You know that feeling of satisfaction when you finally begin a conversation in Spanish?
If you can tick those things off on your list, your next challenge might be to finish reading a book in Spanish.
There’s nothing quite as satisfying as the feeling when you turn the final page and realize you’ve actually done it—you’ve read a whole book in another language!
In this post, you’ll find 38 easy Spanish books, including Spanish novels for beginners and more, to skyrocket your reading skills.
Reading in Spanish will not only make you feel more confident about your language skills, but it will also expand your vocabulary and help you internalize the language you’re learning.
There’s also something special about seeing a language written down, as opposed to just hearing it. Seeing the words out on the page will provide you with the opportunity to read the sentences over and over again until you absorb the meaning and retain it in your memory.
Reading will also expose you to new vocabulary and grammar structures. Don’t forget to record any new vocabulary you learn as you go along, and don’t give up if there are words or even sections in any of these books you may not understand fully.
Another benefit of reading is that it lowers anxiety. In fact, reading is probably the most stress-free activity you can do to learn a language. When you read, you’re able to sit back, relax and just take it all in at your own pace.
Reading in another language is also a great way to discover new stories you might not otherwise have had the opportunity to read. Not all books written in Spanish are translated into English, so your Spanish skills may be able to help you discover a world you wouldn’t have known otherwise.
If the thought running through your head is “But I’m not advanced enough!,” think again. It’s similar to when you learned to read in your own language: you start with basic books and work your way up to something more advanced.
You can also use more structured, interactive reading to build up your skills until you’re ready to tackle books.
Reading basic Spanish books will help you to transition into the language more easily if you pick a book that’s well-suited to your specific interests and level. Your perfect Spanish book should be:
English Title: “Rox’s Mission”
“La misión de Rox,” known in English as “All the Fairies in the Kingdom,” is an easy-to-read young adult book.
While it’s the third installment in a series, it’s a delightful tale that can easily stand alone from the other two books. You don’t need to read the others to love this one, unless of course, you want to!
This is a brilliant tale about magic, a fascinating quest and the need to defend civilization.
English Title: “Unlucky Detective”
Hilario Pena’s “Detective Malasuerte” is an exciting read. It’s well-suited for beginner readers since the vocabulary is relatively uncomplicated. However, this book also provides just a touch of a challenge to help you keep moving forward and growing as a language learner.
The story includes a private investigator who finds himself involved in a case with supernatural occurrences. The unsavory characters he meets are both intriguing and revolting.
This is a page-turner that every level Spanish learner will likely find gripping, especially those who like the detective genre.
English Title: “The Little Prince”
Although “El principito” was originally written in French, its simple story and sweet pictures mean that it’s a delight to read in any language.
Some people claim that the alien landscapes described in the book refer to Patagonia in Argentina, as Saint-Exupéry flew over the region many times during his time as a pilot.
A good book for practicing simple dialogue and the past tense, it’s a slim volume and is manageable in length for intermediate students and above.
Even if you’ve already read “El principito” (The Little Prince) in English (or another language), you’ll find it useful to read it again in Spanish since you’ll be able to just concentrate on the language and enjoy the familiar story.
English Title: “The Alchemist”
Originally written in Portuguese, the Spanish translation of this international bestseller is a good one if you want to read a whole novel in the language.
The story of “El alquimista” concerns a young Spanish shepherd who goes on a quest after having a recurring dream.
Lessons learned by the shepherd throughout the book can be applied to a variety of life decisions, and because of this, the book is often referred to as more “self-help than literature.”
Apart from its spiritual message, this book’s main language benefit is that both the vocabulary and grammar are simple and easy to understand.
English Title: “The Tunnel”
This psychological thriller was written in 1948 by Argentine writer Ernesto Sábato and was highly acclaimed internationally when it came out.
A popular text for teenagers in Argentina today, it has also been adapted for the stage and the big screen.
The plot of “El túnel” concerns Juan Pablo Castel, a Buenos Aires painter who killed the woman he loved, María Iribarne. Castel examines his motives and much of the book deals with existentialism. It’s also heavily laced with the author’s characteristic acid pessimism.
This book deals with some tricky subject matter but is a fascinating read for anyone who wants to challenge themselves to read a book in another language that will truly make you think.
