Photo by Valeria Almaraz on Unsplash
"Amor verdadero nos une por siempre" (from the soundtrack of Coco)
I am a non-native Spanish speaker, of non-Hispanic heritage. To study and teach a foreign language it is crucial to also learn about one's culture. Learning more about Dia de los Muertos has a special significance for me though as a practicing Catholic. It is also very personal for me, as my first child, Alexander Lloyd, was delivered into this world stillborn on November 2nd, 2014, All Souls Day. Alexander is the reason for so much of who I am today; particularly, my inspiration for so much of what I do as a mother, and teacher to others. Remembrance of our loved ones who have passed away carries with it a precious love like no other.
I have only just started becoming aware of books for my toddler and infant that introduce us to this holiday. One of the first books I came across is from the series Canticos, titled Esqueletitos. It is an unfoldable accordion-style book that follows the 12 hours of the day, on one side in Spanish and the other side in English. It includes a clock with moveable hands to practice identifying time. Their webpage, https://canticosworld.com/story/little-skeletons-esqueletitos/, includes an audio version of the song in English and Spanish, as well as the song's written lyrics. A corresponding phone app is also available, that I think has some additional activities to check out.
A second book I came across, again that practices counting, is Patty Rodriguez and Ariana Stein's La Llorona: Counting Down / Contando hacia atras. I was not previously familiar with the legend of La llorona, but there are a ton of resources online for older ones to learn more about it. For younger ones, I think this is a cute introduction to some basic vocabulary terms again regarding the background of La llorona (i.e. two children, one mother), as well as common associations of how one views death (i.e. tears, tombs). Both this and the above book are board books perfect for little hands to hold and explore.
One other suggestion for very young children's books is of course resources related to the recent movie Coco. Searching quickly on Amazon, for young children, there are books that are Spanish language translations summarizing the film and providing an accompanying CD, as well as bilingual books. For older enthusiasts and parents, however, I would highly recommend referring to A Gringo’s Guide to Coco- Mexican Cultural Traditions Explained. This looks like a page to bookmark that again can help anyone who is not of Hispanic background better understand key points from the movie related to celebrating the Day of the Dead.
Multicultural Kid Blogs is proud to be hosting another blog hop for Day of the Dead! (Don't miss our series from last year, 2017, and 2016!) Be sure to visit all the posts below for great ideas on sharing Day of the Dead with kids: