Review: The Day of the Dead / El Día de los Muertos

Title: The Day of the Dead / El Día de los Muertos

Author: Bob Barner
Translator: Teresa Mlawer
Publisher: Holiday House
Year: 2011 (bilingual edition)
Paperback: 32 pages
Ages: 4 – 8
IBSN: 978-0823423811

Award winner children's author Bob Barner and translator Teresa Miller introduce young children to the celebration of the Day of the Dead, known in Spanish as El Día de los Muertos. In very basic terms, children learn that people from Mexico and parts of Central and South America remember and celebrate their ancestors during the Day of the Dead.
They make offerings and delicious traditional foods, such as tacos and empanadas. They pack everything up and get ready before the sun sets. At night, they light candles, mark a path for the spirits with petals, sing, and dance. The celebration is hours long.

The book explains in a simple way the celebration of the Day of the Dead. I thought that the cheerful and colorful illustrations, which are cut-paper collages, give a sense of how beautiful the celebration must be. The text is great for bilingual kids because it is both in English and Spanish. At the end of the book, a section titled About el Día de los Muertos provides detailed information about the celebration.
This book is excellent for Mexican and Central and South American families who want to start teaching their children about their traditional celebration. Definitely, this book also inspires children, parents, and educators, who are not familiar with el Día de los Muertos, to learn more about it. We are a Puerto Rican/Cuban American family, and now we want to learn more about our fellow Hispanics' celebration of the Day of the Dead.


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