The Best YA Spanish Books for Teens and Pre-Teen Readers

inside: authentic Spanish books for teens and tweens.

Some of my most formative peers as a pre-teen were books. I read them over breakfast, after school, and went back to my favorites over and over again. they formed such a deep part of my imagination that anyone who loved the same books felt like an instant friend.

You are reading: Books in spanish for middle school students

In raising my bilingual children, I am very aware of the books around them. We have put together a good collection of children’s books in Spanish, but I just started reading chapter books with my 5 year old. So I dive into the world of Spanish chapter books!

at the end of this post, i will include links to classics translated into spanish like harry potter and magic treehouse. however, if you’re like me, the most exciting finds for me are really the authentic books, written for the first time in Spanish. I want my children to develop their literacy in Spanish, obviously, but on a deeper level I want them to grow up with bicultural book partners.

When I sat down to write this, I thought it would be very difficult to get authentic books in Spanish. Fortunately, my readers saved the day by offering all kinds of titles that were new to me. If you have a Spanish chapter book you love that isn’t on the list, be sure to let me know in the comments below!

Please note that this publication was written with bilingual readers or students with upper-intermediate-advanced skills in mind. If you are looking for novels for beginners with intermediate skills, I also have a post on Spanish books for beginners.

I have done my best to categorize and describe the books below. some I have personally read, and some were recommendations from other teachers and parents. Any age recommendation is based on information from Amazon.

here are the sections if you are looking for something specific:

  • Spanish immigration-themed chapter books
  • Spanish series and trilogiesh
  • classics modern Spanish
  • more chapter books in Spanish
  • chapter books translated into Spanish

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If you want to take this list to the library or save it for later, you can also get my printable Spanish book lists.

immigration-themed chapter books in Spanish

cardboard boxes: tales of the pilgrim life of a peasant boy by francisco jiménez(ages 10-12+)

Told in brief autobiographical vignettes through the eyes of a 12-year-old boy, Carton Boxes tells the story of a family of Mexican immigrants working in California in 1947. Although they experience many setbacks, their determination and hope shine through.

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this is the first of a series of four books by francisco jimenez that document his life, although only the first two are technically already books (cardboard box series order):

  • cardboard boxes (early years)
  • border trails (high school)
  • beyond me (college)
  • taking control (graduation – I had trouble finding this one in Spanish)

hope riseing by pam muñoz ryan(ages 8-12+)

Esperanza has a good life in Mexico, with everything most girls would want. But one day, her world turns upside down and she ends up running away with her mother to California, who is forced to work as a day laborer. despite everything, she discovers her own strength and happiness.

return to sender by julia alvarez(ages 10-12+)

Tyler lives in Vermont and meets a Mexican girl, Mari, when her family hires a group of migrant workers after an accident. As everyone fights to save the farm, Tyler grapples with his own questions about immigrants and the law, while Mari finds her way between her Mexican identity and her new life in the United States.

me, naomi leon by pam muñoz ryan (ages 9-12+)

The quiet life of Naomi, her grandmother, and her little brother is uprooted when their mother reappears after seven years. When Naomi finds out about her family’s past (and why her mother left), Grandma decides they should leave California for Mexico. (not recommended for children under 10 years).

trilogies / already series in Spanish

the city of beaststhe kingdom of the golden dragon the forest of the pygmies (memoirs of the Eagle and the jaguar 3) (ages 10+)

The City of Beasts is the best-known book in this trilogy by Isabel Allende, also available as a collection. the series delves into the world of magical realism, set in the middle of the South American jungle. Alexander Cold, 15, leaves her life in the United States behind to accompany her eccentric grandmother on an expedition to the Amazon that will change her life forever. Along the way they are joined by Nadia Santos, another teenager whose path joins theirs, as they move into uncharted territory.

See Also: American Civil War Picture Books for Elementary Students

memoirs of idhún de laura gallego garcía(ages 12-18)

a fantasy trilogy that follows three teenagers born on earth, but who join a resistance movement connected to another world: idhún.

marine trilogy and the prince of the mist by carlos ruiz zafón(12-18 years old)

15-year-old Oscar disappears from school after meeting Marina and making the fateful decision to follow a mysterious old woman into a graveyard. a trilogy of gothic-horror adventures set in Spain.

towards the end of the world by josé ignacio valenzuela

When her patricia friends mysteriously disappear, Ángela must use her anthropology studies to find her, delving into the secrets of the “legend of the malamor”, in which an entire town was bewitched and never felt love again. .

