If you have been looking for a good book to teach your children the basics of the Mexican holiday, Día de los Muertos, then do a little happy dance because we have found it for you!
Written by Eric Gonzalez and Erich Haeger, Rosita y Conchita is the story of twin sisters who are trying to find a way to get back together once again. Readers will enjoy how the book beautifully depicts the process of building an altar, as young Conchita carefully creates her own to remember her dearly departed twin, Rosita. I found the best part of the book to be how the authors cleverly discuss each ofrenda so that the children reading the book can understand the meaning behind each one. At the same time, the book tells Rosita’s story as she wanders through the “otherworld” looking for clues that will lead her to her sister one more time.
The entire story is written in rhyming verse—in both English and Spanish! I found the book to be well thought-out and engaging. In addition, Rosita y Conchita is beautifully illustrated. The illustrators’ bold use of color immediately catches the reader’s attention and holds it throughout the book. It is a remarkable testament to the authors’ creativity.
At the end of the book, Gonzalez and Haeger have included a history of the holiday, along with a simple recipe for making your own sugar skulls, and directions on how to draw Rosita’s character.
At first, I was a little concerned about how the issue of death would be addressed in the book. But the authors have been mindful in their work so that the book does not come across as sad or scary. Instead, the subject of death is treated in the same manner that the holiday itself does—with humor and love.
Last year, when I first read Rosita y Conchita, I was so excited because I could see that a lot of work had gone into this book. I was delighted to see a full story developed around Día de los Muertos, and one that richly conveys the intention behind the holiday. In our society, the subject of death is rarely spoken about with children, and as such, it is often perceived as something to be feared. I think this makes it harder on young children whenever they lose a loved one, such as a grandparent. Believing that the beauty of their lives can still be celebrated and remembered without pain and sadness could benefit so many children who suffer the loss of someone dear.
To purchase this book, or to learn more about how the authors went about creating it, you can visit their website at Muertoons.com.