Are you trying to add some diversity to your child’s library or want to know more about the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos? Keep scrolling to find out some of the best Day of the Dead books for kids that talk about this festive holiday.
This post about Day of the Dead books for kids was originally written August 31, 2020 and was updated September 4, 2022 and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.
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Ok, let’s be honest. Who learned more about Dia de los Muertos from watching Disney’s Coco than they ever learned in school?
While I’ve definitely noticed the beautifully haunting Day of the Dead decorations every Halloween season, I really didn’t know much about the holiday except that it was to celebrate the dead.
But it’s SO much more than that! And there are lots of fantastic Mexican traditions and stories that go along with this fall holiday.
While schools tend to focus just on Halloween, our family will be learning about the Day of the Dead on our own to supplement our school curriculum.
One of the easiest ways to do that is by reading Day of the Dead books for kids.
I’ve come up with a list of some of the best Dia de los Muertos kids books that are totally worth buying or checking out from your local library.
You won’t find another resource like this one anywhere else on the web, so take advantage of it now!
It will only take 5 minutes or less, and then you can go back to enjoying your Halloween festivities with your little ones. What could be better than that?
Plus, these books make wonderful gifts for any occasion, not just Halloween! So don’t wait another minute – check out our list today!
Let’s take a look at these Dia de los Muertos books:
Dia de los Muertos FAQs
The Day of the Dead is actually two days: November 1st (honoring children who have died) and November 2nd (for adults who have died).
The Day of the Dead is not just a Mexican holiday. In fact, it’s celebrated in many Latin countries including Columbia, Ecuador, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Peru!
Celebrating the Day of the Dead involves many different activities. Some ways to celebrate include visiting a loved one’s grave, having an outdoor picnic at your local cemetery, setting up altars in your homes, and eating sugar skulls!
16 Day of the Dead Books for Kids Worth Reading
1. Day of the Dead: A Count and Find Primer
Our family is pretty obsessed with everything Greg Paprocki creates. We own several of his books, and it was a no-brainer to pick up his latest Day of the Dead board book.
It’s a counting book that uses popular Dia de los Muertos objects and activities to help babies and toddlers learn how to count.
The illustrations are gorgeous and engaging for kids of all ages. Some of our favorite pages include the beautiful marigolds and the friendly skeletons.
Plus, there’s even a list of hidden objects that you and your child can look for every time you read this Day of the Dead book for kids!
Also, it’s by the creators of BabyLit, who make some of the coolest toddler travel books!
2. Day of the Dead
Whether you are looking for Day of the Dead books for kids to read as part of your homeschooling curriculum, or you want to learn more about this holiday with your family, this book is a great place to start.
Kids will love the stunning Mexican art and feel like they are joining a family in a small town in Mexico as they prepare for Dia de los Muertos.
It takes kids on the entire journey of joining neighbors as they head to the graveyard at nighttime to welcome home the spirits of their loved ones who have passed away.
And at the end of the book, there are some Day of the Dead facts to learn a bit more about. It’s a great way to teach about the Day of the Dead for children.
3. Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras
You’ve probably seen calaveras without even realizing it. They are the iconic Dia de Muertos skeletons.
The artist is Jose Guadalupe Posada, and his artwork has become a huge part of Mexico’s Dia de Muertos festivals all across the country (and even the world.)
That’s because his versions show calaveras doing everyday things like playing music, walking in the park, riding bikes, etc. And they aren’t remotely scary.
This book is cool because it showcases this often-overlooked Mexican artist with important moments in his life while discussing his methods of creating these beloved images.
And this is done with fun imagery by the illustrator that resonates with both kids and adults.
This would be a great book to read with your kids before having them do their own skeleton drawing or color in one of Posada’s prints.
And it’s a unique opportunity to talk to older kids about his political cartoons that were quite controversial in Mexico at the turn of the century.
4. Dia de Los Muertos
This colorful Day of the Dead children’s book takes kids on a full journey from day to nighttime to experience all the main parts of this holiday celebration.
You’ll get to see stunning altars decorated with marigolds and sugar skulls, yummy foods like tamales, picnics at the cemetery, and all kinds of other festivities.
It’s got a great mix of Spanish words, so you can call things by their original name.
If your kids love rhyming books, this is the one to get! Just be sure to head straight to the glossary to practice saying the Spanish words (if you are unfamiliar with the language) to get the right rhythm when you read.
5. I Remember Abuelito: A Day of the Dead Story
While it can be easy to focus on the colorful sugar skulls and the tasty tamales, Dia de los Muertos is primarily about remembering loved ones who have died.
This is a moving story about a young girl excited for her beloved grandfather’s spirit to visit her that night. It’s not scary, and the story itself is simple enough for young kids to understand what’s happening.
Like many of the other Day of the Dead books for kids, it uses many Spanish words. This makes it a great book to read in an elementary classroom or for personal use.
6. Clatter Bash!: A Day of the Dead Celebration
One of the great things about the Day of the Dead is that it’s basically a huge party. This book focuses on the annual tradition of a big Mexican fiesta in the graveyard.
These happy skeletons sing, dance, play games, share stories, and eat their favorite foods all night long. And once morning starts to peak through, they clean up the party and head back to their coffins until next year’s event.
The tone of this book is pretty upbeat, and it celebrates life and honors friends and family who have passed away.
At the end of the book, a section explains more about the holiday and the traditions that go along with it.
7. Día de los Muertos (Celebrate the World)
If you’re looking for a cute Day of the Dead book for toddlers or preschoolers, this one has gorgeous illustrations and is not remotely scary.