English Title: “Poor Ana”
Ana lives in a small home in California, with a mother who’s always on her case, a father who doesn’t have enough money and a car that has seen better days. Ana envies the lives of her friends, with their flashy cars and a wealth of other things she can only dream of.
In the summer, Ana finds herself staying with a family in Mexico where she meets new friends and acquaintances. She sees the lives they’re living and learns that there are more important things in life than a new ride.
“Pobre Ana” is the first of the Blaine Ray series. And you’ll be happy to know that it has a vocabulary list in the back.
This beautiful novel by Pam Muñoz Ryan recounts the story of a young girl growing up on a ranch in Mexico who’s forced to leave with her mother for California. There, she must face hardships in a Mexican farm labor camp during the Great Depression.
The story was inspired by Ryan’s grandmother’s personal experiences. It’s been the recipient of several awards and has received praise from critics.
English Title: “The Imaginary Life”
“La vida imaginaria” is a wonderful story, driven by Fortunata “Nata” Fortuna. After being left by her significant other, Nata has to face life anew. The reader follows Nata through her post-relationship recovery as she grapples with her past and present circumstances.
This is Spanish journalist Mara Torres’ first novel. It’s one of the few books on the list not aimed at children or teens and the language used reflects this. Despite this, it’s still simple enough for a beginner and you’ll be able to learn a lot of colloquial words and phrases from this novel.
It’s a good option for beginners who aren’t interested in reading a children’s book, and it’s less than 200 pages long! You’ll be finished in no time.
English Title: “Lie”
This stirring tale highlights the pitfalls of love in the technological era. Xenia is a hardworking student, driven by her goal of studying medicine.
But these goals are set aside when she meets a mysterious boy online and falls in love with him. Desperate to find out who he is, she goes on a hunt for information, only to discover that it’s all a lie. The truth will surprise you.
Spanish author Care Santos has written multiple novels and has been the recipient of several awards. “Mentira” won the 2015 Edebé Youth Literature Award and is a great addition to any bookshelf. It’s also only around 250 pages and it’s a vocabulary gold mine. Have a Spanish dictionary on hand and make a list of useful words and phrases as you go.
English Title: “August’s Lesson”
You’ve no doubt already heard of this one. This is the Spanish version of the English novel “Wonder,” which was made into a hit movie starring Julia Roberts in 2017.
The story follows the journey of August Pullman, a boy with a severe facial disformity, as he navigates the difficulties of starting fifth grade at a new middle school.
The story has been lauded with praise from critics and earned several awards. It’s written in the first-person point of view so it’s great to help you get a handle on multiple verb tenses without being overwhelmed. You’ll also learn a lot of new verbs in the process.
It’s a little bit longer than the previous novels on this list but well worth it and still easy enough for the more experienced beginner.
This book is an excellent introduction to the wonderful world of reading Spanish stories. The tales are presented with the Spanish story on one page and the English translation on the opposite-facing page.
Many of the stories also include authentic, Spanish idioms, which will only help deepen your understanding and connection to the language.
The vocabulary used in this volume is uncomplicated, but that doesn’t mean that the stories are overly simple or meaningless. These tales are thought-provoking!
Graded readers are an excellent option for beginner readers. They typically contain simple stories, use basic vocabulary and often add extras to help learners power up their skills.
This book is no exception: there’s also a bonus section that highlights vocabulary and offers practice exercises for Spanish learners.
Another plus of graded readers like this one is the fact that the stories are a manageable size. They’re great little bites of literature designed for language learning.
Revisit your childhood by reading all of your favorite fairy tales in Spanish!
As the title indicates, this book is a collection of folklore that we grew up with, such as Ricitos de oro y los tres osos (Goldilocks and the Three Bears), Jack y las habichuelas mágicas (Jack and the Beanstalk), and Caperucita Roja (Little Red Riding Hood).
One thing to keep in mind with this book is the seemingly archaic language.
Because the stories are the original texts, some of the Spanish translations might look outdated, though this was done on purpose to preserve the original style.
In addition, you’ll also get the audio files of each story (270 minutes in total), narrated by both native Spanish and English speakers. The audio accompaniment is perfect for listening anywhere at any time and allows you to listen for proper pronunciation and natural speech flow.
Looking for a bit of suspense in your Spanish language books?
The horror genre isn’t something a lot of beginners dive into, but this author makes it accessible even for those who have just started on their language journey.
This book contains two stories, Espectro (Spectrum) and La Casa (The House), both filled with simple grammar constructions and relevant vocabulary.
The stories are short and sweet—with each sentence no more than 12 words long and each chapter only containing 10 sentences—which means there is plenty of space on each page if you want to take any notes.
The stories conclude with a little quiz as a reading comprehension exercise. It’s a multiple-choice quiz, so nothing scary to make you dread reaching the end of each story.
Suitable for all levels of learners, “Short Stories in Spanish” is a compilation of 10 contemporary stories by the most celebrated Hispanic writers, including Gabriel García Márquez and Laura Freixas.
Compared to the rest of the books in this category, the content might seem slightly more advanced given that each story is more or less 10 full pages.
But no need to worry: the short stories come with annotations, so you’ll have all the information you need to read them without reaching for a dictionary.
This is also a nice alternative for beginners and intermediates that want to go beyond children’s literature and explore authentic but shorter Spanish texts that are way more approachable compared to the featured writers’ novels.
“Aura” is a mystery novel about Felipe, a man who goes to work in the house of a widow to edit her deceased husband’s memoirs. While there, he meets and becomes enamored of her niece, Aura. Carlos Fuentes was a renowned writer in the Latin American world and this short novel is sure to keep you engrossed.
Much of the story is written in the present tense, so this is a great place to start if you’re still getting a handle on Spanish tenses. You’ll also pick up a lot of interesting vocabulary you wouldn’t necessarily find on a beginner’s vocabulary list.
English Title: “The Big Brown Bear”
This version of “El Gran Oso Pardo” is particularly helpful for beginners. You’ll find Spanish translations on every line alongside the English text.
You’ll not only be able to follow the mischievous adventures of our big, brown bear friend, but more importantly, you’ll also be able to see how English and Spanish correlate.
In addition, you’ll notice how the two languages compare and contrast: how their sentence constructions match up in some ways and differ in others. Take note of these aspects and you’ll not only enjoy the story but also the language book.
English Title: “The Recreation Recess”
In the spirit of looking for somebody to play with at recess, think about it—this is one of those books that you and your children (or nieces and nephews) can enjoy together!
“El Recreo Recess” is another dual-language book where you get a word-for-word Spanish translation on every page while improving your vocabulary and knowledge of Spanish sentence structures.
English Title: “Curious George: The Home Run”
If you’re as curious as George when you read this book, you’ll do so much more than just read a story about a beloved children’s book character.
By the end of the story, you’ll have a real feel for the most basic sentence and phrase structures in Spanish. You’ll see for yourself what gendered nouns are and how prepositions and pronouns work. That’s in addition to gaining new Spanish baseball vocabulary.
And if you’re really curious, well, this one’s about how George went from spectator to player on his first trip to the baseball park.
English Title: “The Tortoise and the Hare”
“La liebre y la tortuga” is the Spanish retelling of the beloved and well-known classic children’s book.
This story has a target audience of three to five years of age, but will bring as much joy to an older reader as it would to any young listener, and is an excellent way to build up your core vocabulary.
This fun, yet meaningful story is told using basic words and phrases. Additionally, the short sentences offer beginner learners a chance to practice reading Spanish aloud, without being faced with long, complex sentences.
A bonus? The book features interactive scrapbooking activities: any hands-on activities in Spanish are definitely beneficial for learners!
English Title: “Detective Papelucho”
Written by Chilean author Marcela Paz, “Papelucho Detective” is a series of 12 books written between the 1940s and 1970s about an eight-year-old middle-class boy named Papelucho.
The stories, written in diary form, detail Papelucho’s everyday life in Santiago, Chile and are based on the author’s own childhood experiences.
Books include: “Papelucho historiador” (Papelucho, the Historian), “Papelucho y el marciano” (Papelucho and the Martian) and “Papelucho ¿Soy dix-leso?” (Papelucho, Am I Dyslexic?).
