand some of the issues facing children who immigrate to the United States. My husband is a first generation immigrant so this story felt so similar to his own, especially how the main character leaves his family behind and misses his mother. There are new immigrant children entering my son’s kinder class every month and we have many conversations with him about how to be helpful and be a friend. This is a great book to read as a segue into conversations surrounding immigration.

I hope you will find at least one story here that will bring joy and learning into your home! I am excited for a new year and an opportunity to bring home even more books to love. What books were big hits this year in your home?

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