Novels, FVR/SSR

This page is dedicated to compiling a list of all available CI-friendly novels, book trailers, and our musings on building a FVR/SSR program.

Something I’ve wanted along the way has been an all-inclusive list of all CI friendly books-books that were designed for beginner language students from all the different publishing houses. I never found one, so I’ve made one below. Enjoy.

Easy (accessible in level 1 for sure)

  1. Edi El Elefante by Emily Ibrahim (Really Good first read)
  2. La Capibara Con Botas by Mira Canion
  3. Bart Quiere Un Gato by Jeremy Jordan (Sr. Jordan) and Mike Coxon (Choose your own adventure book. AWESOME innovation!!!)
  4. Pablito El Ratón by Craig Klein Dexemple (AWESOME)
  5. La Familia De Federico Rico by Craig Klein Dexemple
  6. Daniel El Detective by Rebecca Landor and Niki Tottingham (Really Good)
  7. Brandon Brown Dice La Verdad by Carol Gaab (Great)
  8. Brandon Brown Quiere Un Perro by Carol Gaab (Great)
  9. Pobre Ana by Blaine Ray
  10. Pobrecita Ana Va Uno Por Uno by Shelli Thompson
  11. Pobre Ana Bailó Tango by Pat Verano and Blaine Ray
  12. Berto Y Sus Buenas Ideas by Magaly Rodriguez
  13. Berto Y Sus Buenos Amigos by Chris Stoltz
  14. Las Aventuras De Isabela by Karen Rowan
  15. Isabela Captura Un Congo by Karen Rowan
  16. El Escape Cubano by Mira Canion
  17. Brandon Brown Versus Yucatán by Carol Gaab
  18. Brandon Brown Y El Nuevo Houdini by Carol Gaab (Great)
  19. Agentes Secretos Y El Mural De Picasso by Mira Canion
  20. Tumba by Mira Canion
  21. Carl No Quiere Ir A México by Karen Rowen
  22. Patricia Va A California by Blaine Ray
  23. Peter Va A Colombia by Craig Klein Dexemple
  24. Casi Se Muere by Lisa Ray Turner and Blaine Ray
  25. El Viaje De Su Vida by Lisa Ray Turner and Blaine Ray

Still pretty basic (level 1 still or level 2)

  1. La Bella Mentira by A. C. Quintero
  2. La Clase de Confesiones Dos by A. C. Quintero (Really Good)
  3. Ataques de Hambre by Eric Herman
  4. Superburguesas by Mike Peto (Highly recommend)
  5. Noches Misteriosa En Granada by Kristy Placido
  6. Fiesta Fatal by Mira Canion (AWESOME)
  7. Bianca Nieves Y Los Siete Toritos by Carrie Toth
  8. Frida Kahlo by Kristy Placido
  9. Billy Y Las Botas by Sr. Wooly (AWESOME)
  10. La Casa De Las Dentistas by Sr. Wooly (AWESOME)
  11. Rival by Mira Canion
  12. Los Niños Detectivos by Patricia Verano
  13. Felipe Alou by Carol Gaab
  14. Robo En La Noche by Kristy Placido (Series)
  15. Noche De Oro by Kristy Placido (Sequel to Robo En La Noche)
  16. Esperanza by  Carol Gaab (Great)
  17. Rebeldes De Texas by Mira Canion
  18. El Silbón De Venezuela by Craig Klein Dexemple
  19. Mi Propio Auto by Lisa Ray Turner & Blaine Ray
  20. Casi Me Mata El Celular by A. C. Quintero
  21. Carlos Santana by Ben Lev
  22. Vidas Impactantes by Kristy Placido
  23. Conexiones by Hedstrom

Getting harder (Probably level 2 at the minimum. Maybe level 3)

  1. Soy Lorenzo by Virginia Hildebrandt
  2. Las Lágrimas De Xóchitl by Virginia Hildebrandt
  3. El Ekeko: Un Misterio Boliviano by Katie Baker
  4. Piratas Del Caribe Y El Triángulo De Bermuda by Carol Gaab and Christine Tiday
  5. La Vampirata by Mira Canion
  6. La Llorona de Mazatlan by Katie Baker (Really Good)
  7. Los Bakers Van A Perú (has a sequel) by Nathaniel Kirby and his students
  8. La Maldición De La Cabeza Reducida by Nathaniel Kirby and his students (Sequel to Los Bakers Van A Perú)
  9. Vector by Carrie Toth
  10. Hasta La Sepultura by Kristy Placido
  11. Problemas En Paraíso by Carol Gaab

Harder (Probably level 3 at minimum. Maybe 4)

  1. La Calaca Alegre by Carrie Toth
  2. Todo Lo Que Brilla by Chris Mercer
  3. La Guerra Sucia by Nathaniel Kirby
  4. Vida Y Muerte En La Mara Salvatrucha by An Anonymous Author


Good bridge to native Spanish literatura

  1. Diario De Greg (12 booksin total) by Jeff Kinney

Recommended by Mike Peto and others for Heritage Learners or for kids who need some intriguing book to spark a reading interest. Found on Amazon.

