Fairy Tales and Fables: Hispanic Heritage

Revisit these classic fairy tales and fables — retold with a Latino twist! From a Caribbean Rapunzel to numerous variations on "The House That Jack Built," young readers are sure to enjoy a fresh take on these favorites.

Agua, Agua, Agua

By: Pat Mora
Illustrated by: Jose Ortega
Age Level: 3-6

Crow knows where to find water amid rocks and how to get it even though it's below the reach of his beak. The predictable patterns and repetition of words in this simple retelling of a fable invites participation. Bold illustrations use broad shapes and confident line in strong borders contained in a small format ideal for a new reader or to share on a lap.

Burro's Tortillas

Illustration of Burro making tortillas
Illustrated by: Sherry Rogers
Age Level: 3-6
Language: Spanish

Product Description: In this humorous Southwestern retelling of "The Little Red Hen," Burro finds it difficult to get any help from his friends as he diligently works to turn corn into tortillas. In addition to its Southwestern flavor and clever puns, the delightful story imparts an accurate picture of the traditional way that tortillas are made. (Spanish version available through Kindle.)

La Princesa and the Pea

A princess on a pile of mattresses
Illustrated by: Juana Martinez-Neal
Age Level: 3-6, 6-9
Language: English, Spanish vocabulary featured

The Princess and the Pea gets a fresh twist in this charming bilingual retelling, winner of the Pura Belpré Medal for Illustration. El príncipe knows this girl is the one for him, but, as usual, his mother doesn’t agree. The queen has a secret test in mind to see if this girl is really a princesa, but the prince might just have a sneaky plan, too. Readers will be enchanted by this Latino twist on the classic story, and captivated by the vibrant art inspired by the culture of Peru.

Paco and the Giant Chile Plant

Illustrated by: Elizabeth O. Dulemba
Age Level: 3-6

Product description: The Southwestern desert is the setting for this humorous variation on the classic fairy tale "Jack and the Beanstalk." This bilingual book is presented as embedded text with the story told mostly in English and a sprinkling of Spanish throughout. The dusty desert feel is captured in deep pastel colored illustrations.

Sugar Cane: A Caribbean Rapunzel

Illustrated by: Raúl Colón
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: Stolen away from her parents on her first birthday by island sorceress Madam Fate, beautiful Sugar Cane grows up in a tower overlooking the sea, her only consolation her love of music. Then one night, someone does hear her song, but could this young man with a gift for music break the spell of Madam Fate and help Sugar Cane set herself free? Patricia Storace's lyrical and poignant retelling of the Rapunzel tale in a Caribbean setting is perfectly matched with Raúl Colón's lush illustrations.

The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred

Illustration of young woman running with bowl and wooden mixing spoon
Illustrated by: Rafael López
Age Level: 3-6
Language: English, Spanish vocabulary featured

Start with a farm maiden and a pot, invite some friends to help her, and before you know it, you have arroz con leche — and a rollicking party! Told in the style of "The House That Jack Built," this lively story incorporates new Spanish words into each refrain, which are highlighted by Rafael López's vibrant and entertaining illustrations. Activity guide available.

The Park Our Town Built

A town park
Illustrated by: Tanja Bauerle
Age Level: 3-6
Language: English, Spanish vocabulary featured

In the style of "The House That Jack Built," Diane Gonzales Bertrand offers a lively picture book that tells the story of a community coming together to build a park for the town. The story highlights key vocabulary words in English and Spanish with matching pictures, making it an excellent read-aloud choice for young children learning comprehension and predicting skills in either language.

The Piñata That the Farm Maiden Hung

Illustration of a young girl hanging a piñata.
Illustrated by: Sebastià Serra
Age Level: 3-6
Language: English

A young girl sets out on errands for the day, and while she's gone, the farm maiden prepares a piñata from scratch with help from a boy, horse, goose, cat, sheep, and farmer. After they all fall asleep in the afternoon sun, they must scramble to finish preparations in time--just as the girl arrives back to her surprise party. Key English words change to Spanish as the cumulative verse builds to the celebratory ending. With the familiarity of "The House That Jack Built," the tale cleverly incorporates Spanish words, adding a new one in place of the English word from the previous page.

The Pot That Juan Built

man holding pot
Illustrated by: David Diaz
Age Level: 6-9
Language: English, Spanish vocabulary featured

This book, told in the style of "The House That Jack Built," is about a famous potter named Juan Quezada who lives in the small Mexican village of Mata Ortiz. Quezada's art has brought attention to Mata Ortiz because he creates his pottery using the same techniques that were used by the Casas Grandes Indians many years ago.

The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet!

Illustration of a rooster who is crowing
Illustrated by: Eugene Yelchin
Age Level: 6-9
Language: Spanish (Bilingual Eng/Sp)

La Paz is a happy, but noisy village. A little peace and quiet would make it just right. So the villagers elect the bossy Don Pepe as their mayor. Before long, singing of any kind is outlawed. But there is one noisy rooster who doesn't give two mangos about this mayor's silly rules. Instead, he does what roosters were born to do. This allegory celebrates the spirit of freedom, and the courage of those who are born to sing at any cost.

The Runaway Piggy

Illustrated by: Laura Lacamara
Age Level: 3-6

Product Description: In the classic tradition of "The Gingerbread Man," James Luna's piggy cookie leaps off the baking tray and takes the reader on a mad dash through the barrio. The cochinito fugitivo avoids being eaten by the long line of people chasing him through the neighborhood streets…until he meets a crafty little girl named Rosa! Children — and adults too — will delight in the clever piggy's escape from Martha's Panaderia in this entertaining re-telling of a familiar story set in a colorful Latino neighborhood.