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13 Children's Books About Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) + Video

Updated: Sep 19


Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links


Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) is not the same as Halloween. Day of the Dead is a special two day holiday that reunites the living and dead. Families create ofrendas (offerings) to honor their departed family members that have passed. These altars are decorated with bright yellow marigold flowers, photos of the departed, and the favorite foods and drinks of the one being honored. The offerings are believed to encourage visits from the land of the dead as the departed souls hear their prayers, smell their foods and join in the celebrations. (via Day of the Dead website)


Disney/Pixar's Coco was an introduction to the Day of the Dead celebration for many people. If you haven't seen the movie, it's a great one to watch. (But be warned! If you're sentimental, you may shed a few tears because this one can definitely tug at your heartstrings).


Related Reading: 13 Not-So-Spooky Halloween Picture Books For Children


The following books provide children with a great introduction about the holiday, as well as providing an opportunity for children who celebrate the holiday to see their traditions reflected and honored. Some of the books are more informational while others are more geared for fun, but they all combine to make a great collection. Happy Reading!

A family honors their living and dead relatives as they celebrate this holiday with shared food and stories.


The Day of the Dead is a happy day when Mar's family gathers together. There are favorite dishes to enjoy, games to be played, and most importantly, stories to tell. No one in the family is forgotten because this is the day of the year when the dead come to visit the living--and for this holiday it is almost as if they're alive again, as the family takes great joy in celebrating the things that made them special. Mar realizes she is just like her Grandpa Ramón, who kept a journal. And her sister, Paz, plays accordian, just like their great-grandfather. There are so many things that connect them all--and at dinner, Abuelita spins even more stories that make them feel close to the ones they will love forever. Ana Aranda's tender text and vibrant art make the joy felt on this sweet day totally palpable.

Purchase: Bookshop

On Día de los Muertos, we dance, decorate, and celebrate the reunion of the living and the dead! We line the street with glowing candles, display pictures to honor the loved ones no longer with us, play fun music, and more. Learn about more The Day of the Dead traditions while also practicing counting numbers 1-10. Wiggle and waggle the plush finger puppet as the characters in the story dance around. Children will love the adorable and interactive hand puppet toy, making for an engaging story or bedtime experience.


Check out more finger puppet books for babies and older from Cottage Door Press!

  • The colorful skull finger puppet encourages interactive play and helps develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

  • Fun rhyming story entertains while teaching language patterns to babies and toddlers in their first years.

  • Practice hand-eye coordination. Beautiful illustrations with bright coloring help keep your toddler engaged.

  • Babies and toddlers learn best when they are playing, especially when their grown-ups are in on the fun.

  • A great finger puppet book for birthdays, Dia de los Muertos, baby showers, and more.

Purchase: Bookshop



Celebrate life, family, and friends with the rich traditions of this special day!

It's Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and children throughout the pueblo, or town, are getting ready to celebrate! They decorate with colored streamers, calaveras, or sugar skulls, and pan de muertos, or bread of the dead. There are altars draped in cloth and covered in marigolds and twinkling candles. Music fills the streets. Join the fun and festivities, learn about a different cultural tradition, and brush up on your Spanish vocabulary, as the town honors their dearly departed in a traditional, time-honored style.


SPANISH DESCRIPTION

Es el Día de los Muertos y todos los niños del pueblo y ciudad están listos para celebrar! Decoran con calaveras lo calavera de azucar, pan de muertos y banderas. Hay altares cubriertos de manta con muchas flores, y velas parpadiendo. Musica llena las calles. Hay que unirse con los festivales y abrender una diferente cultura y traduciones y repasar el vocabulario en español, mientras el pueblo honra sus queridos en una tradución con el transcurso y con el estilo del tiempo.

Purchase: Bookshop



It's the Day of the Dead! It's time to celebrate! In this bilingual book, a young girl is busy helping her family prepare to honor those who have died--especially her grandfather. She misses him very much and is excited for his spirit to visit that night.


SPANISH DESCRIPTION


Es el Día de los Muertos. Es tiempo de celebrar! En este libro biligua una niña joven esta ocupada ayudando a su familia preparar en los que han muerto--especialmente su abuelo. Ella lo estraña mucho y está con mucho emoción que su espirito venga de visita está noche.

Purchase: Bookshop



Long ago in what would come to be called Mexico, as Mama Alma and her granddaughter, Bella, recall happy times while walking in the garden they have tended together since Bella was a baby, Mama Alma asks that after she is gone her family remember her on one special day each year. Includes facts about The Remembering Day, El dia de los muertos.


Purchase: Amazon



A fresh, funny take on the Day of the Dead that's packed with kid appeal


Every skeleton in the Land of the Dead is excited to celebrate el Día de los Muertos with the Living. But not Angelito. His big sister has told him all about their horrifying bulgy eyes and squishy skin. So when Angelito is separated from his family in the Land of the Living, he's petrified--until he makes a new friend who is just as terrified of THEM as Angelito is. Then his new buddy turns out to be (gulp!) a living boy! Angelito runs as fast as his bony feet can carry him. Fortunately the traditions of the Day of the Dead reunite the two boys, just in time for some holiday fun.


Full of wild Tim Burton-esque art, this clever tale is sure to become un libro favorito for the Day of the Dead, Halloween season, and beyond.

