We’re seeing tremendous growth in our list of Spanish-language books for children,” says Melanie Cordova, an editor at Candlewick Press and a 2021 PW Star Watch honoree. Candlewick started translating titles into Spanish in 2009, and the publishing house releases approximately four Spanish books per year, with a total of 50 so far. The titles are for a range of ages—from board books to middle grade and young adult novels—and are a mix of original works, translations from English, and bilingual editions. “We sometimes pick titles from our list to translate, or we work with a translator and author to create books for the list,” Cordova says.
The Spanish publishing program is evolving with the times. For example, the most recent list includes La víspera de Orgullo by Joanna McClintick, illustrated by Juana Medina, which is the Spanish translation of The Night Before Pride. “The translator, David Bowles, used nonbinary, gender-neutral language for the book,” Cordova says. “In this way, we are making progress in small but important ways.”
Cordova credits her “incredible group of authors, illustrators, and translators” for the success of the list, whose sales were up 30% in 2021 compared to the previous year. The market for Spanish-language books is broad, and Candlewick’s customers include independent bookstores, school libraries, Barnes & Noble, and nontraditional book retailers. “I can only see sales getting stronger in the coming year as retailers and readers become more aware of the books we have to offer,” Cordova says.
Featured titles on the Candlewick en español list for the spring/summer of 2022 include the following:
A veces, yo soy todo lo que necesito
Juliana Perdomo, out now
Perdomo, an author and art therapist in Bogota, Colombia, highlights themes of resiliency, mindfulness, and self-care in this story about a little girl who learns to self sooth in moments of discomfort.
Leila, la brujita perfecta
Flavia Z. Drago, July
The author of Gustavo, The Shy Ghost, which is also available in Spanish as Gustavo, el fantasmita tímido, is back with the story of Leila, a confident witch who has won trophies for potions, herbology, and alchemy—and now she dreams of winning the Magnificent Witchy Cake-Off. As the youngest in a long line of masters of the Dark Arts of Patisserie, Leila wants her entry to be perfect. But even with the most bewitching of recipes, she realizes a terrible truth: she’s a disaster in the kitchen.
Lupe Lopez: ¡Reglas de una estrella de rock!
E.E. Charlton-Trujillo and Pat Zietlow Miller, illus. by Joe Cepeda, trans. from the English by Georgina Lazaro, June
This picture book, based on Charlton-Trujillo’s childhood experiences in Texas, recounts the first day of kindergarten for Lupe Lopez, a would-be rock star who tries to attract fans and not friends, until her teacher tempers her enthusiasm, causing her to reconsider—“Maybe it isn’t such a bad idea to make friends after all.”
Un verano especial con la abuela
Tania de Regil, Aug.
During her first trip outside her hometown of Mexico City, a young girl discovers why her grandmother really is a special person. The author, who lives in Mexico City, incorporates poems written by her grandfather into the book’s illustrations.
La víspera de Orgullo
Joanna McClintick, illus. by Juana Medina, trans. from the English by David Bowles, out now
It’s the night before Pride, and families are preparing for the festivities. McClintick—a debut author and social worker at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center in Manhattan—offers joyful illustrations and lyrical, age-appropriate rhyme modeled on “The Night Before Christmas.”