Day of the Dead

by Tony Johnston

Other authorsJeanette Winter (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 1997



Local notes

394.2 Joh



Harcourt Children's Books (1997), Edition: 1st, 56 pages


Describes a Mexican family preparing for and celebrating the Day of the Dead.


Original language


Physical description

56 p.; 6.82 inches


0152228632 / 9780152228637



User reviews

LibraryThing member erinchauff
Day of the Dead, written by Tony Johnston and illustrated by Jeanette Winter, would be a great book for a child just learning to speak Spanish. It is very colorful and contains sweet illustrations that would draw in young children. Though there are fictional elements such as the woman casting stars from her sack to show nighttime, the book would be a simple, unbiased way to introduce Day of the Dead. The picture book is sprinkled with Spanish phrases that are easy pronounce and often offer context clues as to their meaning.

The family is preparing for Day of the Dead by grinding chiles, picking fruit, making empanadas and cutting sugarcane. The book follows the family’s procession to the graves of their grandparents. When the family reaches the graves, they set out all the food, sing, dance and remember the grandparents. Then, they celebrate the day by eating. Later they leave marigolds on the grave.
The author’s note briefly explains the Day of the Dead: when it is celebrated, its purpose and the common ways to mark the days.
On the jacket cover is information about both the author and the illustrator. The author has written “numerous” books for children and has attended many Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico and at her home in California. The illustrator “loves the tejano border music of Lydia Mendoza.” I am curious why they chose to use these small details as qualifications for knowing about Day of the Dead.
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LibraryThing member kelliemaurin
Day of the Dead is a great little, book that provides information about The Day of the Dead written by Tony Johnston and illustrated by Jeanette Winter. The book is very colorful, and grabs a reader's attention. The pages are black and there are so many colors on every page. The book follows a pattern, where on one page a good or item to be used for the Day of the Dead is introduced, while the page next to it reads "The children have tried to sneak ______." Each item named as well as different choice words, are written in Spanish following the English version. It shows a family preparing for something while the children anxiously wait, sneaking peaks here and there. Johnston explains how the families go out at night with candles, over to a graveyard, dropping petals along the way. Then there are two pages without words, which I especially like for younger readers. The families sing and dance, and eat while celebrating the loss of their loved ones. Johnston makes multiple comparisons to marigolds, like the color of the sun and the candles, to actually leaving marigold on the tombs. There is an author's note with an explicit explanation of Day of the Dead. The book is really good for young readers, and a great way to introduce the topic to kids. I agree with Davila in her article In Search of the Ideal Reader for Nonfiction Children's Books about el Día de Los Muertos, where she states that death is not really discussed openly. This book would enable teachers to discuss death in a positive, realistic way for kids and the book does not have a bias. It simply informs.… (more)
LibraryThing member Viktoriya
Above a small town in Mexico, the sun rises like a great marigold, and one family begins preparations for an annual celebration, El día de los muertos, the Day of the Dead. Soon they will go out into the night, join their neighbors, and walk to the graveyard to welcome the spirits of their loved ones home again. Framed by decorative borders and peppered with Spanish words, Day of the Dead is a glorious introduction to a fascinating celebration. A note at the end of the book provides factual information about the holiday.… (more)
LibraryThing member pacifickle
This book feels as though it is illustrated using papel picado techniques, with its geometric colorful shapes that are symmetrical and have black-colored backgrounds. This book charmingly uses lots of Spanish language to teach vocabulary to readers. It uses lots of words that have to do with the customs of Día de los Muertos. The narrative of the story leads the reader from the preparations for the fiesta all the way through the procession and celebration. The book is attractively small and square, which will also attract younger readers without intimidating them, but offers more than enough information for these younger readers to get a comprehensive view of Día de los Muertos.… (more)
LibraryThing member fluffypeach
This book gives you lots of information and it is a story that anyone will enjoy
LibraryThing member Keller_M
Day of the Dead, which is a book about the Spanish holiday El Dia de los Muertos. The book talks all about why it’s celebrated, what happens when it’s celebrated, how it’s celebrate, and of course when it’s celebrated. Throughout the book it has a very uplifting tone to it, one that shows that it’s not a scary holiday, rather a holiday that celebrates death. This can be seen as strange to other cultures but this book is trying to emphasize and explain why it’s a great holiday by informing the reader of its ancient tradition; to celebrate death, remember those who have passed on, and to appreciate life.… (more)
LibraryThing member lissabeth21
Super colorful and quietly informative, giving my kids another angle on a holiday they are both curious about. My only hold up to giving 5 stars is that I would have loved some educational end pages, even one that would have helped me with pronouncing the Spanish correctly.




(17 ratings; 4)
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