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Favorite Spanish read alouds for 4+


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I find it really difficult to find quality children's literature in Spanish. Many translated texts are awful. I've had the most success when I travel to South America and scour the bookstores there but even then, its a struggle because we steer clear of fantasy for under 6s (anthropormorphic animals okay) and prefer life-like illustrations. 

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How much space and money are you willing to spend/dedicate to this?

We're non-native speakers, so our standards and priorities may be lower or otherwise mismatched with yours, but I have found most translations perfectly suitable for nonfiction.
We use Spanish language textbooks and there doesn't seem to be any long lasting harm linguistically.

I'm not sure what you are able to tolerate for fiction for a 4yo if you don't want fantasy. I'm assuming that los cuentos de hada, y los hermanos Grimm are out since you want to avoid fantasy.

Perhaps you can find a nicely illustrated version of Aesops Fables? Or whatever the culturally equivalent version of Mother Goose is? I know that SantillanaUSA sells a Spanish language Poetry program, but I'm not big on poetry so I've never considered it.

Perhaps you could look at the K-grade anthologies used in schools in South America. They tend to be for the teacher to read aloud, no?

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@Gil A fair amount re: space and money. To give a better idea of what I'm looking for - we have translated copies of Jill Barkem and Beatrix Potter books that I find suitable, both in translation and context. Would like more along those lines. On our last trip, we picked up some good living books on artists which we enjoyed. I hadn't considered the K-grade anthologies - I will certainly look into that. Thank you!


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  • 2 weeks later...

As non-native Spanish speakers in an English-dominant environment, I will say that we've found that having a ton of books helpful, so I haven't had the time to be picky. With a few guidelines, we've definitely gone for quantity over quality. I won't entertain junk like Captain Underpants, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, etc. My approach has been to buy a shelf for only Spanish books and to try and fill it up. I occasionally get rid of books if they aren't appropriate but for the most part we keep, read (and re-read) all the Spanish books that we buy.

I had to go through our shelves and found that in the fiction department we have 10 story anthologies (Wow...I didn't realize that we had that many.). But we buy our books 2nd hand and usually from the local bookstore so we have a collection of publishers on the shelf. I checked and of those 10 different anthologies. (I seriously didn't realize that we had that many): 6 are from publishers in Spain, 2 from a publisher in Mexico, 1 from a publisher in Canada, and 1 publisher from the US.

If you can order books internationally there is www.megustaleer.com that lists many modern/recent books in Spanish in eBook and softcover format, but you have to order via a 3rd party.
Additionally, check out SantillanaUSA. They offer Spanish language materials from Puerto Rico for schools and families.

IF you are willing to use translations of US/English based school anthologies then search on Amazon or eBay for Foro Abiertos, Calle de Lectura, Lectura (Houghton Mifflin), Maravillas, etc. But since you can travel to a Spanish speaking country, I recommend picking up some native school readers. The language activities in it will be more relevant, the literature authentic and the illustrations (possibly) more varied and the culture reflected within the text will be authentic and natural.

For 2nd grade and up, I definitely recommend native school readers as the vocabulary, spelling, grammar etc will obviously be optimal for Spanish language. Back to US based options, Scholastic offers different sets of Spanish/bilingual books through their  "parent store" and "teachers store" so you have to check both out to get an idea of what all they currently offer in Spanish to find something that meets your preferences for illustrations/genre, etc.

But I am not a Literature Person even in English so I might not be the best judge. I guess you have to ask and answer the question: What purpose do I want served by a Spanish read aloud. I have seen a few different Eng/Spn dual-language books of Read Aloud Stories/Hand rhymes with no illustrations in them, I just don't own one since they are geared more towards PreK teachers.

Good luck.

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