6 Bilingual Books of Scary Latino Legends or Leyendas

6 Bilingual Books of Scary Latino Legends or Leyendas

por Lizette Carrk

While Latino encompasses so many countries and a lot of different traditions, there is something that is present across the board – scary leyedas that our abuelas or moms would tell us to scare us enough to get us to behave! One of my fondest memories with my Mamá was listening to a scary radio show every Sunday “La Mano Peluda” or the Fury Hand. During rainy season we would lose power on Sundays around 6 pm so cracking up the old battery radio and listening to the show provided good entertainment.

Los bodoques are too young for scary legends, however looking forward to sharing with them in the future. Here are some recommendations to start a collection for bilingual kids.

1) El Chupacabras

  • Author: Adam Rubin
  • Ages: 4 years – 8 years
  • Grades:  Preschool – 3rd Grade
  • Hardcover
  • Language: Bilingual Spanish

Concept: A modern take on the legend. The book is also written in both English and Spanish but not in full translation, but rather mixing the languages.

What we like about this book:  Fun take on the legend, with the weaving of the two languages makes it perfect for the bilingual Latinx at home.

2) El Cucuy: A Bogeyman Cuento in English and Spanish

  • Author: Joe Hayes
  • Ages: 5 years – 7 years
  • Grades: 1st Grade – 2nd Grade
  • Paperback
  • Language: Bilingual Spanish

Concept: The story of two sisters who did not believe in el Cucuy until they see him standing outside their door.

What we like about this book:  Every Latina mom has summoned El Cucuy / el Cuco / el Viejo del Costal at some point when their children are misbehaving. This is a much toned down and modern take on the legend, something fun to share if your little Latinx likes scary legends.

3) La Llorona / The Crying Woman

  • Author: Rudolfo Anaya
  • Ages: 8 years – 11 years
  • Grades: 3rd Grade on
  • Hardcover
  • Language: Bilingual Spanish

Concept: Combining elements of the pre-hispanic era, this take on La Llorona tells the story of Maya a woman that had a dispute with Señor Tiempo.

What we like about this book:  While it is a different take on the folktale, more appropriate one to tell the kids. The illustrations are fabulous and the fact that it is bilingual is a good add to your bilingual library.

4) Scary Stories from Mexican Grandmothers

  • Author: Diane Willsey
  • Ages: 12 years on
  • Grades:  Middle school on
  • Paperback
  • Language: English

Concept: A compilation of the scariest folktales from our Hispanic culture.

What we like about this book:  It has all of the leyendas La Llorona, el Chupacabras, la Mano Peluda – I remember my Mamá telling me all these stories.

5) Día de Muertos: Mexican Horror Stories & Scary folktales

  • Author: D. Kepler
  • Ages: 12 years on
  • Grades:  Middle school on
  • Paperback
  • Language: English

Concept: Not just another compilation of scary folktales, but the beauty in this book resides on the illustrations by Hispanic artist Posadas.

What we like about this book:  It is a very complete compilation -19 stories- with beautiful illustrations by Posadas. Just a good add for the Latino horror story lovers.  

6) El Silbón

  • Author: Craig Kelin Dexemple
  • Level 4 Spanish
  • Paperback
  • Language: Spanish

Concept: A short novel with easy vocabulary for bilingual kids with simple vocabulary and common phrases. The story centers around Henry a boy who dreams of being a cowboy, until he meets El Silbón a popular ghost in Venezuela.

What we like about this book:  A recommended good story for advanced bilingual Latinx that will help with their reading comprehension skills while increasing vocabulary and learning on Latino legends.

There's nothing like a good scary story to get in the Halloween spirit and continue to pass on our Latino legends. Get ready your battery lamps, some popcorn and time to read! Sweet dream MUHAHAHA!

Lizette Carrk
Lizette Carrk


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