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Must Have Bilingual Books for Celebrating Día de los Muertos

Must Have Bilingual Books for Celebrating Día de los Muertos

by Lizette Carrk

As a Latina mom it is so important to pass down my Hispanic Heritage to “los bodques”. Día de los Muertos is such a special celebration for many Latino cultures and especially big in Mexico. I grew up celebrating every year, it was a whole affair. First, we would go to el Mercado de Portales to get everything for the ofrenda (the altar) calaveritas de azúcar and chocolate, flores de zempasúchitl (marigold flowers) and of course the pumpkins and mole for the food. In Mexico, we prepare our ancestor’s favorite dishes and wrap them very well so they can last for a week or so and place them in the ofrenda. Do you celebrate in your country? What are the special dishes or ways to celebrate?

A couple of ways for passing our Latino traditions are of course celebrating in your own home and making the little Latinx part of it, music, and our beloved books. Here are some of our top pics...

Top 10 Children's Books to Celebrate Dia de Los Muertos

1) La Catrina y La Llorona

  • Author: Patty Rodriguez
  • Ages: Baby – 4 years
  • Grades: Baby – Preschool
  • Boardbook
  • Language: Bilingual Spanish

Concept: La Catrina is a book of emotions, the calavera shows different expressions. La Llorona is a book for counting backwards. 

What we like about these books:  Beautiful illustrations that highlight our Hipanic culture, with traditional calaveras and the widely known legend of La Llorona combined with learning emotions and numbers for the youngest ones. My little Latinx used to sit with the La Catrina book in front of the mirror and practice the faces!

2) ¡Es la Hora de los Esqueletos! / It’s Skeleton Time!

  • Author: Ana Galá
  • Ages: 4 years – 8 years
  • Grades: Preschool – 3rd Grade
  • Paperback
  • Language: Bilingual Spanish

Concept: Teaches how to tell time in English and Spanish. It is an adaptation of a Costa Rican kids song filled with beautiful illustrations around Día de los Muertos.

What we like about this book:  I got so excited when I found this book as I used to sing it with my friends in Mexico. My little Latinx love to follow along the book with the song and dance moviendo el esqueleto!

3) Día de Los Muertos

  • Author: Roseanne Greenfield Thong
  • Ages: 4 years – 8 years
  • Grades: Preschool – 3rd Grade
  • Paperback
  • Language: English

Concept: It narrates a little town’s preparation for Día de los Muertos. The rhymes are easy and include some of the words in Spanish with a glossary at the back, perfect for bilingual kids. The illustrations are just beautiful and colorful.

What we like about this book:  We love this book as it depicts every element of the altar, which I can then show los bodoques in our own altar and talk about their meaning. While my family never did the picnic at the cemetery, many families still do in Mexico and I remember seeing the candle lights and hearing the music when we passed the one close to our house. This book brought back that memory, so glad my little Latinx will have that picture as well.

4) I Remember Abuelito: A Day of the Death Story / Yo Recuerdo a Abuelito: Un cuento del Día de los Muertos

  • Author: Janice Levy
  • Ages: 4 years – 8 years
  • Grades:  Preschool – 3rd Grade
  • Paperback
  • Language: Bilingual Spanish

Concept: Describes how a family gets ready to celebrate Día de los Muertos as well as the significance and importance of the holiday for the Hispanic community.

What we like about this book:  Día de los Muertos is about honoring and remembering our ancestors and I love how this book captures and explains how we do it. It was very endearing to read how the family prepares for the celebration as it was exactly what I used to do with my Mamá back in Mexico. Sadly “los bodoques” did not get to meet their Abuelitos, however this book is perfect to get us talking about Abuelita Celia and Abuelitos Manuel and Pipa, that way los bodoques will get to know, remember, and honor their ancestors!

5) The Festival of Bones / El Festival de las Calaveras

  • Author: Luis San Vicente
  • Ages: 4 years – 8 years
  • Grades:  Kindergarten– 3rd Grade
  • Paperback
  • Language: Bilingual Spanish

Concept: It is the biggest fiesta in the cemetery and the calaveras are all excited to celebrate.  

What we like about this book:  Fun, festive and with beautiful illustrations.  Perfect addition to your library for raising bilingual kids.

6) Rosita y Conchita

  • Author: Eric Gonzalez
  • Ages: 4 years – 7 years
  • Grades:  Preschool – 2nd Grade
  • Hardcover
  • Language: Bilingual Spanish

Concept: Conchita misses her twin sister Rosita. On the Day of the dead Conchita makes sure to have the altar ready for when her sister comes back. Rosita has a difficult time finding her way back, but with Conchita’s help she will make it on time.    

What we like about this book: Cute and endearing story about Día de los Muertos and how in our Latino culture we believe our ancestors come back to visit. I really liked how it described every element in the altar and tie it to its purpose – to guide our ancestors back home. The book is also in both languages, so perfect for our bilingual little Latinx.  

7) Funny Bones: Posada and his Day of the Dead Calaveras

  • Author: Duncan Tonatiuh
  • Ages: 4 years – 8 years
  • Grades:  1st Grade – 5th Grade
  • Hardcover
  • Language: English

Concept: This book tells the story of Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posadas and how calaveras came to be such a huge part of our Latino culture.

What we like about this book:  Not many people know about Posadas, although most of us can recognize his work. It is such a huge part of our Latino culture, I want los bodoques to learn who he was and where calaveras come from.

3 Activity Books to Celebrate Day of the Dead

1) Día de Los Muertos: Libro de actividades para preescolares

Concept: This book has it all for the preschool bilingual Latinx, they get to count, color, cut and even trace letter and begin to write. We will start using the book in our pod to have a day filled with Día de los Muertos activities

2) Día de Los Muertos: Fun Day of the Dead Coloring book for Toddlers

Concept: While it is only a coloring book, the drawings are easier to color for Toddlers. We will be coloring this book on our next trip to visit Abuelita since we have a long 6 hour drive!

3) Day of the Dead: 20 Creative Projects to Make For Your Party or Celebration

Concept: The book is filled with fun DIY activities and projects, like paper zempasúchitl (marigold flowers), nichos or calavera boxes, and even the instructions to make sugar skulls and pan the muerto. Great activities for the older kids and kids at heart!

Every year I dedicate my altar to my Mamá Chela who raised me to be a strong, resilient woman and a dedicated mom. Here is what my altar looks like this year.




Lizette Carrk
Lizette Carrk

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Size

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15"

 

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22 1/2

 

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26 1/2"

14 1/4"

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30"

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