These stories were unusual at the time they were written because unlike other popular children’s stories, they weren’t moralistic. These books also have lovely illustrations that help explain the story.
As the stories are written from the perspective of an eight-year-old boy, the prose is simple and easy to understand. They’re also fairly short stories, so the books are definitely manageable reads. The stories also deal with everyday life, so they’re packed with useful vocabulary.
If you really can’t get enough of Papelucho, you can also watch the “Papelucho” animated film, “Papelucho y el marciano” (Papelucho and the martian), which was released in 2007.
English Title: “Alma and How She Got Her Name”
“Alma y cómo obtuvo su nombre” is about a young girl learning about her heritage through her name.
And with a name like Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela, there’s a lot of history that needs to be uncovered.
It’s a beautiful story about family and self-discovery. And given that it’s a children’s book, the story is very accessible to beginners.
And what’s also wonderful about this book is the little author’s note at the end, where she shares the history of her own name and encourages you to share yours. It’s the perfect opportunity for a little writing practice using some of the family vocabulary and simple grammar structures from the story.
English Title: “Lucía’s Light”
This award-winning children’s tale is another great one for Spanish beginners.
“La luz de Lucía” is a story of a little firefly that’s struggling to light up like the rest of her family. The night comes when it’s finally her time to shine, but something gets in her way.
Suited for kids between the ages of four to six, it’s a gorgeous picture book full of forest vocabulary and animal terms that you don’t really come across as a novice. Luciérnaga (firefly) doesn’t appear too often in beginner Spanish curriculums, so you’d be surprised with what else you pick up from this children’s book.
As for any unnamed creatures in the illustrations, feel free to look them up in a dictionary to expand your animal vocabulary!
English Title: “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”
What happens when a mouse visits your house and asks for a cookie? Naturally, you give him one.
What follows is a funny sequence of causes and effects in “Si le das una galletita a un ratón” and you soon learn that mice are surprisingly demanding guests.
Through repetition of sentence structures, this charming classic teaches conditional tense, and will make you more confident on “if” and “then” statements.
English Title: “With Tango There Are Three”
This is a groundbreaking LGBT picture book that stars two proud, papa penguins.
Based on a true story, “Con Tango son tres” takes place at New York City’s Central Park Zoo, where two male penguins fall in love, adopt an egg and raise a penguin chick.
It’s a heartwarming story that will add to your arsenal of Spanish animal words and family vocabulary. It also uses very simple sentences, making it perfect for mid- to upper-beginner learners.
English Title: “Caps for Sale”
The book, “Se venden gorras” tells the story of a peddler trying to sell caps.
The peddler is quite unusual, however, because he wears all his hats on his head as he peddles them. One day, he decides to take a nap in a tree, but while he sleeps a group of mischievous monkeys steal his caps and refuse to give them back.
A fun book to read, you’ll also learn the simple past tense with this book, as well as descriptive adjectives.
Are you already curious about the Spanish past perfect tense? In this simple yet heartwarming story about a young boy enjoying the titular snowy day, you’ll come across phrases like el sol había derretido toda la nieve (the sun had melted all the snow).
While phrases like the above might look intimidating in books geared towards older readers, the relative simplicity of the prose in this Caldecott awardee makes the concept of pluscuamperfecto much more accessible and digestible than it would be otherwise.
English Title: “Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters”
This is a beautiful African retelling of the classic Cinderella fairy tale.
Mufaro has two daughters: kind and considerate Nyasha and selfish and mean Manyara. The king announces that he’s looking for a wife and invites all the eligible women of the land to visit him. Mufaro decides both his daughters are great candidates for queen, but who’ll win the king’s heart?
There’s much more writing in “Las bellas hijas de Mufaro” compared to the others on our list, so it’s best suited for intermediate to advanced learners. Expect more past tense, as well as conversational language in the form of dialogues.
English Title: “Are You My Mother?”
This has to be one of the most touching mother-child stories in any language.
“¿Eres Mi Mama?” is the delightful tale of a newly-hatched bird who opened his eyes not seeing his mother and ventures into the world looking for her. He meets a parade of animals who object and quickly deny that they’re related.
So as not to spoil the story for you, you’ll have to read the book to find out how the story ends.
