Have you seen the book Arroz con cosas? If not, I highly recommend it!
I just finished it with my Spanish 1 students and they will be getting ready for the assessment soon. Students really enjoyed the book and I did too!
In addition to enjoying the story, my Spanish 1 students acquired LOTS of great vocabulary and grammatical structures.
There isn't a Teacher's Guide (yet?), so I am sharing what I created to use with book: click here. I don't have as much time as I used to (new school!), so I hope to add to it the next time... or have others add, enhance and share back!
There are LOTS of opportunities for cultural extensions with this book. One excellent accompaniment is the Max show José Andrés in Spain: Valencia... or just show the clips below. They are in English, but provide great visuals and emphasize some of the themes of the book.