Reading Roundup: 10 Children’s Books About Día de los Muertos

Dia de los Muertos Reading Roundup

¡Buenos Días!

It’s that time of year! This week I’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite Día de los Muertos books, from which students can learn more deeply about the holiday’s traditions and history. The Día de los Muertos fiesta is a time for honoring and remembering. It is a time for celebrating family, ancestors, history, and loved ones who have passed away. It is mainly celebrated in Mexico, Guatemala and the United States, fusing Native Mesoamerican traditions with Spanish traditions. On our site, you can click on our Día de los Muertos tab under “Our Most Popular Themes” to see our many posts about Day of the Dead. Just this week Charla posted a video that teaches the meaning behind Día de los Muertos, and Katrina posted about Pictorial Input Charts for teaching about it in the classroom. Furthermore, we have a Halloween and Día de los Muertos Roundup of Books that is worth checking out. I hope you enjoy this month’s Reading Roundup, and that it helps with the teaching of this exciting holiday!

¡Saludos!
Kalyn

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Book Giveaway: Tales our Abuelitas Told/Cuentos que contaban nuestras abuelas!

Good afternoon, everyone!

We are in week eight of the giveaway series so make sure you comment this week for your second-to-last chance to win!  Thank you again to all who continue to comment each week and congratulations to the winner of last week’s giveaway!  This week’s giveaway includes Tales our Abuelitas Told, and the Spanish translation, Cuentos que contaban nuestras abuelas, written by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy.  Vamos a Leer | Book Giveaway: Tales our Abuelitas Told/Cuentos que contaban nuestras abuelas!The book has won many recognitions, including the Literary Guild Medal, and the Kirkus Review Kirkus Best Books award.  In Tales our Abuelitas Told, “Twelve stories from varied roots of Hispanic culture come together in a colorful collection that includes talking ants, magic bagpipes, dancing goats, and flying horses. In some cases the tales emphasize a moral, such as looking for the good in any bad situation as in ‘Catlina the Fox.’ In others, the story illustrates the importance of friends, as in the case of ‘The Bird of One Thousand Colors.’  The authors seek to trace the origins of the stories through personal source notes, citing variants of the original story and the historical themes behind the tales. Of note is a tale of Juan Bobo that is included in this collection. Juan Bobo has entertained children and adults for more than five centuries with his antics and absent-mindedness. While Juan Bobo is well known by many, ‘The Bird of One Thousand Colors’ is a story that Alma Flor Ada was unable to trace to an original source, although she remembers being told the story by her grandmother.  Throughout the collection, culturally accurate illustrations catch the eye with vivid colors and intricate details that convey aspects of the story. Each story leads naturally to the next, keeping alive the oral traditions of a rich culture that spans the continents.”  The authors’ note tells that this book was indeed written as a way to keep the abuelitas memory alive and pass on the stories they once told.  School Library Journal recommends the book for grades three and up. Continue reading

¡Mira, Look!: Prietita and the Ghost Woman

“Though we tremble bChildren's Book Review: Prietita and the Ghost Woman by Gloria Anzaldúa | Vamos a Leerefore uncertain futures/ may we meet illness, death and adversity with strength/ may we dance in the face of our fears.”
― Gloria E. Anzaldúa

Saludos, everyone! This week I will be reviewing another rendition of the Hispanic legend of La Llorona, continuing to draw from this month’s themes. Our featured book for the week is Prietita and the Ghost Woman, written by Gloria Anzaldúa and illustrated by Christina Gonzalez. Anzaldúa creates a feminist adaptation of the Hispanic legend by featuring strong, female protagonists, and portraying La Llorona as a benevolent spirit, rather than a haunting ghost. The female relationships in the story are loving and respectful, and women of all different ages look out for each other in a lovely constellation of female alliances.

Children's Book Review: Prietita and the Ghost Woman by Gloria Anzaldúa | Vamos a LeerThe story is written in English with a Spanish translation on each page, as well as Spanish words peppered throughout the English text. When interspersing Spanish words, Anzaldúa has taken care to provide translations or context clues for English-language readers. For example, when Prietita asks Doña Lola for help, Doña Lola replies, “I’m sorry, mijita, I’m sorry, my child, but I’ve used up all the ruda I had and none of the neighbors grow it.Continue reading

Book Giveaway: Arrullos de la sirena, The Rooster who went to his Uncle’s Wedding, The Three Golden Oranges, The Lizard and the Sun/La lagartija y el sol, Rosa Raposa!

Good afternoon, everyone!

I want to start by saying thank you to all who continue to comment each week and by saying congratulations to the winner of last week’s giveaway!  This week, we are giving away a bit of a bigger package.  This week’s giveaway includes Alma Flor Ada’s Arrullos de la sirena, The Rooster who went to his Uncle’s Wedding, The Three Golden Oranges, The Lizard and the Sun/La lagartija y el sol, and F. Isabel Campoy’s Rosa Raposa.

Vamos a Leer | Book Giveaway: Arrullos de la sirena, The Rooster who went to his Uncle’s Wedding, The Three Golden Oranges, The Lizard and the Sun/La lagartija y el sol, Rosa Raposa!The first book, the very recently published, Arrullos de la sirena, written by Alma Flor Ada and illustrated by Jairo Linares Landinez, is a collection of rhyming verses, written in Spanish, which “captures the sheer joy felt upon the birth of a child.”  According to the Amazon description for the book, “The musicality of the poems makes them ideal for reading aloud.  Each one will evoke imagery for older children while being as soothing as a lullaby for younger ones.”  Great for all ages and quick to read, this book would make a great addition to any bilingual or Spanish speaking classroom! Continue reading

Book Giveaway: The Gold Coin PLUS Alma Flor’s Narration (CD)!