This one’s perfect for toddlers and Spanish beginners alike.
English Title: “Rabbit and Turtle Go to School”
“Conejo y tortuga van a la escuela” tries to give a definitive answer to one of life’s most crucial questions: If a rabbit and a turtle race to school, who do you think will get there first?
There’s a catch, though. The turtle rides in a bus and the rabbit runs, but chooses his own route. So, who do you think will win? Of course, the answer’s obvious.
This is a great book for any beginning language reader that will help you on your road to Spanish fluency.
This is one of three books in a wonderful graded reader series. The other two books are called “Gael y las sombras de la huida” (Gael and the Shadows of Flight) and “Gael y el arte de la traición” (Gael and the Art of Treason).
This series uses a comic book format and the illustrations are fabulous. Each book also offers reading comprehension exercises for learners to assess their reading skills.
The series targets beginner-level learners, but anyone who enjoys comic books will love reading about Gael and his amigos (friends).
Gael is an unlikely hero. He’s a cat burglar whose adventures take him to Madrid, Mallorca and other intriguing spots. He lives a thrilling life, one which Spanish learners will be swept into with far less trouble than it takes our intrepid hero to plot a theft!
I highly recommend this series, both for its language learning strengths, as well as for the stories themselves.
English Title: “Enola Holmes and the Surprising Case of Lady Alistair”
“Enola Holmes y el sorprendente caso de Lady Alistair” is one of a series of graphic novels that feature the wildly imaginative Enola Holmes—who just so happens to be Sherlock Holmes’ younger sister!
The illustrations are gorgeous!
They’re so detailed that even if you’re struggling a bit, there’s a high probability that just by looking at the drawings that accompany the text any confusion will be quickly cleared up.
The Spanish text is engaging, while remaining in classic graphic novel style, short and to the point.
This volume includes Enola Holmes dressed in disguise and on the search for a missing teenager. She manages to keep one step ahead of her more well-known brother throughout the entire story.
This book is such an interesting read from start to finish—and engaging resources are a Spanish language learner’s best friend!
English Title: “They Were Taken Alive”
“Vivos se los llevaron” is an account of a true event.
The graphic novel format of this story makes it accessible to beginner readers, as well as more advanced learners. The passages are clear and concise and the delivery is sequential—each event is told in a logical timeline.
This fascinating factual account involves the Mexican police and 43 student teachers who disappeared from a college without a trace.
The novel relies on interviews and official documents to tell the tale.
The story includes dangerous issues that affect Mexico and many other countries, such as drugs, corrupt politicians and everyday citizens who get caught in the crossfire of these issues.
This is a true-life story that you’ll never forget. While reading, make sure you also take note of the colorful cultural references and any unfamiliar slang.
English Title: “A Wrinkle in Time”
You’ve read the original book and watched the film. It’s high time you revisited the science fiction tale in a different format—this time in a Spanish graphic novel!
“Una arruga en el tiempo” is a treasured childhood classic and perfect for beginners.
And even if you haven’t read the original text or seen the movie, the vivid illustrations clearly depict the Spanish translations, so you always have an idea of what’s actually going on in each panel.
But if the plot is, or certain words are, still unclear to you, try browsing each chapter before reading and writing down any words that you’re unsure of. Then take time to look up each word and write down each of their definitions. Don’t forget to have that list handy as you read through the chapters.
English Title: “Gloria Fuertes’ book for girls and boys: poems, stories and life”
This collection of children’s literature by poet Gloria Fuertes is a treasure.
It features over 100 poems and stories, many of which are beautifully illustrated by acclaimed artist Marta Altés, and is the ideal resource for beginner Spanish readers.
The stories are entertaining, and the poetry is simple, yet often profound. The book features dragons, bears, little chicks, turtles, kangaroos and many other adorable characters.
Not only will the stories captivate you, but they’ll also help you advance on your Spanish learning journey.
While this book is geared towards children between the ages of six and eight years old, adults will also find great pleasure in it.
English Title: “Jungle Tales”
A book of short stories for children, “Cuentos de la selva” was written in 1918 by Uruguayan author Horacio Quiroga.
Quiroga spent many years living in the jungle of Misiones, Argentina and used his experiences to bring the jungle to life in these short stories.
