Dia de Los Muertos
Dia de Lost Muertos or The Day of the Dead is known is celebrated in Mexico and Mexican communities throughout the world from the 31st of October to the 2nd of November. It is a multi-day holiday involving family and friends gathering to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died and help support their spiritual journey. In Mexican culture, death is viewed as a natural part of the human cycle. Mexicans view it not as a day of sadness but as a day of celebration. It is believed that the deceased return during that time to rejoice with the living. Families visit their graves and build altars decorated with flowers, candles, pan de muerto, sugar skulls, and pictures. They bring their loved one’s favorite dishes and treats, as well as drinks to quench the thirst of the dead after their long journey back home.
In America many people celebrate All Souls day which is a religious holiday in many Christian faiths, this is celebrated simply by remembering those who have died.
The celebration of Dia de Los Muertos is really lovely, to learn about and to celebrate especially if you have lost loved ones in your family. It is a great way to help your kids through the grieving process. Day of the Dead/Día de Los Muertos is a joyous celebration that includes singing, dancing, and telling stories. Teach your children about Day of the Dead/Día de Los Muertos with the following colorful picture books. Before we begin, take a moment and pin this post on your homeschool reading board for later!
Dia de Los Muertos Books for Preschoolers
written by Hannah Eliot
Learn all about the traditions of Día de Los Muertos with this second book in the brand-new board book series Celebrate the World, which highlights special occasions and holidays across the globe.
written by Roseanne Greenfield-Thong
It’s Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and children throughout the pueblo, or town, are getting ready to celebrate! They decorate with colored streamers, Calaveras, or sugar skulls, pan de Muertos, or bread of the dead. There are altars draped in cloth and covered in marigolds and twinkling candles. Music fills the streets. Join the fun and festivities, learn about a different cultural tradition, and brush up on your Spanish vocabulary, as the town honors their dearly departed in a traditional, time-honored style.
written by Bob Barner
They prepare offerings of flowers, sugar skulls, and special bread, and make delicious foods to eat and share. By spreading marigold petals, they guide the dead home to join the festivities. After hours of singing, dancing, and reminiscing, it’s time for bed.
The festivities are described in the brief, lyrical text, presented in both Spanish and English.
written by Tony Johnston
Above a small town in Mexico, the sun rises like a great marigold, and one family begins preparations for an annual celebration, El día de los muertos, the Day of the Dead. Soon they will go out into the night, join their neighbors, and walk to the graveyard to welcome the spirits of their loved ones home again. Framed by decorative borders and peppered with Spanish words, Day of the Dead is a glorious introduction to a fascinating celebration. A note at the end of the book provides factual information about the holiday.
Graveyard skeletons shake, rattle, and roll for a Day of the Dead celebration.
At dusk on the holiday known as Day of the Dead, a Mexican family has set out fiesta offerings in the graveyard in hopes that departed loved ones may return to visit. The playful skeletons rise from their graves to celebrate with gusto. All night long, they sing, dance, dine, tell stories, and play games. As morning approaches, they give thanks to the stars for their night of fun, tidy up after themselves, and leave no trace of their “clatter bash” behind as they return to their coffins until next year’s Day of the Dead.
written by Janice Levy
It’s the Day of the Dead! It’s time to celebrate! In this bilingual book, a young girl is busy helping her family prepare to honor those who have died–especially her grandfather. She misses him very much and is excited for his spirit to visit that night.
written by Jeanette Winter
Every year Don Pedro and his family make papier-mâché skeletons, or calaveras, for Mexico’s Day of the Dead fiesta. From the Angel and Doctor to the Mariachi and Unicornio, there’s a special calavera for each letter of the alphabet. Come dance with them!
written by Patty Rodriguez
Inspired by one of the most recognized symbols of Dia De los Muertos (Day of the Dead), this book introduces little ones to emotional expressions and their first English and Spanish words―and teaches them to recognize feelings like emocionado (excited), triste (sad), and confiado (confident).
written by Yuyi Morales
This original trickster tale, with its vivacious illustrations and dynamic read-aloud text, is at once a spirited tribute to the rich traditions of Mexican culture and a perfect introduction to counting in both English and Spanish.
written by Yuyi Morales
From three-time Pura Belpré Winner Yuyi Morales, a delightful alphabet picture book about a Día de los Muertos skeleton who must find the perfect birthday gift (or gifts!)
written by Susie Jaramillo
Tomba-la-ca, tomba-la-ca, tomba-la! Come enter into the creepy-crawly, mischievous and mysterious world of Skeletitos, where being on the other side of life is never an excuse for not having a good time! Inspired by the beautiful Mexican calavera art by Jose Guadalupe Posada, Skeletitos is a celebration of the ordinary and the completely extraordinary. Tap your fingers or stomp your feet, no need to sit still. After all, before you know it, our time will be up!
written by Ana Galan
¡Es la hora de los esqueletos! / It’s Skeleton Time! teaches how to tell the time in English and Spanish. Following an adaptation of a traditional Costa Rican song, a group of skeletons jump out of their tombs and engage in fun activities as the clock strikes each of the 12-hour marks. With illustrations and back matter that reference the popular Day of the Dead festivities of Mexico and Central America, this bilingual rhyming book brings a fresh perspective to the Halloween season.
written by Adriana Morales Marin
Join Catrina on her favorite day and enjoy together all the things that “El dia de los muertos” The day of the Dead, make this celebration such a marvelous time.
