In Pablo Remembers: The Fiesta of the Day of the Dead, author George Acona uses colorful photographs and illustrations to explain each day of the holiday—All Hallows’ Eve onOctober 31st, All Saints’ Day on November 1st, and All Souls’ Day on November 2nd…. Pablo and his family … welcome his deceased abuelita home by decorating the family’s ofrenda with marigolds, bread of the dead, and sugar skulls. -- Rachel
In Day of the Dead author Linda Lowery reminds readers that “life is a gift” worth celebrating and that this holiday of Aztec and Spanish celebrations of deceased friends and family…[is] a lively and community-oriented holiday intended to commemorate spirits of loved ones and to bring families together through parades, cooking, and story-telling. It serves as a reminder that death is natural and often leaves behind imprints of love in the lives of others.
In Día de los Muertos author Roseanne Thong and illustrator Carlos Ballesteros’ depict the holiday as a celebration of the departed, an acknowledgement of death’s normalcy. Styles of cubism, couplet form, graveyard poetry, collage, and a bilingual lexicon are used to portray the process of readying one’s home and community to welcome communication and festivities with the dead. Thong enshrines the young as co-equal record-keepers of ancestral narratives and highlights the roles children play in bridging the past to the present, making sure that even the “small angelitos” are memorialized through artwork.-- Alex
In The Spirit of Tío Fernando: A Day of the Dead Story by Janice Levy, Nando and his mother celebrate the Day of the Dead honoring late Uncle Fernando by telling fun stories of his life. Nando strolls through the vibrant market, purchases traditional sugar skulls and pan de muerto (bread of the dead). Musicians and performers in skull masks crowd the streets as Nando and his mother process to Uncle Fernando’s grave. A beautiful portrayal of Mexican customs.
In Day of the Dead by Tony Johnston and Jeanette Winter, a brother and a sister
help their family prepare for Día de los Muertos. They watch and help their family prepare traditional foods, gather decorations, and celebrate the lives of family members who have passed. The majority of the book is written in English, but the inclusion of particular words and phrases in Spanish is easy to decipher, making it perfect for second language acquisition or reinforcement. With a warm tone and colorful illustrations, the authors express to readers the joy of this holiday. --Benjamin
Catrina’s Day of the Dead by Adriana Morales Marin stars Catrina and her cat, Misifus, both deceased, as they journey to their altar in a decorated cemetery. The author elaborates on the purpose and significance of items offered at the altar, includes fun activities like making skull candy and papel picado, and explains how the Day of the Dead became a celebration in Mexico. A great book to read for all ages. -- Rafael
With affirmations that “The Day of the Dead is nothing like Halloween,” The Dead Family Díaz, by P.J. Bracegirdle with illustrations by Poly Bernatene, is a trans-cultural exploration of the Mexican holiday el Día de los Muertos. The author demonstrates how knowledge and understanding of cultures different from one’s own can disrupt the fear and othering perpetuated by stereotypes and prejudiced beliefs, and the book offers positive representation to underserved communities in children’s literature. The cartoonish skull face of the main character, Angelito, juxtaposes the more realistic skulls and skeletons found in paintings and posters peppering different walls and alleyways around the town, diminishing the fear with which a young reader may approach such images. -- Jared
In Luis San Vicente’s The Festival of Bones / El Festival de las Calaveras the author offers a uniquely fanciful conceptualization the Mexican tradition of Día de los Muertos. Death is not vilified, but rather respected and admired. Whimsical illustrations are textured with rich fun, featuring calacas young and old dancing across the page to take part in celebrations focusing on the value of their lives rather than their losses. The effect is the elimination of the fear behind death and readers to accept this jovial point of view as natural and uplifting. The author establishes Día de los Muertos as a democratic observance involving all walks of life.
In Rosita y Conchita: A Rhyming Storybook in English and Spanish, co-authors and
illustrators Eric Gonzalez and Erich Haeger tell the story of two sisters in parallel worlds—the living and the dead—and challenges the notion that interpersonal connection is severed upon one’s passing. Just as Rosita is drawn and guided by the scent of chocolate chip enchiladas, the sound of her sister’s song, and the path of cempasúchil to the altar, readers are drawn in to the book by adorable twin sisters, colorful, cartoon-esque illustrations, and melodious rhymes. The bilingual, side-by-side rhymes establish English and Spanish as equally important, also establishing the importance of a bilingual readership. -- Melissa
The bilingual picture book The Remembering Day / El Día de los Muertos by author Pat Mora and illustrator Robert Castilla is the story of a young girl named Bella and her grandmother Mamá Alma in a pre-Columbian village. When Mamá Alma dies she tells Bella, “I will always be with you.” Bella begins the annual tradition of the Remembering Day and she celebrates with feasting, singing and crafting a marigold path for her grandmother to follow.