This is a world where crocodiles wear banana necklaces and smoke Paraguayan cigarettes, parrots invite tigers around for tea and one lazy bee drinks all the honey to avoid having to work.
These short and sweet stories are easy to read, and you’ll also improve your animal vocabulary by the time you’ve finished.
If you’re seeking variety in literature, here’s a collection of 20 original short stories that span across the genres. From romance to science fiction, you’ll observe Spanish in different contexts.
Although Spanish does vary from region to region, this book offers just enough information through each tale, for readers to have a better grasp of the language in general.
It’s highly recommended that you have a notebook ready once you finish a story, since each is followed by a little questionnaire to see how much you’ve absorbed from reading.
The questions are in English, but some of them require a response in Spanish. One exercise, in particular, asks readers to rewrite the ending of a story in Spanish and then in English.
In addition to the exercises, the author includes vocabulary, grammar and cultural notes to give you a well-rounded understanding of each short story.
Each chapter ends with the English translation, which is a nice reference to have. It’s also strategically placed after the questionnaire so you can get as much as you can out of the Spanish text instead of relying on the translation.
English Title: “Tales Told by Our Grandmothers”
A homage to family and heritage, “Cuentos que contaban nuestras abuelas” is a sneak peek into the rich Latin-American cultures diversified by their African, Arabic, European, Hebrew and indigenous roots.
From a shrewd vixen to cheerful bagpipes, these 12 stories have been passed down from generation to generation: withstanding the test of time, changing landscapes, and finally immortalized in this heartwarming anthology.
Given that these stories are distinctly Latin, this book is extremely helpful for those who want to focus on Spanish of the Americas, although it’s a still wonderful and accessible read for advanced beginners in European Spanish.
This book is for learners who want a “textbook” feel to their readings.
The “Easy Spanish Reader” is divided into three parts. The first is about Enrique and Maria. You’ll learn all about these two friends while you’re being taught some really useful vocabulary.
The second part deals with the history of Mexico, which is great because, aside from improving linguistically, you’ll get culturally acquainted with the Spanish-speaking world.
And, finally, the third section is an adaptation of that Spanish classic “Lazarillo de Tormes” (Lazarillo of Tormes), which is a story about a boy who serves a series of masters that includes a priest and an archbishop.
There are exercises between sections. And, if you diligently perform them, you’ll be richly rewarded with a firmer grasp of Spanish.
Reading the books on these lists will work well if you’re a tactile learner, but there are also numerous digital language learning options to choose from if you want to learn on the go.
For example, the learning program FluentU has a built-in multimedia flashcard system to study vocabulary. The program mostly works with authentic videos like movie clips, commercials and news segments, giving you the opportunity to see new words in context.
Since the program has accurate subtitles, you’ll get reading practice from keeping up with the video—though you can pause the video at any point, interact with the subtitles for definition info cards and replay isolated sentences.
There are also dual-language transcripts, vocabulary comprehension quizzes, multimedia flashcards and review quizzes that adapt to your learning.
So, find a nice space to sit back and enjoy the abovementioned 38 Spanish books for beginners, while learning this beautiful language and progressing your fluency.
Whether it’s a comfy sofa, hammock or just lying in bed, savor that feeling of satisfaction once you’ve read through the whole book in Spanish, and be proud of yourself. It’s time well spent.
I am enjoying FluentU. I have been using this site for a couple weeks and I have definitely noticed a huge improvement in my vocabulary. I love that it uses a lot of relevant clips like Norman fait des videos to practice REAL French, and it is presented in such a fun way that it makes it easy to practice. Using this site has become part of my daily routine.
- Rachel Hollars
I really like learning with the videos. I have studied using other methods and it was very hard to put what you were learning into context. With the videos, not only are you learning new vocabulary, you are seeing how it is used. For example the tone which is used, the body language of the person using the phrase and the reaction to the phrase being said.
- Frederick Calestini
I love how I get to see videos, listen to music and learn about real and relevant aspects of the Chinese culture. I enjoy seeing faces in those videos of actors and people that I can recognize from other programs outside of Fluent U - which again tells me that the materials I get are relevant in the real Chinese/Taiwanese culture!
- Aileen Raquel Araúz