Spanish Authors and Books
I spent my high school and college years reading lots of Spanish literature and have continued to read certain authors and additional ones ever since. Among my favorites: Arturo Pérez-Riverte, Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Matilde Asensi. As a teacher of Spanish, I was always on the hunt for authentic Spanish books for my students. Teaching ELL to Spanish-speakers, I did the same (although they wanted to read the popular American books in Spanish, too, of course). Books written by Spanish and Latin American authors offer a layer of cultural authenticity that translated-into-Spanish books do not have. I recently discovered some new favorite Spanish literature for younger audiences.
Marta Zafrilla is a picture-book author with unique and touching stories to tell. In Los despistes del abuelo Pedro (illustrations by Miguel Angel Diez; grades K-2), a boy struggles to help his grandfather, who is suffering from dementia. After Abuelo Pedro puts a chicken in the washing machine, a sweater in the frying pan, and a fish on the ironing board, the decision is made to move him into Oscar’s family’s home. Oscar tries different schemes to help Abuelo remember things and worries that he’s not doing enough. As he comes to terms with his grandfather’s illness, Oscar also finds a valuable way to remember his own learning. Hijito Pollito (grades K-2) tells the story of a little chick whose mother is a cat. His pride in his unique family and his love for his “different” adopted mother is a wonderful statement about diverse family situations. Nora Hilb’s adorable illustrations and the kid-friendly font will grab children’s attention. Both of these titles have been translated into English: Grandpa Monty’s Muddles and Little Chick and Mommy Cat.
El cielo de Afganistan (grades K-2) by Ana A. de Eulate, featuring gorgeous illustrations by Sonja Wimmer, is a powerful look at childhood in a country yearning for peace. Told from a child’s point of view, it describes her dreams for peace–symbolized by birds, flowers, and beautiful kites. Roberto Aliaga is another children’s book author to watch. Sonja Wimmer’s illustrations also grace the pages of his Cuento de Noche (grades K-2). In this picture book, a child weaves a story about embracing nighttime and dreams. Night comes to the child’s bed with stories to tell–some scary, some sweet, all magical. Both of these titles have been translated into English: The Sky of Afghanistan and A Night Time Story.
2012 also saw the publication of the fourth book in the ENTREsombros series by Roberto Aliaga: ENTREsombras y la Cabalgata Macabra (grades 2-4). Spooky novels written for middle graders–native Spanish speakers or learners of Spanish–the ENTREsombras series weaves entrancing stories set in a fantastic world somewhere between here and the world of the living dead. A little scary, but funny and fascinating, the stories are enhanced by the amazing, eery illustrations of Roger Olmos. In these exciting books, Mateo and the other members of the Resistencia (the Resistance) must thwart the evil plots of Abuelo Penumbras (Grandfather Twilight), fight evil, and pretty much save the world. Full of adventure and kid-friendly horror, these books are certain to be favorites among young Spanish-speaking readers.
Here are some lists of authentic titles written by Spanish and Latin American authors: