Novels/CI Reading

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. Please note that my estimation of level is for students reading these books independently without any help, so if you’re planning on doing them as a class, they’d probably be more accessible to lower levels. Enjoy.

Easy (accessible in level 1 for sure)

  1. Edi El Elefante by Emily Ibrahim (Really Good first read)
  2. La Piñata de Renata by Craig Klein Dexemple
  3. La Capibara Con Botas by Mira Canion
  4. Bart Quiere Un Gato by Jeremy Jordan (Sr. Jordan) and Mike Coxon (Choose your own adventure book. AWESOME innovation!!!)
  5. Pablito El Ratón by Craig Klein Dexemple (AWESOME)
  6. La Familia De Federico Rico by Craig Klein Dexemple
  7. Daniel El Detective by Rebecca Landor and Niki Tottingham (Really Good)
  8. Brandon Brown Dice La Verdad by Carol Gaab (Great)
  9. Brandon Brown Quiere Un Perro by Carol Gaab (Great)
  10. Pobre Ana by Blaine Ray
  11. Pobrecita Ana Va Uno Por Uno by Shelli Thompson
  12. Pobre Ana Bailó Tango by Pat Verano and Blaine Ray
  13. Berto Y Sus Buenas Ideas by Magaly Rodriguez
  14. Berto Y Sus Buenos Amigos by Chris Stoltz
  15. Las Aventuras De Isabela by Karen Rowan
  16. Isabela Captura Un Congo by Karen Rowan
  17. El Escape Cubano by Mira Canion
  18. Brandon Brown Versus Yucatán by Carol Gaab
  19. Brandon Brown Y El Nuevo Houdini by Carol Gaab (Great)
  20. Agentes Secretos Y El Mural De Picasso by Mira Canion
  21. Tumba by Mira Canion
  22. Carl No Quiere Ir A México by Karen Rowen
  23. Patricia Va A California by Blaine Ray
  24. Peter Va A Colombia by Craig Klein Dexemple
  25. Piratas del Caribe y El Mapa Secreto por Mira Canion
  26. Casi Se Muere by Lisa Ray Turner and Blaine Ray
  27. 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. Profe Dónde y la destrucción de 612 by Christine Tiday (currently only in paperback
  9. Frida Kahlo by Kristy Placido
  10. Billy Y Las Botas by Sr. Wooly (AWESOME)
  11. La Casa De Las Dentistas by Sr. Wooly (AWESOME)
  12. Rival by Mira Canion
  13. Los Niños Detectivos by Patricia Verano
  14. Felipe Alou by Carol Gaab
  15. Robo En La Noche by Kristy Placido (Series)
  16. Noche De Oro by Kristy Placido (Sequel to Robo En La Noche)
  17. Esperanza by  Carol Gaab (Great)
  18. Rebeldes De Texas by Mira Canion
  19. El Silbón De Venezuela by Craig Klein Dexemple
  20. Mi Propio Auto by Lisa Ray Turner & Blaine Ray
  21. Casi Me Mata El Celular by A. C. Quintero
  22. Carlos Santana by Ben Lev
  23. Vidas Impactantes by Kristy Placido
  24. Conexiones by Hedstrom

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

  1. Las Tres Pruebas by Andrew Snider
  2. Soy Lorenzo by Virginia Hildebrandt
  3. Las Lágrimas De Xóchitl by Virginia Hildebrandt
  4. El Ekeko: Un Misterio Boliviano by Katie Baker
  5. Piratas Del Caribe Y El Triángulo De Bermuda by Carol Gaab and Christine Tiday
  6. La Vampirata by Mira Canion
  7. La Llorona de Mazatlan by Katie Baker (Really Good)
  8. La Chica Nueva by Jennifer Degenhardt I only found on Amazon)
  9. La Niñera by Jennifer Degenhardt I only found on Amazon)
  10. Los Sueños De Xóchitl

Harder (Probably level 3 at minimum. The ones at the end probably level 4)

  1. Los Bakers Van A Perú (has a sequel) by Nathaniel Kirby and his students
  2. La Maldición De La Cabeza Reducida by Nathaniel Kirby and his students (Sequel to Los Bakers Van A Perú)
  3. Vector by Carrie Toth
  4. Problemas En Paraíso by Carol Gaab
  5. Anabela Por Siempre by Christine Tiday I only found on Amazon)
  6. La Puerta al Sahara by Christine Tiday  (currently only in paperback
  7. La Rosa de los Vientos by Christine Tiday (currently only in paperback
  8. Capitán de los Vientos by Christine Tiday (currently only in paperback
  9. La Vida Loca de Marta by Andrew J. Snider (I only found on Amazon)
  10. El Entierro by Adriana Ramirez (I only found on Amazon)
  11. Sueños de la Isla (Baseball book) by JJ Hill and others (I only found on Amazon)
  12. Los Sobrevivientes by Bryan Kandal
  13. La espía huérfana by Andrew Snider
  14. La Calaca Alegre by Carrie Toth
  15. Todo Lo Que Brilla by Chris Mercer
  16. La Guerra Sucia by Nathaniel Kirby
  17. Vida Y Muerte En La Mara Salvatrucha by An Anonymous Author
  18. En Busca del Monstruo by Pablo Ortega Lopez and Patricia Verano
  19. Casa Dividida by Chris Mercer
  20. Pirata del Norte by R Lomas Harrell
  21. La Hija Del Sastre por Carrie Toth and Carol Gaab

Good bridge to native Spanish literatura

  1. Diario De Greg (12 books in total. Diary of a Wimpy kid in Spanish) by Jeff Kinney
  2. Diario De Nikki (12 books in total. Dork Diaries in Spanish)

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. Hasta La Sepultura by Kristy Placido
  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. Dónde Está Eduardo By Lisa Ray Turner & Blaine Ray
  7. Ángel by Bill VanPatten (currently only for Kindle)
  8. Elena by Bill VanPatten(currently only for Kindle)
  9. Los Tres Amigos by Jennifer Degenhardt
  10. El Viaje Difícil by Jennifer Degenhardt
  11. El Jersey by Jennifer Degenhardt
  12. La Novia Perfecta by Bryan Kandal
  13. La Estatua by Jeremy Jordan (Sr. Jordan)
  14. El Tesoro del Galápagos by Bryce Hedstrom
  15. 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
El viaje difícil Jennifer Degenhardt Amazon
La Lucha de la Vida Jennifer Degenhardt 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: