Books to Read While Learning Spanish

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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.

If you enjoy improving your Spanish through art and media, don’t forget to check out our article about Spanish TV series and movies when learning Spanish! Additionally, check out our comprehensive guide to Learn Spanish in Madrid! In this guide we highlight Madrid’s top language schoolsLanguages exchanges, and other diverse ways to learn Spanish in the big city!

Books for Beginner Readers (A1-A2)

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

Short Stories in Spanish (for Beginners) by Olly Richards

Short stories are perfect for beginners because they give you a natural place to take a break. You can focus on one storyline at a time and ensure you’ve grasped the entire thing before moving on to a new one. That’t why we recommend this great book of short stories! This book is not only filled with 8 short, easily digestible stories, but the book was made specifically for beginners who are reading in Spanish for the first time! With checkpoints for the reader to use as they improve their Spanish comprehension, this book is a perfect choice.

El Principito by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

This classic and precious story follow a young boy (the little prince) as he travels far and wide, commenting on what life must be like as an adult from his young perspective. In truth this is a child’s book, which makes the language, sentence structure and length easy for beginner readers. However, the deep and humourous context of the story is what has allowed the story to be translated from its original French into over 250 languages.

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.

Spanish Books for Intermediate Readers (B1-B2)

Short Stories in Spanish (for Intermediates) by Olly Richards

This is the second of volume of Olly Richards popular short story collection. This time the stories are catered for intermediate readers who are ready for the next step in their reading comprehension. Just like with the first volume, this book guides readers through their reading journey, so they are not only reading increidble stories, but learning Spanish tips along the way.

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.

El Entenado by Juan José Saer

This book follows young boy on his grand avdenture as he travels with a Spanish exploration group across the Atlantic, discovering new frontiers, meeting new civilizations and escaping from perilous situations. The story is adventurous, but it also tackles topics like being a foreigner discovering a new place, missing home and the art of exploring new places – which is perfect for those who happen to be moving abroad!

El Camino by Miguel Delibes

This classic book is centered around a young boy who decides to leave his small village so he can study in a larger city and have a bigger than his parents. The story follows his route and the series of adventures that he encounters along the way. This story is great because it’s small and self contained, while also allowing the reader to learn more about post-war Spain and its smaller corners.

Spanish Books for Advanced Readers (C1-C2)

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.

The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems by Pablo Neruda

This list would not be complete with another collection of short stories – or in this case a collection of poem! Neruda is a Chilean Nobel Prize winning poet and this selection of his best works are perfect for those who want to test not only their Spanish comprehention – but who want to learn new vocabulary and concepts.

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 (Profeciency)

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.


Leah has been living in and exploring Madrid since 2013 when she moved to the city for a simple summer abroad. She started the Citylife Blog in 2014 with the goal to share everything there is to know about her favourite place on earth!

2 Comments. Leave new

  • Behnaz Mannering
    06/07/2021 21:45

    I like the book: La dama de blanco y los niños de la escarcha. It was a great read, not hard to follow and not too long.

  • Great article! I also like the book Abcalia: El viaje de los sueños. It appears in all the rankings and lists with the best novels to learn Spanish.


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