Dia de Los Muertos Books for Elementary School
Written by Lisa Bullard
Daniela is preparing for the Day of the Dead―the first one since her grandpa died. She makes an ofrenda with Grandpa’s favorite things and toy skeletons. Her family has a party to remember Grandpa.
written by Luis San Vicente
Thirty thousand hardbacks sold! On Mexico’s Day of the Dead, the skeletons jump for sheer joy. And no wonder: they’ve been cooped up the whole year and now they’re ready to party. Watch the calaveras shake, rattle, and roll as they celebrate the biggest event of the graveyard’s social calendar!
written by Ivar Da Coll
Rhyming verse describes the good food, decorations, and stories when grandmother arrives for the annual celebration of the Mexican holiday, Day of the Dead.
written by Brite Muller
Felipa’s beloved grandmother, Abuelita, has died. Felipa miser her terribly and is very sad. Her parents try to comfort Felipa. They tell her that the souls of the dead live on forever. So Felipa decides to find Abuelita’s soul. But where is it? She asks her grandmother’s donkey, her pig, and her llamas for help. She treks many miles to the highest mountain, but grandmother’s soul is nowhere to be found. Then, months later, the entire village is bustling with preparations for the Day of the Dead. Felipa joins in the celebrations honoring loved ones who have died, and in the process finally finds Abuelita’s soul.
written by Elisa Amado
In Guatemala, there is a village called Santiago Sacatepéquez. It is a very small but famous place because once a year, on the day of the Day of the Dead, the people of Santiago fly some of the biggest kites in the world. As large as seven meters (twenty-three feet) wide, they fill the sky over the cemetery with brilliant colors.
written by Janice Levy
It’s the Day of the Dead and Nando and his mother are going to honor Tío Fernando. Nando, named for Uncle Fernando, listens as his mother tells him that later, at the cemetery, they will meet with Tío Fernando’s spirit.
written by P.J. Bracegirdle
Every skeleton in the Land of the Dead is excited to celebrate el Día de los Muertos with the Living. But not Angelito. His big sister has told him all about their horrifying bulgy eyes and squishy skin. So when Angelito is separated from his family in the Land of the Living, he’s petrified—until he makes a new friend.
written by Pat Mora
Long ago in what would come to be called Mexico, as Mama Alma and her granddaughter, Bella, recall happy times while walking in the garden they have tended together since Bella was a baby, Mama Alma asks that after she is gone her family remember her on one special day each year. Includes facts about The Remembering Day, El dia de los muertos.
Written by Kersten Hamilton
Glorieta Magdalena Davis Espinosa is happy that Papi married Alice. She’s happy that he can smile again after years of mourning Mamá. But the urn containing Mamá’s ashes disappeared into a drawer the day Alice moved in.
written by Kathleen Krull
In Mexico, Maria and her family celebrate Los Dâias de los Muertos, The Days of the Dead. Includes a recipe for pan de los muertos.
written by Judy Goldman
A family celebrates Día de Muertos, a holiday for remembering those who have passed. When the monarch butterflies return to her Mexican countryside, Lupita knows that Día de Muertos, “the Day of the Dead,” is near. She and her favorite uncle watch the butterflies flutter in the trees. When a butterfly lands on Lupita’s hand, her uncle reminds her that she should never hurt a monarch because they are believed to be the souls of the departed. Lupita and her family get ready for the holiday. When the first of November arrives, the family will go to the cemetery to honor the memories of their loved ones. But this year is different—Lupita’s uncle cannot join them. Now, Lupita learns the true meaning of the celebration.
written by Erich Haeger
Help Conchita celebrate the life of her dearly departed sister as she sets up a memorial altar for her on the Day of the Dead. This heartfelt storybook rhymes in English & Spanish. Includes how to make your own sugar skulls activities.
This story conveys only a glimmer of the relationship between young Rosita and her grandmother, Abuelita, before the woman dies; she relies on the metaphor of braiding to carry readers through the explanation of customs for the Mexican celebration of the dead. The story opens with Abuelita teaching Rosita that “one strand alone can be broken, but when they are woven together, they make a cord that is strong. Like my love for you and your love for me.”
written by Duncan Tonatiuh
Funny Bones tells the story of how the amusing calaveras—skeletons performing various everyday or festive activities—came to be. They are the creation of Mexican artist José Guadalupe (Lupe) Posada (1852–1913). In a country that was not known for freedom of speech, he first drew political cartoons, much to the amusement of the local population but not the politicians. He continued to draw cartoons throughout much of his life, but he is best known today for his calavera drawings. They have become synonymous with Mexico’s Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival. Juxtaposing his own art with that of Lupe’s, author Duncan Tonatiuh brings to light the remarkable life and work of a man whose art is beloved by many but whose name has remained in obscurity.
Leonora Logroño’s family owns the most beloved bakery in Rose Hill, Texas, spending their days conjuring delicious cookies and cakes for any occasion. And no occasion is more important than the annual Dia de los Muertos festival.