Adventures in Graphic Novels for Spanish language learners

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“Profe, can we PLEASE have another reading day for our warm-up?!” Is that a question you commonly get asked in your classroom? I hope so! But for many the answer is no. For most students, reading isn’t something that they enjoy or want to do for fun. But graphic novels can change that for a group of your kids! Many students connect with this genre and style of book in their native language… so why not in their additional languages? Before you continue reading – just make a mental note that the focus of this particular post is on graphic novel type books for language learners. Though, I firmly believe it is super important to have a wide variety of all books, at all levels, on all topics… the focus here is on graphic novels. We love all types of books and support all types and styles of books – just writing specifically about graphic novels 🙂 Now, keep reading.

If you know about any graphic novel for Spanish language learners, you probably know about Señor Wooly. When it comes to “making Spanish learning fun” he’s really the OG. From his class-made videos and song to the fully professionally done cartoon type music videos of today, he’s got “fun” pretty cornered for the Spanish language market. BUT, he’s also turned quite a few of his songs / stories into graphic novels, and they’re student favorites for sure! One of his newer ones, La lucha de la limonada is even available in print in four different proficiency levels. Pretty neat. The novels come at a discount to site members, and occasionally are discounted for other reasons, so keep your eye out! Students love the amazingly designed and colorful pages, the familiar characters, and the captivating stories.

One of my other favorite large group of graphic novel type books is by Craig Klein Dexemple – or Spanish Cuentos. While all of Craig’s books are heavy on the illustrations giving them a graphic novel type effect, Craig has now released 3 “true” graphic novels with Gorila blanco, Larry va a Colombia, & Feliz como una lombriz. I have never had a student read one of Craig’s books and not be thrilled with the stories and the images. They’re captivating and they’re at a great novice level. Most of my Level 1s and Level 2s fight over this collection of books until they’re all taken.

Another subset of graphic novel type books are Camilla Given’s Carlos series. These books are written in a picture, sentence style – so like a simplified graphic novel! They are also super novice and are great for first-time readers in Spanish. Thankfully, Carlos has several adventures that he goes on, so the 3 series book will soon be 4 for students to continue to keep track of what’s going on with Carlos!

The rest of these are a random collection of graphic novel type books that vary over levels. While Señor Wooly and Spanish Cuentos tend to lean towards the lower novice side, some of these next recommendations are a little higher level. Pintando con las manos – this is one of my favorites stories!! My only wish for this level 1 reader is that it was in color! I won’t spoil the story, but the name gives you some hints 🙂 Jalisco – this is definitely an upper level book. My Level 2s found it too difficult, but I’ve had some level 3s enjoy it. Full color and lovely illustrations! Lola – this is a cute little Level 1 book about a cat. I’m super excited to debut this to my Level 1s when we start FVR next week! A wrinkle in time (in Spanish!) – definitely an upper level story written in Spanish, but if student’s are familiar with the English text it could be an easier lift. Cambios – I have some Level 2s that have found success with this one. It’s a much longer / thicker book. So it requires some determination for a committed reader. I’d guess it’s at least 2 – 3 times as long as any of the others. The Jake Maddox series is also really popular among my sports loving students because they read them in English and now they are reconnecting in Spanish!

If you’re looking to add graphic novels – or any other novels to your shelves – you can click this link to visit my Amazon Storefront where I’ve created a list of Graphic Novels, Level 1 books, Level 2 books, Level 3/4 books for you for ease of shopping! You can also purchase books from CPLI.net or waysidepublishing.com depending on what you’re looking for – I just like Amazon for the free shipping 🙂 If you have any graphic novels I should add to the list, let me know! Happy reading!

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