Selecting Spanish | Collection Development: Spanish-Language Fiction & Beyond, May 1, 2016

According to book purveyor Baker & Taylor, "sales of Spanish-language material has grown over the last three years to over $12M at list." Need we say more? These 31 titles should bolster any collection or create a solid core for those starting out. ¡Vámonos!


U.S. libraries serve Spanish-speaking patrons around the country by providing collections in their native languages. The need for quality Spanish-language materials is considerable and continues to grow. In 2015, the Spain-based nonprofit Instituto Cervantes reported ( that more Spanish speakers live in the United States than in Spain: 41 million, with 11.6 million who are bilingual.

Jenny Johnson, manager, corporate administration, at Baker & Taylor (B&T), shares that “sales of Spanish-language material has grown over the last three years to over $12 million at list” and that, “with over 40 percent of sales,” the library market is a significant player in this arena. In order for librarians to serve these patrons and keep up with the wide world of Spanish-language publishing, they must consider different aspects from those related to English-language selections: trends, library demands, imports vs. U.S. editions, and the resources available to them.

Trends to watch

Leylha Ahuile, writing in Publishers Weekly, points out that there is a high demand for self-improvement literature in the Spanish-­language book market in the United States, including books on “finance, health, marriage, parenting, acquiring or improving skills, entrepreneurship, leadership, and spirituality” ( Silvia Matute, president of Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial (PRHGE), emphasizes the importance of serving a diverse population with different backgrounds, levels of education, needs, and tastes, explaining that YA literature is one area seeing large readership, which she credits to “movie tie-ins and the crossover to adult women who have become fans of this genre.”

Eida del Risco, purchasing manager at Lectorum Publications, indicates that public libraries continue asking for popular books, including romance, thrillers, computers for beginners, and novels translated from English. On the children’s side, Lectorum has seen an increase in titles supporting the Common Core curriculum.

Imports vs. U.S. editions

To maintain a solid selection of Spanish materials in libraries, it is essential to choose books published in other countries. Matute says that “both imports and U.S. editions have a place in this market” but points out that the list of titles published abroad in Spanish is vast and that PRHGE alone imports ad distributes more than 400 titles annually from Latin America and Spain.

Further, Lucía Laratelli, general manager for distributor Spanish Publishers, LLC, shares that the company saw tremendous growth after it began distributing titles from Salamandra, a Barcelona-based publisher that offers a number of U.S. and international best sellers in translation.

How can librarians keep up?

Selecting Spanish-language materials can be challenging, especially for librarians who don’t know the language. To keep the collection relevant, librarians must provide materials pertinent to their local community. Below are some tips.

Attend local and international book fairs if your library’s budget allows, or follow coverage and events on social media.

Sign up for publishers’ newsletters. Some of the major U.S.-based Spanish-language imprints are Atria Books Español, Celebra, Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial USA, ­Vintage Español, and HarperCollins Español.

Distributors can help with selection as well, and librarians should request customized profiles reflecting the specific needs and interests of the library patrons being served. B&T’s Johnson shares that the company has “over 280,000 unique active titles on our database in Spanish” and has developed a new microsite, Solo Español, to help publishers promote their Spanish titles.

David Burleigh, OverDrive’s director of marketing and communication, explains that the company’s catalog “includes 47,000 Spanish-language ebooks and audiobooks” as well as “a broad selection of adult and children/young adult fiction and nonfiction from Spain, Latin America, and U.S. publishers including Planeta, PRHGE, Harlequin, and Anaya.”

Lists of web resources and distributors of Spanish-­language materials as well as guidelines on book selection are provided in a previous LJ article (“Spanish on Our Shelves,” LJ 7/14; The following selected bibliography consists of new and some backlist works by authors from different parts of Latin America and Spain that are available in the United States.

Starred (redstar) titles are essential purchases for all collections.

Libbhy Romero works as a Selector for the Adult English and World Language Collections at BookOps, the shared technical services organization of the Brooklyn Public Library and the New York Public Library. Her assignments include English, Spanish, French, and Kreyol collection development. She is a former Northeast Chapter President for REFORMA, the National Association To Promote Library Services to the Spanish-Speaking


ljx160501webcd1redstarAllende, Isabel. El amante japonés. Vintage Español. 2015. 352p. ISBN 9781101971635. pap. $28; ebk. ISBN 9788401026188.

Alma Belasco and Ichimei ­Fukuda are separated when Fukuda is sent to an internment camp for Japanese Americans, but their secret love transcends decades.

redstarBartlett, Alicia Gimenez. Hombres desnudos. Grupo Planeta. 2015. 480p. ISBN 9786070732478. pap. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9788408148838.

