Strategically Purcharsing Novels

Disclaimer: This blog post is about Spanish novels. Many of them have been translated into other languages, but many of them haven’t… So, non-Spanish teachers, I hope you can still get something from my advice.


Building a CI Reading Program is a worthy venture. But lots of teachers don’t have $2000 to plop down on getting multiple copies of every CI authored novel out there. so, here’s my recommendation for how to build your library strategically:

Start by buying the beginner books. It’s easy to overestimate what beginner students can do when reading independently because they can understand much more complicated language when supported by the teacher in class. Beginner students should read a number of the easiest books before moving up in difficulty.

After you get a couple copies of the best beginner novels, I would get 1 copy of all the rest applicable for your level of classes before getting multiple copies so as to expand your title offerings as quickly as possible.

Below are my top picks from each level. There are many other books, and many of them are really good. But these are the best in my opinion, and in the general opinion of my classes.

Super Easy (Like 1st Read Easy)

  1. A Puerco le Gusta Hacer Selfies by Terry Waltz (The easiest book out there)
  2. Edi El Elefante by Emily Ibrahim (Really Good first read)
  3. Pablito El Ratón by Craig Klein Dexemple
  4. La Familia De Federico Rico by Craig Klein Dexemple
  5. El Capibara con Botas by Mira Canion

Not Super Easy but still pretty easy. Maybe as a 2nd Book.

  1. Brandon Brown Quiere Un Perro by Carol Gaab (Consistently beloved by students)
  2. Brandon Brown Dice La Verdad by Carol Gaab
  3. Agentes Secretos Y El Mural De Picasso by Mira Canion
  4. Isabela Captura Un Congo by Karen Rowan
  5. El Escape Cubano by Mira Canion
  6. Fiesta Fatal by Mira Canion (AWESOME)
  7. Papacito by Craig Klein Dexemple
  8. Daniel El Detective by Rebecca Landor and Niki Tottingham
  9. Esperanza by  Carol Gaab (Great)
  10. Piratas Del Caribe Y El Mapa Secreto by Mira Canion
  11. Brandon Brown Y El Nuevo Houdini by Carol Gaab
  12. La Estatua by Jeremy Jordan (wonderful illustrations)

Bridging to level 2 / Level 2

  1. Conexiones by Bryce Hedstrom (a comprehensible, compelling encyclopedia of Latin America. Really cool for the right student!)
  2. La Bella Mentira by A. C. Quintero (is the 2nd book in the series, but it summarized the first book in the first two chapters, and the first book moves a bit slow, so I just recommend that students read the second book)
  3. Ataques de Hambre by Eric Herman
  4. Superburguesas by Mike Peto (Highly recommend)
  5. Noches Misteriosa En Granada by Kristy Placido
  6. Billy Y Las Botas by Sr. Wooly (AWESOME)
  7. La Casa De Las Dentistas by Sr. Wooly (AWESOME)
  8. Carlos Santana by Ben Lev
  9. Piratas Del Caribe Y El Triángulo De Bermuda by Carol Gaab and Christine Tiday
  10. La Llorona de Mazatlan by Katie Baker (Really Good)


Most of the books above this literacy level get pretty interesting because expanding vocab helps so much to make books interesting with more vocab. However my favorites for advanced students are:


  1. Como Salir de la Zona de Amigos by A.C. Quintero
  2. Casi Me Mata El Celular (a.k.a. El Escape) by A. C. Quintero
  3. Las Tres Pruebas by Andrew Snider
  4. Piratas Del Caribe Y El Triángulo De Bermuda by Carol Gaab and Christine Tiday
  5. Secretos by Jennifer Degenhardt
  6. Los Tres Amigos by Jennifer Degenhardt
  7. La Madre Perfecta by Rachel Emery
  8. Pancho y Las Momias by Rachel Emery
  9. Anabela Por Siempre by Christine Tiday I only found on Amazon)
  10. La Puerta al Sahara by Christine Tiday  (buy here: com)
  11. La Rosa de los Vientos by Christine Tiday (buy here: com)
  12. Capitán de los Vientos by Christine Tiday (buy here: com)
  13. Sueños de la Isla (Baseball book) by JJ Hill
  14. Los Sobrevivientes by Bryan Kandal
  15. Vida Y Muerte En La Mara Salvatrucha by Anonomous Author
  16. Casa Dividida by Chris Mercer
  17. Todo lo que Brilla by Chris Mercer
  18. La Hija Del Sastre por Carrie Toth and Carol Gaab
  19. La Calaca Alegre by Carrie Toth



    • Thanks Mira! I’ll add those. Don’t know how capibara slipped my mind as I own like 10 copies!!! Love your books, especially Fiesta Fatal! Mike was telling me that you were working on another really basic one. I guess that’s the “la perezosa impaciente.” Thank you for concentrating on this new reader category!!!


  1. Leí que Bart quiere un gato y fue un libro muy bueno. Pero creo que mis libros favoritos que leí eran capibara con botas y billy y las botas


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