  1. ¡Sonríe! by Raina Telgemeier
  2. Hermanas by Raina Telgemeier
  3. Coraline, novela gráfica – by Neil Gaiman
  4. Maus – by Art Spiegelman (preview with white-out marker)
  5. Orange (books 1-5) – by Ichigo Takano (Mike only had success with heritage students)
  6. Canciones para Paula by Blue Jeans (and other books by Blue Jeans)
  7. Pío Pista by Michael Miller
  8. Pío Pista Y María by Michael Miller (Sequel)
  9. En la vida real – by Cory Doctorow
  10. María y yo – by Miguel Gallardo
  11. Desaparecido (books 1-6) – by Kei Sanbe
  12. Los dioses mienten (preview?) – by Kaori Ozaki
  13. El diario gatuno de Junji Ito –by  Junji Ito
  14. Persépolis integral – by Marjane Satrapi (preview with white-out marker)
  15. Arrugas – by Paco roca
  16. Pyongyang – by Guy Delisle
  17. Naruto (many books… preview with white-out marker) – by Masashi Kishimoto
  18. Dragon Ball (many books… preview with white-out marker) – by Akira Toriyama
  19. Oshinbo a la carte (books 1-7) – Tetsu Kariya & Akira Hanasaki Japanese cuisine with a plot
  20. El Internado (the book, not the video program) (I only found on Amazon and super expensive)

Don’t know how difficult these are yet…Still need to read them.

  1. En Busca del Monstruo by Pablo Ortega Lopez and Patricia Verano
  2. El Viaje Perdido by Lisa Ray Turner & Blaine Ray
  3. Viva El Toro by Lisa Ray Turner and Blaine Ray
  4. Los Ojos De Carmen by Veronica Moscoso
  5. Vida O Muerte En El Cusco  by Lisa Ray Turner & Blaine Ray
  6. Casa Dividida by Chris Mercer
  7. Dónde Está Eduardo By Lisa Ray Turner & Blaine Ray
  8. Pirata del Norte by R Lomas Harrell
  9. Ángel by Bill VanPatten (currently only for Kindle)
  10. Elena by Bill VanPatten(currently only for Kindle)
  11. Anabela Por Siempre by Christine Tiday I only found on Amazon)
  12. La Puerta al Sahara by Christine Tiday  (currently only in paperback
  13. Profe Dónde y la destrucción de 612 by Christine Tiday (currently only in paperback
  14. La Rosa de los Vientos by Christine Tiday (currently only in paperback
  15. Capitán de los Vientos by Christine Tiday (currently only in paperback
  16. Planeta Zombilandia by Patricia Lopez I only found on Amazon)
  17. La Chica Nueva by Jennifer Degenhardt I only found on Amazon)
  18. La Niñera by Jennifer Degenhardt I only found on Amazon)
  19. Los Tres Amigos by Jennifer Degenhardt
  20. El Viaje Difícil by Jennifer Degenhardt
  21. El Jersey by Jennifer Degenhardt
  22. Los Sobrevivientes by Bryan Kandal
  23. La espía huérfana by Andrew Snider (I only found on Amazon)
  24. Las Tres Pruebas by Andrew Snider (I only found on Amazon)
  25. La Vida Loca de Marta by Andrew J. Snider (I only found on Amazon)
  26. El Entierro by Adriana Ramirez (I only found on Amazon)
  27. Sueños de la Isla (Baseball book) by JJ Hill and others (I only found on Amazon)
  28. La Novia Perfecta by Bryan Kandal
  29. La Estatua by Jeremy Jordan (Sr. Jordan)
  30. El Tesoro del Galápagos by Bryce Hedstrom
  31. Pancho y las Momias by Rachel Emery


Titles I’m planning on ordering for next year (might include some duplicates from above)

Las Apariencias Engañan A.C. Quintero Amazon
El muerto en el armario A.C. Quintero ?
Las Sombras A.C. Quintero ?
Persona Normal Benito Taibo Amazon
La Novia Perfecta Bryan Kandal Amazon
El tesoro del Galápagos Bryce Hedstrom Bryce’s Store
El Jersey Jennifer Degenhardt Amazon
Los Tres Amigos Jennifer Degenhardt Amazon
El viaje difícil Jennifer Degenhardt Amazon
La Lucha de la Vida Jennifer Degenhardt Amazon
La Estatua Jeremy Jordan TPRS Books
Bart quiere un gato Jeremy Jordan and Mike Coxon TPRS Books
Pancho y las momias Rachel Emery Amazon
Diario de Nikki 1: Crónicas de una vida muy poco glamuros
Rachel Renee Russell and RBA-MOLINO
Diario de Nikki 2: Cuando no eres la reina de la fiesta precisamente
Rachel Renee Russell and RBA-MOLINO
Diario de Nikki 3: Una Estrella de Pop Muy Poco Brillante
Rachel Renee Russell and RBA-MOLINO
Diario de Greg 5: La Horrible Realidad Jeff Kinny Amazon
Diario de Greg 6: Sin Salida Jeff Kinny Amazon
Diario de Greg 7: Tres No Es Compañía Jeff Kinny Amazon
Diario de Greg: Mala Suerte Jeff Kinny Amazon
Diario de Greg 9: El Arduo Viaje Jeff Kinny Amazon
Diario de Greg 10: Vieja Escuela Jeff Kinny Amazon
Diario de Greg 11: A Toda Marcha Jeff Kinny Amazon
Diario de Greg 12: La Escapada Jeff Kinny Amazon
El Primer Trabajo De Roberto Laura Stade Amazon
Juliana Rosana Navarro and Margarita Pérez García Amazon


