By Bianca Garcia, BK Story Voyager Coordinator
The Dead Family Diaz
Written by: P.J. Bracegirdle Illustrated by: Poly Bernatene
(for readers in grades K–3rd)
The Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) is celebrated October 31–November 2 in Mexico; when those who have passed away are remembered and welcomed back with food, drink, and festivities. P. J. Bracegirdle’s The Dead Family Diaz is one of a few books that introduces this Mexican celebration to young readers. In addition, the text in the book integrates Spanish words.
The dead family Diaz prepares for their annual visit to the Land of the Living on November 2nd. Angelito, the Diaz’s young son, is afraid to meet the living. Later he will have to face his fear when he gets separated from his family in the Land of the Living. While hopelessly searching for his family he stumbles upon another young skeleton, or so he thinks! They soon become friends and enjoy the night together not knowing the truth about each other. Once the truth is revealed they separate as each is afraid of the other. Read on to find out what happens.
The Dead Family Diaz is a wonderful way to introduce children to the culture of Dia De Los Muertos. Poly Bernatene’s bright and bold palette illustrates cultural aspects of the celebration and his style brings out endearing qualities of the characters, even the skeletons. This book can easily inspire various Dia De Los Muertos activities. The narrative is ideal for emergent readers, and the story provides teaching moments about acceptance and facing one’s fears.