Monday, November 1, 2010

Nonfiction Monday: Dia de los Muertos

The trick-or-treaters have come and gone, and hopefully you're left with some candy. But don't put away any skeleton decorations just yet. The ancient Aztec festival, Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, starts on the night of October 31 and continues through November 2. In Mexico, it's a time to remember family and friends who have died. Celebrate this holiday with young readers by sharing the following books with them:

Day of the Dead by Linda Lowery introduces beginning readers to the holiday, describing its roots in both Aztec mythology and Catholic traditions. Using simple words, the early reader stresses the cycle of life and reminds readers that people, like every other living thing on Earth, have a time to be born and a time to die. As the author states, "Day of the Dead is not a sad time. It is a warm and loving time to remember people who have died. It is a time to be thankful for life." Barbara Knutson's colorful illustrations resemble woodcuts and add to the book's charm.

Pablo Remembers: The Fiesta of the Day of the Dead by George Ancona, gives children a front row seat as they observe through photographs and text how a Mexican family observes this holiday by honoring their loved ones who have died.

A particular favorite of mine is The Festival of Bones. Written and illustrated by the Mexican artist Luis San Vicente, the first part of this "little-bitty book for the Day of the Dead" is a joyous poem about skeletons related in both English and Spanish. The second half explains the importance on this holiday and provides young readers with simple activities, such as building an altar or making a sugar skull. The illustrations are truly out-of-this world!

To learn more about this holiday, check out this informative Smithsonian website.

Today's host for Nonfiction Monday is publisher Capstone's blog, Capstone Connect

1 comment:

  1. I have the first two books in your post on display today (along with the requisite marigolds!), but I have not seen Festival of Bones yet. Thanks for pointing it out.