In just a few days, The Day of the Dead (El DÃa de los Muertos) will be celebrated in Mexico, other Latin American countries and a large number of U.S. cities. Celebration dates vary from October 31st through November 2nd. On the Day of the Dead, people remember and pray for family members and friends who have passed. To celebrate the dearly departed, it is common to visit their graves and to create altars which often include marigolds, photos of the deceased and items that were important to them in life.
Communities, libraries and schools all over are currently making final preparations for their own Day of the Dead celebrations. I’ve attended the Santa Ana, California celebration several times, and am always amazed by the range of altars that families and local organizations create in honor of loved ones and various causes. The festivities also include Mexican folk music, face painting, sweet bread (pan de muerto) and Mexican hot chocolate. If you live near a Day of the Dead celebration yourself, I strongly encourage you to check it out.
You can also see The Book of Life, a beautifully crafted new animated film in current release which includes a Day of the Dead celebration. And of course you can always celebrate by reading one or more of the following YA novels (and one adult graphic novel) in which the Day of the Dead plays a role!
In The Tequila Worm (2006 Pura BelprÃ© Award winner), Viola Canales writes a semi-autobiographical story about Sofia, a Mexican-American teen who has grown up in a Latino neighborhood in South Texas. Her excellent work in school earns her a scholarship to attend a prestigious and mainly white boarding school over 300 miles away from her family. Much of the novel centers on Sofia’s efforts to convince her parents to let her attend this school. Throughout the novel, family traditions and celebrations are described, including those connected with the Day of the Dead. There’s lots of humor in this novel, yet it also covers serious ground including discrimination, the difficulty of separation from family and death. Continue reading Celebrate the Day of the Dead with These YA Novels