Purchase: Amazon



Discover the story behind José Guadalupe Posada's iconic Día de Muertos skeletons in this fascinating picture book from award-winning creator Duncan Tonatiuh


Funny Bones tells the story of how calaveras came to be. The amusing figures are the creation of Mexican artist José Guadalupe (Lupe) Posada (1852-1913). Lupe learned the art of printing at a young age and soon had his own shop. In a country that was not known for freedom of speech, he drew political cartoons, much to the amusement of the local population but not that of the politicians. He continued to draw cartoons, but he is best known today for his calavera drawings. They have become synonymous with Mexico's Día de Muertos festival.


Calaveras are skeletons performing all sorts of activities, both everyday and festive: dancing in the streets, playing instruments in a band, pedaling bicycles, promenading in the park, and even sweeping the sidewalks. They are not intended to be frightening, but rather to celebrate the joy of living as well as provide humorous observations about people.


Award-winning author and illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh relates the pivotal moments of Lupe's life and explains the different artistic processes he used. Juxtaposing his own artwork with Lupe's, Tonatiuh brings to light the remarkable life and work of a man beloved by many but whose name has remained in obscurity.

Purchase: Bookshop



On the Day of the Dead, families gather to remember and celebrate the lives of loved ones who have passed on. For Paquito it's just another boring day and he would rather play video games than set up a Dia de los muertos altar for his departed grandfather. That is until Paquito's grandfather, his “Abuelito”, appears and takes Paquito on the greatest adventure of his life.


Purchase: Amazon



Learn all about the traditions of Día de los Muertos with this second book in the brand-new board book series Celebrate the World, which highlights special occasions and holidays across the globe.


At the end of October each year, it's time to celebrate an ancient tradition: Día de los Muertos! With vibrant illustrations by Golden Globe-winning Mexican illustrator Jorge Gutierrez, this festive board book teaches that Día de los Muertos honors ancestors and loved ones who have passed. From sugar skulls to papel picado, this is a holiday that truly commemorates the cycle of life.


Purchase: Bookshop



Day of the Dead or Día de Los Muertos is a vibrant fall holiday celebrated through the United States, Mexico and central America. In this award-winning activity book, readers explore an illustrated world illuminating the traditions and history of Day of the Dead through a series of mazes, puzzles and activities, using press out forms to create shrines and masks which can be decorated with the stickers included in the book, preparing readers young and old for this vibrant cultural celebration.


Purchase: Bookshop



Follow two children as they celebrate their ancestors in this bilingual introduction to el Día de los Muertos-- the Day of the Dead!


They prepare offerings of flowers, sugar skulls, and special bread, and make delicious foods to eat and share. By spreading marigold petals, they guide the dead home to join the festivities. After hours of singing, dancing, and reminiscing, it's time for bed.


The festivities are described in brief, lyrical text, presented in both Spanish and English. An author's note provides more detail on the holiday, its historical context, and the inspiration behind the artwork.


Bob Barner's signature collages incorporate the traditional Day of the Dead symbols and bright, bold colors to evoke the joyful atmosphere of this vibrant holiday.


Celebrate our ancestors on the Day of the Dead / Honremos a los antepasados en el Día de los Muertos!


Purchase: Bookshop



This winning debut picture book from Mexican artist Flavia Z. Drago about finding the courage to make friends is perfect for the spooky season -- or anytime.


Gustavo is good at doing all sorts of ghostly things: walking through walls, making objects fly, and glowing in the dark. And he loves almost nothing more than playing beautiful music on his violin. But Gustavo is shy, and some things are harder for him to do, like getting in a line to buy eye scream or making friends with other monsters. Whenever he tries getting close to them, he realizes they just can't see him. Now that the Day of the Dead is fast approaching, what can he do to make them notice him and to share with them something he loves? With fancifully detailed artwork and visual humor, debut picture-book creator Flavia Z. Drago's vivid illustrations tell a sweet and gently offbeat story of loneliness, bravery, and friendship that is sure to be a treat for little ghouls and goblins everywhere.



Purchase: Bookshop




Celebrate Día de los Muertos with this fun introduction for kids ages 6 to 9

Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a holiday that celebrates loved ones who have passed on. This engaging book for kids explains the history, traditions, and customs of Día de los Muertos. It also includes activities that encourage kids to celebrate at home or in their communities.

  • Celebratory traditions--Kids will learn how Día de los Muertos is celebrated across the world, with parades, storytelling, music, and food.

  • A variety of activities--From baking pan de muerto (or "bread of the dead") to creating paper marigold flowers, kids can get festive in lots of hands-on ways.

  • Fun facts and illustrations--Colorful pictures and thought-provoking facts help kids discover new things about Día de los Muertos.

Inspire kids to explore Día de los Muertos with this vibrant and lighthearted Day of the Dead book.


Purchase: Bookshop



A Step 3 Step into Reading leveled reader with stickers based on Disney/Pixar's Coco.


Despite his family's baffling generations-old ban on music, Miguel (voice of newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (voice of Benjamin Bratt). Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead following a mysterious chain of events. Along the way, he meets charming trickster Hector (voice of Gael García Bernal), and together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel's family history. Children ages 4 to 6 will love this Step 3 Step into Reading leveled reader based on Disney/Pixar's Coco. Plus it has over 30 stickers! Step 3 readers feature engaging characters in easy-to-follow plots about popular topics. For children who are ready to read on their own.


Purchase: Bookshop


Your turn! Which books would you add to this list? Let us know.




RELATED VIDEOS and READING



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