At the beginning of this summer, I set out to see how many Spanish picture books about the ocean I could find. I already had in mind a few from my post a couple years back (30+ Kids Books in Spanish for July), but I wanted to see what else was out there, and what else had maybe been published since 2018 when I wrote that original Spanish booklist for the summer.
I ended up with some great finds! I plan to share with you all my discoveries from independent online Spanish bookstores, to Scholastic, to Usborne.
First up for today are the Spanish books about oceans from Usborne!
** Full disclosure: The Usborne books linked here will direct you to my consultant page. If you purchase through these links, I will get a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support! <3 **
What I love about Usborne:
they ship SO quickly (at least in my experience)
they have many Spanish options
if you sign up as a consultant, you get 25% back on purchases which helps you save a little money!
What you may not love about Usborne:
their books are translations from original English editions
they do not focus on Hispanic culture and heritage
the characters in their books are not as diverse as they could be (although I think they are working to improve this?)
Here’s what we got!
1001 cosas que buscar en el mar—This is a seek-and-find book. The website says it’s for ages 6+ but I feel like younger kids would like it too as long as an adult was there to help them read it.
This one is a great vocabulary builder for beginning Spanish learners. Each page spread has a super-detailed illustration of some part of the ocean, and around the edges there are items singled out with the quantity of each you can find hidden in the picture.
You could also use this books as a way to study the different ocean regions around the world, as well as the different ocean levels and what sea creatures live where.
Mares y océanos—I really love this lift-the-flap book! On Usborne’s website it says for ages 5 and up, but this book has more text than the one above, so an adult or bigger kid will need to be near by to read for the younger ones. I counted and there are 15-25 factoids on each page spread. This one is going to be great for me to get some good scientific vocabulary under my belt around the subject of marine biology!
Here’s one of the facts so you can get a feel for what level of reading it is: “Los chorlitejos picotean insectos entre las piedras. Como los huevos que ponen son moteados, pasan desapercibidos entre las piedras.”
Secretos de la costa—This little treasure might just be my favorite! I don’t know. Maybe it’s a tie between this one and the ¡Mira debajo! one. Either way, if you haven’t experienced Usborne’s “Shine-a-Light” series, you will want to snag this book! Each page has a secret image that you can illuminate by shining a light from behind the page you’re looking at.
This one is all about tide pools and the creatures that inhabit them.
Here are some other beach/ocean-themes books from Usborne. We haven’t purchased these yet, but you might enjoy them!
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner! If you’re like us—a family learning Spanish—you’re looking for St. Patrick’s Day books in Spanish. I did my best to find you some, but let me tell you it was hard! Which makes sense since St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday celebrated mostly in Ireland and the U.S. However, with the amount of Spanish speakers in the United States, I really think there should be more Spanish translations of all the wonderful St. Patrick’s Day books out there. (But maybe you weren’t asking for my two cents?)
Did I really just use sense, since, and cents in one paragraph? Ha!
Without further ado, here’s the list of St. Patrick’s Day books in Spanish to get you ready for reading in Spanish in March!
**Any Amazon links in this post are affiliate links. Any Usborne links take you to my Usborne Consultant webpage.**
I haven’t read this one, but it sounds fun and has a 5-star rating on Amazon! I used to LOVE trying to set up Leprechaun traps when I was little. Is this a tradition in your family or at your kids’ school?
I haven’t read this particular book, but I have checked out others from this series about U.S. holidays from Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy. I love the work they do! This duo is comin in clutch for us this March! This is the one and only book listed here that was written in Spanish originally.
If you want to read more about the series this book is a part of head to Alma Flor Ada’s website here.
We’ve checked out these non-fiction easy readers from our library before. I really like them (even though there is not much to them) because they help my kids who are very much beginners learn the key vocabulary words around the theme—but in complete sentences.
My Little Book for St. Patrick’s Day is a free download available on Teachers Pay Teachers from The Dreamer Teacher shop. You can have your kids color the front, and then fill in the middle pages with facts about who San Patricio was and how he is celebrated during the holiday.
One last book for you is one that I made! This is a booklet from my Jump Into Spanish club. Each week I send Spanish lesson plans straight to the inboxes of all the members . . . which include booklets like this one!
This booklet introduces a lot of St. Patrick’s Day vocabulary in different combinations.
First print out the last two pages of pictures. You’ll use those to cut and paste into the book once it’s assembled.
Next, print ALL but the last two pages in “booklet” format (it’s a setting when you get to the print screen).
Fold the pages in half and staple in the middle. (A long-arm stapler words best.)
Have your kids cut out the pictures and match them to the correct pages and paste them in!
The other day an impromptu Spanish reading lesson happened in our house! I’m no expert. I’m not trained as a reading teacher. I didn’t grow up learning how to read in Spanish as a kid. But! My daughter seemed to have fun with what we did and I think she learned some things. 😉
So I thought it would be fun to share with you all what we did in case any of you out there are trying to teach your child to read in Spanish too!
Most of my experience with teaching kids to read in Spanish is limited to watching my friends do it on Instagram and countless hours of sorting through YouTube videos and blog articles in the wee hours of the night!
I actually have a blogger friend who plans to send out scripted Spanish reading lesson plans. We are signed up for that, and you can too. Just visit her website here. But, until those come start hitting my inbox, here’s what we’ll be up to…
**This post contains affiliate links.**
Teaching Spanish Syllables
First, I learned from my dear friend Frances that Spanish reading lessons start with learning the vowels, and then the syllables. Syllables in Spanish are the vowels paired with all the Spanish consonants and beginning sounds. (Sorry, reading teachers if I’m making you cringe with my layman’s terms.)
You can read about how Frances taught her son the syllables here and here.
(I should also mention, Frances teaches one-on-one Spanish classes for all ages…so you could have her teach your children to read in Spanish if that’s a better option for your family. Just visit her website here.)
Having Things On Hand
Second, I have found it helps to have a few resources on hand. This is especially great for strewing, which is my favorite sneaky way to get my kids engaged in learning.
Here’s what we had on hand that got my little girl playing with learning to read in Spanish of her own volition.
ABC printables—I’ve used both the ones from Mr. Printables and EducaPlanet. For my big kids I put all the letters in page protectors and then bind them all in a 3-pronged folder. For my preschoolers, I just have them color the vowel pages and we focus on those first.
Letter Tiles—We have the Pairs in Pears set. But you could easily use Bananagrams (*BONUS* if you can find the Spanish version!), or these or these. It’s soooo hard to find sets in Spanish, so if you know of any, PLEASE let me know in the comments below.
Spanish Reading Books—Most sources I’ve found that tell you how to teach reading in Spanish suggest using a silabario. It’s a book that walks your kids through, first the vowels, and then the syllables.
I bought my 5- and 7-year-old Coquito. But there are lots of others which you can see here. Nacho is one I hear mentioned a lot.
Having all this on hand is what lead to our first Spanish reading lesson!!
My daughter got out her Spanish folder (which we made last year) because she wanted to do school like her brothers.
So I got out our letter tiles for fun, and her Coquito book.
We read through one of the pages looking for beginning vowel sounds. When we found the matching ones we covered it with a tile.
You can see what we did in the picture below. This is a shot from inside our Coquito book.
After that, she thought it was funny to put the WRONG tile on top. This was even better because she thought it was soooo silly and wanted to do soooo many! We were practicing vowel sounds for way longer than if I had made her do a lesson I planned myself. 😉
Being silly is such a good idea to get kiddos involved in learning.
What she did here reminds me of these silly songs that mix up vowel sounds. They might not work for Spanish learners, but are great for Spanish-speakers that are learning to read.
You can read about the silly the Veo, veo lyrics here.
Spanish Vowel Songs on YouTube
Finally, later in the afternoon that day we watched two videos on YouTube to reinforce those vowel sounds we were learning.
My faaaaavorite song for learning the vowels is this one:
Then we watched this one as well:
I will tell you that since that first reading “lesson” we have been doing more things to learn to read in Spanish that I hope to share here soon!! Stay tuned.
P.S. Tell me in the comments what you’ve done in your casas to learn to read in Spanish!!
If you’re looking for gifts for that special someone in your life that LOVES TO SPEAK SPANISH I hope this list gets you inspired! All of these gifts are in Spanish or inspired by Spanish-speaking cultures. You’ll find games in Spanish, funny or cute Spanish mugs, Spanish subscription services, funny Spanish t-shirts, and SO. MUCH. MORE.
If you have any favorite Spanish-themed shops or products that you love that aren’t on the list PLEASE share with us in the comments below.
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Reading is one of THE best ways to improve your fluency level in a language. So whether you are wanting to improve your own Spanish skills, or those of your kids, you’ll definitely want to check out all the Spanish audio books Audible has to offer. Each time I found another Spanish audio book that was available I did a little happy dance. I was freaking out how many are available. I hope you enjoy this list!
Most of the Spanish audio books listed here you can click through and listen to a sample of the Audible version in Spanish to make sure you like the voice of the narrator. I know that for some people, the narrator can make or break the ease of listening. Each sample I listened to had great narrators in my opinion though!
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For Big Kids
You can find all the Harry Potter series on Audible! The 7th one comes out February 25, 2020, but you can pre-order it now.
I am in love with this story. In our family it has helped so much to exemplify the importance of kindness, self love, and familial closeness. And it happens to be at the perfect reading level for me in Spanish. Ha!
My first-ever Audible purchase!! There are no words for this book. It’s written in old-time Spanish – even an advanced listen for native Spanish speakers. If you’ve never read it and English is your first language . . . be prepared to look up lots of words. It might even help to have a hard copy for jotting down notes or following along. But it’s SO worth it!!
Mi historia por Michelle Obabma (Becoming by Michelle Obama)
Who has read this one?! I’ve been wanting to, so I was very excited to see it’s available in Spanish!!
Isabel Allende is another magical realism author. This book is one of her most well-known. I’ve read her collection of short stories in English, The Stories of Eva Luna, but I’ve yet to read any of her novels.
Have you read any of her works? I’m curious to know your favorites.
Another classic of magical realism. We watched the Spanish movie adaptation of this novel in one of my Spanish classes in college. Raise your hand if you love to read books that have been turned into films? (Me! Me!)
Man! What an amazing list of books. There are soooo many more available, so be sure to head over to Audible and look around!! And let me know which book you choose to listen to first!!