It’s a great depiction of love and how we can celebrate family in both life and death. And while it’s geared for younger kids, adults will appreciate everything about this book.
It’s fun to introduce little kids to Dia de los Muertos and get them thinking about the holiday beyond the colorful decorations.
Celebrate the World is actually a board book series about global holidays and special events, so feel free to check out their other titles if you like this one!
8. Calavera Abecedario: A Day of the Dead Alphabet Book
This is an awesome option if you want to help your kids understand the alphabet while learning a bit about Latin culture.
It’s all about a family who makes paper mache skeletons (aka calaveras) for Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebration. And their story is woven in as kids learn their ABCs.
Each letter of the alphabet focuses on a different skeleton they are making. Some are in English (like Angel and Doctor), while others are Spanish (like Mariachi and Unicornio.)
Don’t worry if you don’t know much Spanish. At the end of the book, there’s a glossary of the Spanish words.
9. The Spirit of Tio Fernando: A Day of the Dead Story
This is another story about honoring a specific family member for Dia de los Muertos, which helps kids have a more personal understanding of this Mexican holiday.
It’s about a boy named Nando who has many questions about meeting his Uncle Fernando’s spirit during the Day of the Dead fiesta at the cemetery.
Like most kids, he has many questions like “will he make noise?” and “will I see him?”
What’s cool about this book is that they explain the history and traditions of the Day of the Dead at the beginning of the book (instead of the end), so it’s easy to set the tone.
10. Gustavo, the Shy Ghost
While so many children’s books about the Day of the Dead feature skeletons, this one features an adorably shy ghost who wants to be noticed.
You’ll discover lots of giggle-worthy moments when reading this with your family, both in the text and in the detailed artwork.
And because the artwork is a big focus, you’ll probably see new things each time you read it. Yes, you will be reading this one again and again!
The story is a little quirky and touches on bravery, loneliness, and the importance of friendship. And it ties in Dia de los Muertos and other Mexican cultural traditions.
Mexican artists write this picture book, and you’ll quickly fall in love with her gorgeous artwork. And so will your kids!
11. Coco Little Golden Book
Because our family loves Disney’s Coco, I had to include it on this list. It’s pretty much a super abridged version of the story (leaving out most scary parts.)
If you are unfamiliar with the story, it takes place right before the Day of the Dead and features a delightful boy named Miguel who accidentally finds himself in the Land of the Dead.
There are many adventures, and he coincidentally meets his long-lost grandfather as they try to get him back home during Dia de los Muertos.
We love Little Golden Books because they are perfect for reading in the afternoons for quiet time or as a bedtime story.
Plus, they are super affordable.
12. El Dia de los Muertos / The Day of the Dead
This is another insightful intro into this Latin American holiday that is fun for kids who already celebrate the Day of the Dead at home and kids who have never heard of it.
The book is about two kids celebrating their ancestors by spreading marigold petals (to show the dead how to come to visit), making sugar skulls, setting up the altar, and having a fiesta.
Kids will love the brightly colorful and happy artwork that helps remind them that Dia de los Muertos is a joyous holiday honoring loved ones.
And there’s extra information about these celebrations at the end of the book.
13. Daniela’s Day of the Dead
We love stories where we feel like we really get to know the characters. In this one, you’ll feel like you know Daniela.
Daniela is a girl who is preparing for her first Day of the Dead without her grandpa. She makes an altar for him with all his favorite things and has been really looking forward to this day.
She really misses her grandpa (a feeling many kids can relate to), and she knows that this is the one day a year when her grandpa can visit her.
What’s cool about this book is that it has many extra resources in the back, a glossary of words, and instructions for making a macaroni skeleton craft. And they have a lot of extra information on the sides of the pages.
This book is also part of a series about holidays and celebrations, so you might want to get a few others if you like this one.
14. The Festival of Bones
It’s a skeleton dance party on Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebration. And that means lots of shaking, rattling, and rolling as they enjoy a night amongst their loved ones.
Kids will get a true sense of the spirit of the Dia de los Muertos festival while listening to hilarious verses and funny illustrations on every page.
It’s a great way to introduce this important Mexican holiday while also teaching kids some Spanish vocabulary. And the Mexican folk art is simply fantastic!
15. Calaca’s Best Friend
While most of the Day of the Dead children’s books focus on family that has passed away, this one is unique because it focuses on a beloved pet who died.
It’s the story of a dog who had passed and came to visit the young girl he lived with when he was alive on Dia de los Muertos.
Many kids can relate to the loss of a pet, and this is a beautiful way to talk to your kids about death and how to celebrate life.
Each sentence is in English and Spanish, so it’s a fun way to learn the language.
Plus, it has vibrant, Mexican-style artwork on every page. It’s a beautiful Day of the Dead story for kids.
16. Celebrating Día de los Muertos: History, Traditions, and Activities
Celebrate Día de los Muertos with this fun introduction for kids ages 6 to 9.
Celebrating loved ones who have passed on, the engaging book explains the history, traditions, and customs of Día de los Muertos.
It also encourages children to celebrate at home or in their communities through parades, storytelling music, and food like pan del muerto (bread of the dead) baking or paper marigold flowers creating among other festive things!
These are awesome Day of the Dead activities for kids.
Children’s Books about Day of the Dead Wrap Up
So, what are you waiting for? Pick up one of these Day of the Dead books today and make this holiday season special.
If your kids (or yourself) want to know more about Dia de los Muertos or Mexican culture, be sure to check out our other Day of the Dead content below.