I have been reading to Amado since he was in my womb. Now my husband and I take every opportunity to read with Amado and many of our books highlight each of our unique cultural backgrounds. Today I’d like to share a few of our favorite children’s books that introduce the beautiful traditions associated with Día de los Muertos, which is a holiday that I hold near and dear to my heart.
Amado and I have been working on Day of the Dead decorations for weeks and his little eyes light up every time we add something new to our altar. I love how reading and working on our ofrenda helps us bond as we maintain beautiful cultural traditions within our family and home.
I Remember Abuelito: A Day of the Dead Story | Janice Levy and Loretta Lopez
In this bilingual book, a young girl helps her family prepare to honor her abuelito who recently died. Together with her mother, they visit the mercado, buy pan de muerto, make calaveras de azucar, build an altar, and reminisce about days long past with abuelito. He eventually returns in the form of a monarch butterfly. This book is near and dear to my heart because every year my altar is dedicated to my father, and I always want Amado to remember his abuelito.
Rostia y Conchita | Eric Gonzalez and Erich Haeger
Rosita y Conchita is a bilingual story book that is adorably sweet and heart wrenching at the same time. Conchita prepares to celebrate the life of her dearly departed twin sister, Rosita, by setting up a memorial altar for her on Day of the Dead. She prepares her sister’s favorite food (chocolate chip enchiladas), plays her favorite song, and even sets out Rosita’s favorite doll in the hopes of luring her back, if only for one evening. I absolutely love the illustrations in this book and the way it rhymes perfectly in English and Spanish!
Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book | Yuyi Morales
This colorful tribute to the rich traditions of Mexican culture uses both Spanish and English words to introduce the concept of counting as well as death. Señor Calavera arrives unexpectedly at Grandma Beetle’s door and requests that she leave with him right away. Grandma Beetle has too much to do – she has one house to sweep, two pots of tea to boil, three pounds of corn to make into tortillas – and that’s just the beginning! This book is perfect even for non-Spanish speakers as it is primarily in English.
WHERE TO BUY BILINGUAL CHILDREN’S BOOKS
La Librería | Los Angeles
Casa Artelexia | San Diego
Cinco Puntos Press | El Paso, TX
FOR MORE DAY OF THE DEAD INSPIRATION:
3 Day of the Dead Altars to Die For | Lola’s Cocina
3 Foods Associated with Day of the Dead | Lola’s Cocina
10 Creative Crafts for Day of the Dead | Lola’s Cocina
Day of the Dead: A Celebration of Life! | Lola’s Cocina
Day of the Dead Sugar Skull Decorating Party (video) | Muy Bueno
How to Make a Día de los Muertos Altar | The Mija Chronicles
How to Make Calaveras de Azucar | Flan and Apple Pie
How to Throw a Día de los Muertos Fiesta | Hola Jalapeño