El Dí­a de los Muertos - Day of the Dead

by Bob Barner and Teresa Mlawer. Great book for Lesson 2 of the Sonrisas Cultural Curriculum

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El Dí­a de los Muertos - Day of the Dead - A Bilingual Celebration by Bob Barner and Teresa Mlawer.  Great book for Lesson 2 of the Sonrisas Cultural Curriculum (under Teacher Resources) - El dí­a de Muertos.  The Day of the Dead is a Latin American holiday observed for several days, beginning on Halloween. It is a joyous celebration of deceased loved ones through memories, songs, food, and dance, and Barner successfully captures that spirit within these pages. Rich colors and simple phrases guide children through a tradition that is anything but mundane. The festive and detailed illustrations add to the authentic feel of the book, which will serve as an excellent accompaniment to lessons about the holiday and will encourage further research. With its sugar skulls and colorful altars, this observance highlights the unique cultural differences that exist throughout the world.

Barner credits the work of Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada, whose engravings of skeletons have become symbols of the Day of the Dead celebrations, for inspiring this picture-book overview of the Latin American holiday. The rhyming English text follows a traditional nuclear family through their preparations and practices: “We celebrate our ancestors on the Day of the Dead / with offerings of flowers, sugar skulls, and bread.” Mlawer very deservedly receives marquee recognition for her unforced, unrhymed Spanish translation, which accompanies the text on each page. The illustrations of paper, pastel, pencil, and ink, set on brilliant double-page spreads, are celebratory and never spooky, even in the graveyard scenes, as the prancing skeletons and ghostly grandparents offer friendly smiles. With just a few short sentences and an afterword, this title presents an introduction to the holiday that is spiritual and serious, familial and fun, making it ideal for group sharing.

Hardback, 32 pages.

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