In this 2015 Planeta Award winner, Bartlett explores how troubled times can lead men to become strippers and women to prioritize their careers over emotional commitments.

redstarBencastro, Mario. La mansión del olvido. Ediciones Puerto Santa Lucía. 2015. 377p. ISBN 9781507778784. pap. $20.

After being away for 20 years, Armando returns to Ausolia hoping to uncover his buried family past.

redstarGuelfenbein, Carla. Contigo en la distancia. Alfaguara: Penguin Random House. 2015. 250p. ISBN 9781941999370. pap. $19.95; ebk. ISBN 9789802715190.

A mysterious writer, Vera Sigall, is left in a coma after suffering a suspicious accident in this Alfaguara Award winner from 2015.

López López, Andrés. Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán: El varón de la droga. Aguilar. 2015. 240p. ISBN 9781941999493. pap. $15.95.

This biographical novel of Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán examines the mob boss’s life from his childhood through becoming one of the world’s most wanted men.

redstarMarías, Fernando. La isla del padre. Seix Barral: Grupo Planeta. 2016. 280p. ISBN 9788432224652. pap. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9788432224850.

In the 2015 winner of the Biblioteca Breve Award, Marías pays tribute to his late father via nostalgic reminiscences of his father’s travels at sea.

Phé-Funchal, Denise. Ana sonríe. F&G Editores. 2015. 252p. ISBN 9789929552951. pap. $24.95.

Sisters Ana, Loreta, and Lucrecia, with their mother, Gregoria, try to survive years of betrayals and abuse while Carlota, their free-spirited aunt, represents the model of the independent woman able to create her own destiny.

redstarPiñon, Nélida. La camisa del marido. Alfaguara: Penguin Random House. 2016. 160p. ISBN 9788420409863. pap. $17.95.

This anthology of nine stories, winner of the Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature, explores family relationships, conflicts, and secrets.

redstarSuez, Perla. El país del diablo. La Pereza Ediciones. 2015. 162p. ISBN 9780692611579. pap. $17.95.

In the 2015 Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Award winner, set during the second half of the 19th century, an indigenous village in Patagonia is assaulted by a lost group of soldiers, and a violent journey in the heart of the desert begins.

Wynter Melo, Carlos. Las impuras. Grupo Planeta. 2015. 152p. ISBN 9786070727740. pap. $10.95.

Victims of the repression during the invasion of Panama by the United States, two women reconstruct their past and look for redemption while trying to find the meaning of life.

redstarYushimito, Carlos. Las islas. Sudaquia Editores. 2015. 148p. ISBN 9781938978890. pap. $16.95.

Set in the town of São Clemente in Brazil, each story in this collection explores different but intertwined worlds.


Untitled-4redstarMorris, Juan. Cerati: La biografía. Grijalbo. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9786073137713. pap. $17.95; ebk. ISBN 9789500752978.

A biography of Argentine singer-­songwriter, composer, and producer ­Gustavo Cerati (1959–2014), who changed forever the history of Spanish rock.

Papa Francisco. El Nombre de Dios Es Misericordia. Random. 2016. 157p. ISBN 9780399588785. pap. $18.

In his first book published as pope, Pope Francis shares his thoughts on the topic he believes to be the cornerstone of faith: mercy.

Percy, Allan. Mújica: Una biografía inspiradora. Ediciones B. 2015. 280p. ISBN 9788466657402. pap. $17.95.

This biography of Pepe Mujica, former president of Uruguay, introduces his life and his heartening way of thinking.

redstarRamos, Jorge. Sin miedo: Lecciones de rebeldes. Celebra: Penguin. 2016. 304p. ISBN 9781101989661. pap. $17.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101989678.

Emmy Award winner and journalist ­Ramos shares some life lessons and experiences from his 30-year career.


redstarCervera, Verónica. La cocina cubana de Vero. Oberon: Anaya. 2015. 240p. ISBN 9788441536760. pap. $25.99.

Cervera’s fully illustrated cookbook offers 100 traditional Cuban recipes.

redstarFernández, José. Reta tu vida: No es dejar de comer SINO aprender a comer. Celebra: Penguin. 2015. 240p. ISBN 9780451473424. pap. $17.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698185012.

Nutritionist and star coach Fernández offers inspiration, information, and detailed menus to help the whole family achieve a healthier diet.

Rosa, Draco & Nena Niessen. El secreto de la vida a base de plantas. Aguilar. 2015. 250p. ISBN 9781941999462. pap. $19.95; ebk. ISBN 9789588912196.