Other formats than books:

  1. Martina Bex Literal is a free monthly literary magazine she just started in November of 2017 that publishes student submitted work and literary criticism. It is beautifully edited and VERY COOL!!!
  2. Reading A to Z has hundreds of levelled readers at beginning levels. Expensive subscription needed, like $100/year. And many of the books are infantile or a bit dry. But it is another option.
  3. Epic Reads- a free website has 30-40 books in Spanish, although most are meant for young native readers, so the themes are infantile.

Where to buy:

There are two major websites: TPRS Books and TPRS Publishing / Fluency Matters. Almost all of the books not found on those sites can be purchased from Amazon. If you can’t find a title any of those three locations, just search the book and author. Some of the independent authors have small sites on their blogs.

EUROPEAN SHOPPERS: You can save on shipping from buying from this website based in the EU:

Quick Notes about Free Voluntary Reading

  1. To buy these books, you can try Fluency Matters, TPRS Books, Bryce Hedstrom’s Store, Amazon, and a handful of authors who have their own stores (Craig Klein Dexemble, Mira Canion, Christine Tiday, etc.)
  2. I’ve tried to rank them based on how difficult they are, but everyone has their own opinion of language difficulty, so take it with a grain of salt. They are, at the very least, in a general order. If you want something more exact and methodical, Bryce Hedstrom has an AMAZING, AMAZING, AMAZING document here that analyzes lots about some of the books in my list (total word count, unique word count, tense, etc.).
  3. Defense of FVR: I tried class-wide novel reading for a year. It didn’t work for me. The students hated the experience. Every time I announced it was reading time, their eyes rolled and they groaned. I tried Piratas del Caribe y el Mapa Secret and they hated it. I tried Esperanza and they hated it. But now that I’ve switched to FVR, those are two of my most popular books, especially Esperanza. I know a lot of the authors and other folks would say that I’m just not doing it right. But I think there’s more to it, and Dr. Krashen’s research into free voluntary reading largely backs that up. It wasn’t differentiated enough. It couldn’t appeal to the vastly different personalities and reading preferences present in each class. So it was the format of class-wide reading that didn’t work for my students. Now, those two books mentioned above are two of the absolutely most popular novels to read! I recently tried reading to them from Billy y las Botas as a treat. Same thing. In less than 3 minutes, I’d lost half the class to boredom. But in the FVR format, Billy Y Las Botas is wildly popular. (Note: My colleague on this site, Erin, has found much greater success with whole class novels at the middle school level. That could speak to her personality in particular or to middle school classes in general. I don’t know.)
  4. Popularity: The most popular book by far has been Pablito El Ratón. Kids of all levels love it! Right on the same level have been my classes’ Invisibles stories from last year, so I encourage everyone to make your own classes’ stories available during FVR. There’s a second tier of popularity among my kids that includes: Fiesta Fatal first and foremost, then Billy Y Las Botas and La Casa de la Dentista, all the Brandon Brown books, Esperanza, and Noches Misteriosas en Granada. As more books get published, more student favorites emerge! Yay!
  5. Funding: I send out Novel Donation Letter asking for money from parents explaining the rationale for buying books. Works for my community. Each year I raise over $1000. You´re free to adapt and use it.
  6. Why not children’s books: Children’s literature is actually quite advanced. The books written by and for the CI community are much more comprehensible and have many, many times the number of words in each title than children’s books. Plus, they reflect more mature themes which is necessary given my high school audience.
  7. Buying books: Since I’m interested in running an FVR program, not class-wide reading, I prioritize buying a few copies of all the titles rather than a class set of a few titles.
  8. Accountability: In my FVR program, the only accountability I use is by grading their reading habits every once in awhile using Habits of Strong Readers Rubric. But after the first week, it’s only as needed. Research shows they learn more with less accountability. Works for me!! Less grading!
  9. Mike Peto has a great blog called CI Reading, which is dedicated to reviewing and promoting independently published novels so they don’t get lost in oblivion online. Go check his reviews out!!
  10. Make-up work: I check books out from my library for makeup work in addition to students translating whatever text we recorded from class. It gives them quality input. I usually require two chapters for every class missed with a two sentence summary in English for each chapter.



Book Trailers:

  1. Los Sobrevivientes by Bryan Kandel:
  2. Superburguesas by Mike Peto:
  3. Noches Misteriosas En Granada by Kristy Placido:
  4. La Isla Más Peligrosa by John Sifert: