Working on your Spanish and looking for Spanish books to read that are on your level? If you’re a young adult who has just started to learn Spanish, chances are you aren’t going to want to read a Spanish children’s book. In today’s day and age, thousands of books are easily accessible for you to expand your language. By reading in Spanish, you will improve one of the most important aspects of learning a new language.
Not much of a reader or you don’t have time to read? Then, try to find these books in audio book form! That could give you a great opportunity to improve on your Spanish listening skills, while enjoying Spanish literature. The best part about audio books is that you can listen to them wherever you are, whether you’re on the way to class, heading out from work, or commuting in the car, an audio book can be used in many situations.
Here are a few suggestions for books to read that are both level appropriate and age appropriate for any student learning Spanish.
Books for Beginner Readers
Papelucho by Marcela Paz
This fictional book is written from the perspective of a young boy, Papelucho, who lives in Chile. Papelucho goes on various different adventures around his home in Chile and writes about them in his journal. This book is written as his journal, making it very easy for beginners learning Spanish to read. Although this book is directed to young teenagers, those who have read Papelucho say that a reader of any age can relate to the stories of his adventures. There are 12 books in this series overall, so it will keep you busy as you move forward in your language skills
La Vida Imaginaria by Mara Torres
This book follows the main character, Nata, after her boyfriend over many years leaves her. As she moves through life she figures out how to deal with being on her own. This book moves through an nontraditional time line, as it doesn’t have a typical beginning, middle, and end. Rather it talks about various moments in Nata’s life. If you’re a beginner in Spanish, but moving towards intermediate, then this book would be perfect for you. The grammar and vocabulary that is used throughout the book isn’t too hard to follow. And remember, you can always use Google translate if you’re in doubt.
Las Tres Reinas Magas by Gloria Fuertes
This book, written by Gloria Fuertes, focuses on the wives of the Three Wise Men. In Spain, the story of the Three Wise Men is celebrated on January 6th. The Three Wise Men were the individuals who brought gifts to baby Jesus after his birth. In Spain, people give gifts to each other on January 6th to signify this. This book is a spin on the classic tale. In this story, the wives of the three men must bring gifts to them, as they are away at war. This book is perfect for those who are beginners.
Books for Intermediate Readers
Como Agua para Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
This book is perfect for those who have mastered the basics of Spanish and are ready to move onto a more advanced level. This book is a Spanish classic and follows the main character, Tita. Tita is in love with the man her sister is about to marry. However, she cannot do anything about it because its her duty, as the youngest sibling, to stay and take care of her mother as she becomes older. At the beginning of each chapter is a recipe of a Meixcan dish, so not only will you improve your Spanish reading skills, you may pick up the recipe for a tasty dinner as well.
Short Stories by Ruben Dario
If you don’t want to read an entire Spanish novel and would rather focus on a small story or chunk, then short stories may be the best option for you. Written at an intermediate level, Short Stories by Ruben Dario focus on short fiction stories that are not very complex. Nicaraguan, Dario, writes in a modernist style. You’ll find his stories to be fun and easy to read without excessive plots or too many story lines.
El Chaman de la Tribu
This story is centered around an Amazonian tribe, so its a great book to read if you want to learn more vocabulary related to nature. Many parts of the book discusses the nature that surrounds those in the tribe, as that is what guides their daily life. This book is directed towards young adults. The imagery used throughout will keep the reader engaged. Brush up on your nature vocab and pick up this novel!
Books for Advanced Readers
Nada by Carmen Laforet
This classical Spanish novel has won several awards since its publication in 1944. This story is also for history lovers, as it centers around Spain after the Civil War ended. Many people were left in poverty or without jobs after the war ended. The protagonist of the story, Andrea, moves to Barcelona after the war to move in with her grandmother. The house is left in poor condition, which is very upsetting to Andrea. This book follows as she grows up and deals with the hardships of life. You’ll find this novel to be perfect for you if you are on the border between intermediate and advanced.
Cien Años de Soledad by Gabriel García Márquez
This story follows the Buendia family who lives in Columbia. The patriarch of the family founded the town of Macondo in Colombia (fictitious town). Several misfortunes plague the town, and the plot follows the subsequent generations of the family that live here. This book has been published in over 37 languages, however, to practice your Spanish, read it in its original form. This book follows a large family, so it contains family trees so the reader can follow along, helping the reader to keep track of what’s going on in the story. Today, this book is known as one of the most significant books in Spanish literature.
El tiempo Entre Costuras by Maria Duenas
This book is one for history lovers with an advanced grasp on the Spanish language. In 1936, a young apprentice dressmaker, Sira, flees Spain for what she believes to be her love. The relationship doesn’t work out and she’s left alone to fend for herself in one of the most dangerous time periods in history for a Spaniard, the Spanish Civil War and World War II. Follow Sira on her journey, learn about Spanish history, and improve your Spanish all at once by reading this novel.
Books You’ve Read Before
Instead of reading one of the above mentioned books, try reading a book you’ve already read before, but translated into Spanish! That way, you won’t be focusing too hard on the plot line and smaller details in the book, but rather on the words and understanding the story as it’s written in Spanish. Start off with a smaller, less complicated book that you’ve read recently and purchase the Spanish version either online or at a Spanish bookstore. This can be a great way to improve your overall Spanish reading skills.
Push Your Skills to the Limit
Don Quijote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes
Don Quijote is one of Spain’s most famous wiriters, and author to some of the most acclaimed Spanish books out there. This layered story follows the main character, Don Quijote, who wishes to become a knight. When it was written, it was meant to be a satire of the typical knight story. However, over time, this story has become one of the most popular novels of all time. There are two different volumes of this book, published 10 years apart. Since this story is so complex and the language used is difficult for either a beginner or intermediate to understand, its recommended for advanced speakers. If you want to put your Spanish to the true test, then read this book in its “Castellano antigua” or Old Spanish. However, there are adaptations and simplified versions of this book, so a reader of any level can give it a try.
But Miguel de Cervantes is not the only Spanish author who wrote amazing classic Spanish books. You can read to test your Spanish comprehension! Take a look at our Top 5 Spanish Authors Everyone Learning Spanish Should Read!