Rosa and Niessen present their best vegetarian recipes, explain the nutritional and medicinal properties of a plant-based diet, and propose a plan for healthful eating.


ljx160501webcd3redstarFernández, Odile. Guía práctica para una vida anticáncer. Urano. 2015. 336p. ISBN 9788479539177. pap. $20.95.

Family doctor and cancer survivor Fernández shares practical information about lifestyle changes that may prevent the disease.

Molina, Claudia. Jugosa y fit: El verdadero secreto de los jugos y ejercicios para tener un cuerpazo. Atria. 2016. 224p. ISBN 9781501104916. pap. $12.99; ebk. ISBN 9781501104923.

Molina, Univision nutritionist and physical trainer of Nuestra Belleza Latina, provides a guide to juices and exercises.


Lozano, César. No te enganches: #Todopasa. Aguilar. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9781941999516. pap. $14.95; ebk. ISBN 9786073135757.

Lozano offers lessons and solutions to discover the best path to living a full and happy life.

redstarRuiz, Miguel. El arte tolteca de la vida y la muerte. HarperCollins Español. 2015. 448p. ISBN 9780718076511. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9780718077525.

Spiritual wisdom teacher Ruiz shares his life experiences and offers timeless insights from the Toltecs to encourage readers who are confronting life’s challenges.

Vargas, Gaby. Todo sobre la imagen del éxito: Viste para impactar y convencer destaca en el arte de escuchar y conversar demuestra clase y estilo. Aguilar. 2015. 408p. ISBN 9786073132329. pap. $18.95.

Image advisor Vargas pre­sents a practical guide on how to communicate successfully and project an impeccable personal portrait in order to stand out and achieve.


Barocio, Rosa. Disciplina con amor: Cómo poner límites sin ahogarse en la culpa. Editorial Pax Mexico. 2016. 248p. ISBN 9786079346140. pap. $16.95.

Barocio gives reasonable and sensible recommendations supporting parents and educators confronted by the challenges of educating children.

Rosado, Yordi. S.O.S: Adolescentes fuera de control en la era digital. Aguilar. 2016. 288p. ISBN 9781941999530. pap. $15.95; ebk. ISBN 9786073139052.

A modern-day guide for parents to facilitate effective communication with teenagers in the digital age.


ljx160501webcd4redstarSellers, Julie A. Bachata and Dominican Identity/La bachata y la identidad dominicana. bilingual ed. McFarland. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9780786476732. pap. $45; ebk. ISBN 9781476616384.

Sellers recounts the origins and evolution of bachata, one of the most popular Latin music genres, which started in the Dominican Republic in the 1960s.


redstarDenis, Nelson A. Guerra contra todos los Puertorriqueños: Revolución y terror en la colonia Americana. Nation. 2015. 448p. ISBN 9781568585451. pap. $17.99; ebk. ISBN 9781568585468.

Denis’s well-documented account of the compelling life of Pedro Albizu Campos provides a window into an important but overlooked history of the Puerto Rican independence movement.

Ospina, William. El dibujo secreto de América Latina. Literatura Random House. 2015. 250p. ISBN 9789585846296. pap. $15.95; ebk. ISBN 9789585863712.

In these 12 essays, Ospina looks at Latin America’s idiosyncrasies and examines the region’s history, culture, literature, music, and other influences. n


redstarChristin, Pierre & Olivier Balez. Robert Moses: El maestro olvidado de Nueva York. Norma Editorial. 2016. 100p. ISBN 9788467921434. pap. $28.95.

Controversial and influential urban city planner Robert ­Moses under­took hundreds of projects to modernize the city of New York between the 1920s and 1970s.

ljx160501webcd5redstarGarcía, Santiago & Javier Olivares. Las Meninas. Astiberri. 2014. 192p. ISBN 9788415685487. pap. $29.95.

Inspired by historical facts, the authors create a dialog between various artists and the painting “Las Meninas,” Diego Velázquez’s master­piece, to show how a work of art becomes a symbol and continues to live and inspire. National Comic Award (Spain), 2015.

redstarTreviño, Raúl. Nómadas del Yermo 1: Los Pollos Chidos del Apocalipsis. Fixion Narradores. 2013. 128p. ISBN 9786079620271. pap. $11.99.

The winner of the Butze-Vargas awards for Mexico’s best graphic novel and Best Manga Writer Award, 2014, this first volume of a trilogy may appeal to both young adult and adult audiences. Milla, Splitter, and Chapi are three orphans who live in a postapocalyptic world and get involved in a dangerous mission to save humanity.

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