If you ask a random person on the street today what ‘Dia de los Muertos‘ meant, you would probably be laughed at or considered strange. Yet in Mexico and among the proud Latina heritage, Dia de los Muertos is a day of celebration – Dia de los Muertos is the Day of the Dead. And that just happens to be today.
Dia de los Muertos falls on November 2nd, and is a day of remembrance for all the loved ones who have passed on. The day is often full of colour, food, candles and pictures. Dishes loved by those one living are made, and drinks are placed on brightly decorated altars to quench the thirst of the dead after a long journey back home.
Although becoming increasingly popular among mainstream media, the Day of the Dead is still a holiday that many fail to consider as part of the year. In reality, we have seen a lot more of the holiday than we know – especially in the popularisation of decorated sugar skull motifs:
music videos to songs such as Lilly Wood & the Prick’s ‘Prayer in C’ (a particularly popular song from Summer 2014 in England):
and even in the film industry with the feature-length film The Book of Life:
and more recently Disney x Pixar’s release of the trailer for COCO:
However, I have been on the hunt for books far and wide to highlight such a wonderful holiday. It has not been an easy task, but I have finally been able to comprise a list of books to check out this November to celebrate Dia de los Muertos.
Can’t Look Away | Donna Cooner
A book I yet have to read, Can’t Look Away is a perfect example of how Dia de los Muertos helps families to deal with their grief through a celebration of life.
This is definitely on my TBR list.
The Festival of Bones | Luis San Vicente
Pre-School – Middle Grade
Fun and enthusiastic, The Festival of Bones teaches children the true meaning of Dia de los Muertos through colourful illustration and activities. The book is ideal for teachers and parents who want to teach young children the tradition behind the Day of the Dead.
In the Tequila Worm | Viola Canales
Humourous but true to itself, In the Tequila Worm follows the life of a Mexican-American teenager named Sofia. Although the book tackles a lot of big issues such as discrimination, death and division of family, the book remains traditional and focusses on much of the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos.
The Book of Life | Stacia Deutsch
Aimed as a companion to the animated film The Book of Life; the novelisation helps children to understand the holiday they witness in the movie. Perfect for an base to begin teaching a young child with, and a brilliant partner for the movie.
Perhaps start the movie would be the best to begin with, if to inform small children as it is aimed at middle grade. But the book is also fabulous.
Fated | Alyson Noel
Supernatural meets reality when Daire has to defend the souls of the Day of the Dead. The book helps to shine a light on the meaning behind the holiday, and brings forward a very real interest in the subject for the young adult market. Alyson Noel is a fabulous author, so I would recommend this to anyone.
The Dead Family Diaz | P.J. Bracegirdle
Perfect for younger readers, The Dead Family Diaz tells of a friendship between two boys – one living, one dead – through colourful illustration and heart-warming intentions. The book is available in other languages to help all children understand the holiday.
Vivian Divine is Dead | Lauren Sabel
The first book I thought of when thinking about this topic, Vivian Divine is Dead helps to showcase the Mexican holiday fantastically. A must read for all young adult enthusiasts, make sure this book is on your reading list this November. It has the whole murder appeal too – so that really helps its case.