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manolito cute elvira glasses(ages 9-12+)

A Spanish classic, Manolito Gafotas stars in the adventures of a 10-year-old boy and his friends (and arch-enemies) in a working-class neighborhood.

the aunt lola series by julia alvarez (ages 8-12+)

This moving series by Dominican writer Julia Alvarez tells the stories of Tía Lola, who arrives from the Dominican Republic to visit her relatives in Vermont. she brings music, food, dance and a little magic to the family and eventually to the whole town.

roberto santiago’s football fans(ages 10-12+)

a light mystery series centered around a group of young soccer players who solve mysteries and learn about friendship, teamwork, and sportsmanship along the way.

the case of the lost pen by rené saldaña jr.(ages 9-12+)

mickey is a kid detective, certified by an online exam he took two years earlier. The witty and clever star helps his friends and classmates uncover the truth in this mystery series.


this is a series from spain, with readers ranging from 6 to 10 years old and covers a variety of topics and genres. I’ll include some examples at the amazon link below for 10 and up, but if you end up skimming, the books are color coded for the different levels:

white series (6 and up)blue series (7 and up)orange series (8 and up)red series (10 and more)

modern and spanish classics

the stowaway of ana maria matute’s ulysses

One day, three sisters find an orphaned baby on their doorstep. while they dedicate themselves to bringing jujú, as it is called, he creates his own world of books and imagination.

the little prince of antoine de saint-esbury

Although this was originally written in French, the Spanish version is also a long-time classic for Spanish-speakers, as one of the best-selling children’s books. Accompanied by watercolor illustrations by the author himself, it tells the story of a French pilot who crashes in the Sahara desert and meets a prince from another planet.

cocorí by joaquín gutierrez

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Cocorí is perhaps the most famous Costa Rican children’s book. tells the story of a young black man, cocorí, who meets a white girl and receives a rose from her. she asks for a spider monkey in return. this interaction triggers the rest of the story, with some beautiful life and culture lessons as well. the book has had some controversy, although it continues to be widely read in Spanish-speaking schools.

the house in mango street of sandra cisneros

An acclaimed coming-of-age novel about a young Latina teen who wants to escape her impoverished Chicago neighborhood, told through vignettes. this is a powerful work dealing with deep issues like sexual trauma and recommended for older teens.

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more titles in Spanish

the imaginary house of pilar mateos(ages 7-10+)

In Claudia’s house, the rules are not normal: there is no bedtime, for example. But when she and her friend find the keys to a secret door, everything changes.

My name is María Isabel de Alma Flor Ada (ages 7-10+)

maria isabel is a new student at school, where the teacher insists on calling her mary because there is already another maria in class. Maria must make her teacher understand that her real name is important to her because she is named after her Puerto Rican grandmother.

adventures of picofino (the green goblin) by concha lópez narváez(ages 7-10+)

an endearing story about a rooster who runs away from his farm to avoid being dinner, and embarks on a series of adventures.

letters from the sky by lydia gil(ages 8-12+)

While Celeste is still grieving the recent loss of her grandmother, mysterious letters start arriving in the mail—from her grandmother! As Celeste deals with the change in her life after the death of her grandmother, her letters guide her towards a celebration of Cuban food and traditions.

Cotton flake by María GarcíaEsperan(9-12+ years old)

Cotton Flake is the princess of Tacuba in ancient Mexico, and the history of her people during the arrival of Hernán Cortes is told through her eyes in this historical novel.

before they were free by julia alvarez(ages 12+)

Anita is a 12-year-old girl who lives in the Dominican Republic, during the dictatorship of Trujillo. When Ella’s uncle disappears and the government’s secret police begin harassing her family, Ella Anita must find her strength and freedom.

ten tales and peak of grandfather perico de juan muoz martin(ages 7-9+)

one of many titles by juan muñoz (this is book 9 in a series), for beginning readers of chapter books.

With love, amalia de alma flor ada(ages 8-12+)

amalia finds solace in her grandmother’s stories and time together after her best friends move away. When she suffers another loss, she must find the strength she didn’t know she had to carry on.

chapter books translated into Spanish

Below you can find many ideas for popular books in English that are available in Spanish. these are so well known that I will not include a small synopsis of each one; you can grab the titles from the covers!

Do you like it? fix it!

already books in Spanish and chapter books in Spanish:

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