Good afternoon, everyone!

Congratulations to the winner of last week’s giveaway and thank you to all who commented!  This week, you can win Alma Flor Ada’s The Gold Coin and her narration of it on CD!  Vamos a Leer | Book Giveaway: The Gold Coin PLUS Alma Flor’s Narration (CD)!The Gold Coin was written by Alma Flor Ada and illustrated by Neil Waldman.  This book has received many awards and recognitions such as the Christopher Award Medal and the American Book Sellers Association Pick of the Lists Award.  The description reads, “While it reads as a folktale, it is an original story.  Trying to steal Doña Josefa’s gold, Juan follows this generous curandera through the countryside.  In the process, he is affected by the beauty of the natural world around him, the goodwill of the people who work the fields, and the spirit of the healer he is pursuing.  Neil Waldman’s poetic watercolors sensitively convey the beauty and diversity of the Central American landscape, as well as the inner transformation that Juan undergoes.”  This book has been recommended for kindergarten through grade three by the School Library Journal and Sherylanne Wesley shared her idea for a vocabulary activity for the classroom after reading the story right on the description page linked above. Continue reading

Book Giveaway: The Malachite Palace, Jordi’s Star, The Unicorn of the West, AND Alma Flor’s Narration of Them (CD)!

Good afternoon, everyone!

Congratulations to the winner of last week’s giveaway and thank you to all who commented!  This week, you can win three of Alma Flor Ada’s books and her narration of them on CD!  The three books are The Malachite Palace, Jordi’s Star, and The Unicorn of the West.

Vamos a Leer | Book Giveaway: The Malachite Palace/Jordi’s Star/The Unicorn of the West/AND Alma Flor’s Narration of Them (CD)!The first of the three, The Malachite Palace, was written by Alma Flor Ada and illustrated by Leonid Gore.  The book description reads “This original fairy tale celebrates the importance of freedom and the need to take responsibility for one’s own freedom.  Although the queen, the governess, and the lady-in-waiting all believe that the young princess is too delicate and refined to play with the neighborhood children, the princess herself decides otherwise.”  The School Library Journal recommends the book for children in pre-school up to grade three (ages four to eight years old).  On the same page with the book descriptions on Alma Flor’s website, there is a coloring page that you could print out and have the students color after reading the story together. Continue reading

Book Giveaway: Me llamo María Isabel/My Name is María Isabel

Good afternoon, everyone!

Congratulations to the winner of last week’s giveaway and thank you to all who commented!  TVamos a Leer | Book Giveaway: Me llamo María Isabel/My Name is María Isabelhis week, you can win Alma Flor Ada’s book, Me llamo María Isabel, and the English translation, My Name is María Isabel.  According to Alma Flor’s website, this book tells the story of “María Isabel, a Hispanic child growing up in the U.S., [who] begins having problems in her new classroom when her teacher changes her name to Mary. This compelling portrait of an experience common to many language minority children inspires discussions on self-identity and biculturalism.”  School Library Journal suggests this book for grades three and four. Continue reading

Book Giveaway: Tuesday Giveaways!

Good morning, everyone!

As you may have realized, I have been posting every Tuesday about books you can win simply by reading and commenting on the post!  This series of Tuesday Giveaways, made possible by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy, is nine weeks long and truly offers something for every one of our readers!

Vamos a Leer | Tuesday Giveaways!

Some of the books are bilingual or have Spanish and English versions. Some are accompanied by an audio recording of the author’s reading of the stories or sing-along music. Not to mention that the books span a variety of age groups.  Here’s the schedule you can look forward to: Continue reading

Book Giveaway: Dancing Home/Nacer Bailando

Good morning, everyone!

Congratulations to the winner of last week’s giveaway and thank you to all who commented!  Vamos a Leer | Book Giveaway: Dancing Home/Nacer BailandoThis week, you have a chance to win another giveaway package, which includes the book Nacer Bailando and the English language edition, Dancing Home.
We are grateful to Alma Flor Ada, who not only co-authored this book with Gabriel M. Zubizarreta, but also donated the copies we are able to give away today!  School Library Journal recommends the book for grades three through six (ages eight to twelve) and features a review written by Helen Foster James: Continue reading

Book Giveaway: Vivir en dos idiomas and Yes! We are Latinos/¡Sí! Somos Latinos

Good afternoon, everyone!

It’s Tuesday, so you know what that means! Today, we are congratulating Reina, our winner from last week, and we are ready to give away our second book package in the series. I am so excited to be kicking off Hispanic Heritage Month with this giveaway!

Vamos a Leer | Book Giveaway: Vivir en dos idiomas and Yes! We are LatinosThis week, we have the memoria of Alma Flor Ada’s life, Vivir en dos idiomas, in which “Alma Flor shares with the adult reader the most important moments of her life: as a student,
teacher, mother, activist, author and professor. She shares with openness and sincerity, and her engaging style as a storyteller, the circumstances that transformed her life, her experiences living in four different countries, the people who influenced her development and the lessons learned from life.” The book incorporates many personal stories—from her childhood in Cuba to her experiences in the United States that initiated her support for peasant immigrants—and even highlights how she became a writer in the first place. Continue reading