Day of the Dead Children’s Books for Celebrating Dia de los Muertos with Elementary Students

These Day of the Dead children’s books, which are also called Dia De Los Muertos books for kids, are great read alouds for the end of October or beginning of November. They will assist you in teaching about this special Mexican holiday to your elementary students. Teaching holidays through picture books is a highly effective and engaging approach. Grab the list of Day of the Dead children’s books below!

This post highlights the following Day of the Dead children’s books that are great fall picture books:

  • The Dead Family Diaz
  • Gustavo
  • Uncle Monarch and the Day of the Dead
  • Felipa and the Day of the Dead
students reading Day of the Dead children's books

4 Day of the Dead Children’s Books

Below are 4 quality read alouds for celebrating the Day of the Dead. Your students will love these Day of the Dead books for kids!

The Dead Family Diaz by P. J. Bracegirdle

In The Dead Family Diaz, the Diaz Family is getting ready to celebrate the Day of the Dead. Angelito is feeling nervous because it is his first time visiting the Land of the Living. All morning Angelito’s sister has been telling him how scary the Living are. She says they have bulging eyes and long red tongues!

When Angelito steps out of the elevator and arrives in the Land of the Living, he realizes he has been separated from his family. He finds a friendly looking boy about his age and the two become friends. They spend the afternoon coming up with a plan to protect themselves from the enemies, the people Angelito thinks are the Living. However, when Pablo suggests the boys take off their masks, Angelito realizes Pablo is one of the living! Both boys are surprised and Angelito runs away.

When Angelito reunites with his family, he reflects on all the fun he had with Pablo that afternoon. Thankfully, the two are able to reconnect. Pablo even makes sure to show Angelito’s sister how scary the Living can be! This book may quickly become your students’ favorite Dia De Los Muertos kids book. It’s one of mine, which is why I added it to my Starts With a Story collection.

The Dead Family Diaz book coverGustavo book cover

Gustavo by Flavia Z. Drago

The book, Gustavo tells the story of a ghost named Gustavo who is lonely and so desperately wants to make friends, but struggles to approach any of the characters in the story because he is very shy. Gustavo gets up the courage to invite the other characters to a violin concert he is hosting in the cemetery and sends out letters to everyone. The days leading up to the big event he is feeling very worried that no one will show up. On the night of the event, no one shows up to the event. Gustavo decides to play his music anyway. After a short time, the other characters arrive praising him for his talent and apologizing for being late. They got lost on their way. Gustavo gains many friendships from this experience. This is one of my favorite Day of the Dead books out there!

Uncle Monarch and the Day of the Dead by Judy Goldman

In the book Uncle Monarch and the Day of the Dead, Lupita looked forward to watching the return of the monarch butterflies every year with her Tio Urbano. According to him, these monarchs were the souls of departed loved ones coming to visit. Their arrival was around the time of Dia de los Muertos, or Day of The Dead, a holiday to honor and celebrate loved ones who had passed away. When Lupita’s Tio Urbano dies, she finds extra meaning in the monarchs and the Day of the Dead. 

Uncle Monarch book coverFelipa and the Day of the Dead book cover

Felipa and the Day of the Dead by Birte Müller

In Felipa and the Day of the Dead, Felipa’s beloved Abuelita had recently passed away, and she missed her terribly. She searched everywhere for her Abuelita’s departed soul, in places like the mountains, in the fields, and in the cemetary. Her father explained to her that souls cannot be visited that way, except when they return during the Day of the Dead. When the day finally comes, Felipa is excited to join her family in the celebrations so that she can feel close to her Abuelita. With her family, she enjoys special treats, helps to clean and decorate graves, and uses the time to remember her Abuelita. 

If you are looking for activities and worksheets that go with a Day of the Dead story, then check out The Dead Family Diaz book companion and Gustavo book companion! It includes reading comprehension questions, writing prompts, vocabulary activities, and much more!

Gustavo book companionThe Dead Family Diaz

Grab the Free Reading Resources!

We hope you found this list of Day of the Dead children’s books helpful! If you want to get more book ideas to read aloud to your elementary students, then grab this reading freebie. It includes read aloud books lists, reading logs, and reading challenges for 1st-5th grade classroom teachers. It will have you covered for the entire school year, as well as the summer months! Grab this free elementary reading packet now! Simply click the image below.

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