Spanish Chapter Books – Celia Series

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Chapter Books in Spanish

Celia Series 

by Elena Fortún

It’s hard to find a good Spanish chapter book for beginning readers. Online searches give few options for chapter books in Spanish. The covers and description don’t share enough details to make an informed decision. Last thing you want to do is waste your money. 

Is this book a good fit for me? for my kids?

Will the content be too hard to read? be boring?

What if nobody likes the content?

Because of this, I’ll share one of my favorite Spanish chapter books with you. In fact, I am recommending an entire series to you. Elena Fortún wrote more than twenty classic children’s books The chapter books are for boys and girls who are beginning to read in Spanish. Her books are treasured by many worldwide including my family. The Celia series may be a perfect fit for you and your children to read together. Or for you to read on your own.

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Have you been looking for a good chapter book to read in Spanish? 

Over many years of reading in Spanish on my own and with my kids, few chapter books are good for beginning readers. If they are too hard, no learning happens. And kids are picky about what they read. Parents want to give them the best start. Certainly something easy to read and enjoyable. In my experience, the Celia series is a reliable source for quality reading material. 

The Celia series is perfect for beginning readers

This collection of books is full of engaging stories about Celia, a young girl. They are written in simple language for children and beginning readers to easily understand. They provide a quality source of vocabulary, story and sample sentences and phrases. It is a great source to build your language skills.

Each book in the Celia series features:
  • short chapters
  • each chapter is a standalone story
  • the stories are jam packed with action and description
  • a large variety of quality words
  • the writing is easy to understand

They are a great source to build your language skills and grow vocabulary. These books can be used to have a read aloud time. One of these books can be read aloud alone or in a group. This is the foundation for strengthening each language skill – listening, speaking, reading and writing. Reading aloud is a powerful activity to focus on reaching your Spanish goals. 

The First Book – Celia lo que dice

Before there were any books, Elena Fortún published her short stories in magazines and newspapers during the 1920s. Kids and adults enjoyed these stories. These stories became the chapters in her first book Celia lo que dice.

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About the girl, Celia

First, Celia debuts as a seven year old girl in Madrid, Spain. She is the American equivalent of Dennis the Menace. She has an uncanny ability to stir up chaos around her with her curious nature. She questions everything. Usually, the consequences of her actions create a hilarious scene.

In short, her family is wealthy and her mother is a social butterfly. The English nanny takes care of Celia. She has a cat named Pirracas. Each book follows her life as she matures through boarding school, college, marriage and motherhood.

An Excerpt from Celia lo que dice

My children and I love this hilarious scene. 

Before this episode, Celia secretly brought her cat on a walk under her coat and lost her. Celia’s father offered a reward for the cat’s return. They ended up with five of the kind of cats at her home. The result was pure hilarious pandemonium.

El día de San Anton

En casa han quedado cinco, porque nadie sabe cuál de ellos es nuestra gatita.

– Vea usted el problema en que ha puesto a sus padres.

Para mi Nelly todos son problemas.

-Pues no, señora, no es problema. Los cinco gatos son Pirracas.

–Eso no puede ser….

–Pues si era un Santo y hacía milagros, habrá hecho de Pirracas cinco gatas.

–No puede ser.

–Sí puede ser. Jesucristo hizo de cinco peces muchos peces.

–Para comer.

–Eso es, para comer. Y San Antón ha hecho de Pirracas otras cinco para que jueguen conmigo. 

The book is full of simple stories like this. Each page offers language learners many learning opportunities.  You can choose words along with examples of their use. The text can be spoken, heard, read and written as daily practice.

The Illustrations

Often there is an illustration accompanying the story. On the opposite page, a drawing shows five black cats jumping around a room filled with boxes. The pictures help to understand the story. This is a great tool to expand vocabulary without translation. 

The Books in the Celia Series and More

The Celia stories continued.

Over the years, Elena Fortún wrote more than twenty books until her death in 1987. Each book followed the life and growth of Celia into adulthood. Fortún, the author, went through many ups and downs all throughout that time. She experienced the death of her son, exile from Spain and the suicide of her husband. 

  • Celia, lo que dice (1929)
  • Celia en el colegio (1932)
  • Celia novelista (1934)
  • Celia en el mundo (1934)
  • Celia y sus amigos (1935)
  • Cuchifritín el hermano de Celia
  • Cuchifritín y sus primos
  • Cuchifritín en casa de su abuelo
  • Cuchifritín y Paquito
  • Matonkiki y sus hermanas
  • Celia madrecita (1939)
  • Celia institutriz en América
  • Patita y Mila estudiantes
  • La hermana de Celia: Mila y Piolín
  • Mila, Piolín y el burro
  • Celia se casa
  • El arte de contar cuentos a los niños (1947)
  • Los cuentos que Celia cuenta a las niñas (1950)
  • Los cuentos que Celia cuenta a los niños (1951)
  • El bazar de todas las cosas

Click here for availability of Celia series books

or click on book for details

After her death, Celia en la revolución was printed for the first time. In this book, Celia goes through the difficulties of World War II. The story gives a picture of daily life during wartime. This one’s on my wishlist!

Spanish Chapter Book Series for Boys – Cuchifritín

On the other hand, some boys may not be interested in stories about a girl. The best part is the Celia series spins off in another direction with her little brother, Cuchifritín. He takes the stage in book number 6 in the series, Cuchifritín el hermano de Celia. 

So if you’re looking for a good Spanish chapter book for a boy, this is a great option. They have the same features as the rest of the books in the series. They are easy to read and full of a variety of vocabulary. 

Where to Find Hard to Find Books in the Celia Series

Unfortunately, many of these are not readily available. Goodreads is a good place to find the Celia books. You may have to find some of them used. Here is a link to the listings for all books by Elena Fortún. It takes some online searching, but they are worth it. 

Celia Episodes Online

The Celia television series is available online. The episodes first appeared on television in the 1990’s. RTVE offers free streaming of the episodes online. They are based on the first few books in the Celia series.

I watched them with my kids. We all listened to the Spanish accents. And got a good sense of the meaning from the watching the story. It was really helpful to practice our listening skills and hear the different pronunciation style from Spain. 

We love the Celia series. They have been a big piece of our language learning journey. We have grown so much from the funny stories and the masterful use of the Spanish language. These are books I return to again and again. The best part is one book is a great source for many years to come. 

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