Most children in the U.S. look forward to October 31 and celebrating Halloween. They look forward to choosing a super-cool costume, knocking on their neighbors’ doors and screaming, “Trick-or-treat!” But in Mexico, October 31 is the beginning of El día de los muertos—The Day of the Dead—a celebration that runs until November 2, when the souls and spirits of the deceased leave again, until the following year.
During these holidays, family members of those who have passed away visit the graveyards of Mexico. Families honor their dead by delivering bread, pan de los muertos, belongings, pictures and keepsakes to their graves.
For children interested in learning more about this peculiar yet wonderful tradition, there are several books to help them understand the day, its origins and customs. Here are five of our favorites:
The Day of the Dead by Bob Barner
A rhyming picture book filled with wonderful illustrations of customs connected to the holiday, this title is dedicated to the artist José Guadalupe Posada and his skeleton-themed art.
Festival of Bones by Luis San Vicente
This book has poems in Spanish and English, which capture the history of the holiday. It explains how to celebrate Día de los muertos at the cemetery.
Uncle Monarch and The Day of the Dead by Judy Goldman
A little girl grieves the death of her uncle and believes he returns to her in the form of a monarch butterfly.
Read Related: Celebrate Día de los Muertos with Your Children
I Remember Abuelito—A Day of the Dead Story by Janice Levy
This wonderful piece of literature celebrates the life of an abuelito, and incorporates a craft and a recipe as well.
Maria Molina and the Days of the Dead by Kathleen Krull
This selection takes you through the celebration through the eyes of a young girl who has lost loved ones, including her little brother. She takes the reader through the preparations and her beliefs and feelings in relation to the holiday. It is a heartwarming story that will help children understand different cultures and their festivities.