“DAY OF THE DEAD” BOOKS FOR ELEMENTARY STUDENTS

“DAY OF THE DEAD” BOOKS FOR ELEMENTARY STUDENTS

I have these Day of the Dead books in my classroom and have seen how my students get motivated to look at them to read and look at the art. In the elementary Spanish program at the school where I teach, the Day of the Dead is one of the cultural explorations we do to help our students to understand what this celebration means to many communities in Mexico. We are not celebrating it, but we aim to show appreciation of a tradition that’s important to another culture. The Day of the Dead is not related to Halloween. The Day of the Dead is a two-day celebration to remember loved ones who have passed away. This is a happy and colorful celebration. Here are my five top book picks:

Día de los Muertos (Celebrate the World) introduces children to the meaning of the celebration in a fun and dynamic way. Students are also exposed to Spanish vocabulary related to the celebration.

The Day of the Dead / El Día De Los Muertos: A Bilingual Celebration (Spanish Edition) is by far my favorite. I love all the art in the book. The book is bilingual, so you can choose in what language you want to read it. If you get the audio, you will love the music. The book was narrated by Rita Moreno.

Uncle Monarch and the Day of the Dead has a beautiful story that shows the importance of Monarch butterflies in this celebration. In some places in Mexico, it is believed that these butterflies carry the souls of loved ones who have passed away.

I feel that these next two books need teachers to provide a little bit of background about this celebration before sharing them with the children.

Mi Familia Calaca / My Skeleton Family (First Concepts in Mexican Folk Art) is a fun and short book for younger students. Great to introduce and review family members in the context of El Día de los Muertos.

 

Clatter Bash!: A Day of the Dead Celebration is a vivid book! There is not much text, but it’s great to use to describe the pictures. The illustrations will keep your students engaged. At the end of the book there is plentiful information about the Day of the Dead celebration.

Last, but not least! Here is a banner to decorate your classroom!

Have fun!

DAY OF THE DEAD RESOURCES FOR SPANISH CLASS

DAY OF THE DEAD RESOURCES FOR SPANISH CLASS

If you explore my blog, you will find a few posts related to The Day of the Dead. This celebration takes many forms in Spanish speaking countries, and it also changes names and meanings in the different countries. In some countries, it’s just one more name on the calendar. In others, it is celebrated in some parts of the country, which is the case of Guatemala and Colombia. While in Mexico, it is an important celebration across the country that has been included by UNESCO on its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

While incorporating this tradition in your curriculum, it’s important to clarify with school administrators and parents that you are not celebrating this as a holiday in your class, you are just sharing about a cultural celebration that others celebrate (i.e. you’re exploring and honoring others’ traditions, not appropriating them as your own). You might like to read the following posts. Just click on the pictures to read them all!

 

 

More Resources

Los barriletes de Sumpango en Guatemala

 El Día de los Difuntos en Bolivia

 Songs and Videos for Elementary Spanish

 Free PowerPoint: El Día de los Muertos

Build Your Own Online Altar

Enjoy,

You might also like these resources available on Teachers Pay Teachers:

             https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/El-Dia-de-los-Muertos-Day-of-the-Dead-Lapbook-3418747 

DÍA DE LOS DIFUNTOS CELEBRATION IN BOLIVIA

DÍA DE LOS DIFUNTOS CELEBRATION IN BOLIVIA

El Día de los Muertos is celebrated in many countries around the world on November 1st and 2nd. This holiday is celebrated nationwide in Bolivia, mostly on November 2nd, and is known as “El Día de los Difuntos.” They celebrate the return of the souls of their ancestors. In preparation to receive them, people typically set up altars with pictures, candles, flowers, fruit, and a special bread called “Tantawawas” which in the Quechua language means babies made out of bread. They also have a bread called “Tantachachis” which means grandparents made out of bread. This tradition is also shared with Perú, Ecuador, Argentina, and a specific region of far south Colombia called “Nariño,” where this kind of bread is called “guaguas.” Bolivian Tantawawas have a specific characteristic in which the faces placed on the bread are made out of clay.

Recordando mujeres. La Paz.

This video below explains how this beautiful holiday is celebrated in Bolivia. People go to the cemeteries to paint graves and decorate them.  They also set their offering at home where it is important to have horses to help the souls arrive to the table. There are also stairs made out of bread to help the souls go back to the sky. The videos below have been helpful for me to educate myself about this holiday, as well as exploring Bolivia’s official website for tourism and culture. Please feel free to watch the videos to learn more.

 

Get inspired and create your own Tantawawas in class. I know time is limited, so I recommend you use modeling clay with your students, acknowledging that we need to be respectful of this tradition and share with your students why a different material is being used in class.

 

I was able to find white and brown clay. I mixed them up to produce a shade closer to the real bread. I drew the face of the Tantawawa on a piece of white paper and cut it out to place it on the Tantawawa shape. Here are the results:

 

More resources
Story: La Fiesta de las Tantawawas (Perú)
Recipe to make Tantawawas

You might like to learn how this holiday is celebrated in Guatemala and México. Also stop by Mundo de Pepita’s blog to read about how El Día de los Muertos is celebrated in Ecuador and about making  paper Marigolds in class.

Have fun teaching!
Carolina