Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to Mexico. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about Mexico.
Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.
When it comes to children’s stories about Mexico, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like The Clue of the Black Keys to popular sellers like Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras (Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal (Awards)) to some of our favorite hidden gems like Adelita.
We hope this list of kids books about Mexico can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.
Join Catrina on her favorite day and enjoy together all the things that “El dia de los muertos” The day of the Dead, make this celebration such a marvelous time. Acompaña a catrina en su día favorito, El día de los Muertos y descubre todas las cosas que hacen que esta celebración sea tan maravillosa
The love and rituals surrounding the Mexican folk holiday― The Day of the Dead.
Funny Bones tells the story of how the amusing calaveras—skeletons performing various everyday or festive activities—came to be. They are the creation of Mexican artist José Guadalupe (Lupe) Posada (1852–1913). In a country that was not known for freedom of speech, he first drew political cartoons, much to the amusement of the local population but not the politicians. He continued to draw cartoons throughout much of his life, but he is best known today for his calavera drawings. They have become synonymous with Mexico’s Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival. Juxtaposing his own art with that of Lupe’s, author Duncan Tonatiuh brings to light the remarkable life and work of a man whose art is beloved by many but whose name has remained in obscurity.
The Aldens are visiting friends for a big Dia de los Muertos celebration. The kids love learning about the holiday and helping out—that is until mysterious events threaten to ruin everyone’s preparations. Can the Aldens figure out what’s going on and help their friends save the celebration?
Every year Don Pedro and his family make papier-mâché skeletons, or calaveras, for Mexico’s Day of the Dead fiesta. From the Angel and Doctor to the Mariachi and Unicornio, there’s a special calavera for each letter of the alphabet. Come dance with them! Includes a glossary of Spanish words and an author’s note.
The Spirit of Tio Fernando: A Day of the Dead Story - It’s the Day of the Dead and Nando and his mother are going to honor Tío Fernando. Nando, named for Uncle Fernando, listens as his mother tells him that later, at the cemetery, they will meet with Tío Fernando’s spirit. Es el Día de los Muertos y Nando y su Madre van a honrar a Tío Fernando. Nando, nombrado en honor de Tío Fernando, escucha a su Madre decirle que mas adelante en el cementerio se van a encontrarse con el espirito de Tío Fernando.
Felipa and the Day of the Dead - Felipa’s beloved grandmother, Abuelita, has died. Felipa miser her terribly and is very sad. Her parents try to comfort Felipa. They tell her that the souls of the dead live on forever. So Felipa decides to find Abuelita’s soul. But where is it? She asks her grandmother’s donkey, her pig, and her llamas for help. She treks many miles to the highest mountain, but grandmother’s soul is nowhere to be found. Then, months later, the entire village is bustling with preparations for the Day of the Dead. Felipa joins in the celebrations honoring loved ones who have died, and in the process finally finds Abuelita’s soul.
Festival of Bones / El Festival de las Calaveras: The Little-Bitty Book for the Day of the Dead (English and Spanish Edition) - Mexico’s Day of the Dead fascinates U.S readers, whether for its joyful celebration of an unusual tradition or because it simply feels like home. San Vicente lets children join the celebration as they watch the skeletons rock, rattle, and roll those long old bones as they get ready for the biggest event of their social calendar. A short and fun essay, directed toward young readers, will explain this important Mexican holiday.
Clatter Bash!: A Day of the Dead Celebration - Graveyard skeletons shake, rattle, and roll for a Day of the Dead celebration. At dusk on the holiday known as Day of the Dead, a Mexican family has set out fiesta offerings in the graveyard in hopes that departed loved ones may return to visit. The playful skeletons rise from their graves to celebrate with gusto. All night long, they sing, dance, dine, tell stories, and play games. As morning approaches, they give thanks to the stars for their night of fun, tidy up after themselves, and leave no trace of their “clatter bash” behind as they return to their coffins until next year’s Day of the Dead. Author-illustrator Richard Keep’s rollicking rhyme―sprinkled with Spanish words―captures the bone-rattling sounds and fun of the evening. An illustrated afterword gives information about the customs associated with el Día de los Muertos, a Mexican celebration of honoring relatives who have passed on.
Fantastic rhyming, playful and colorful illustrations, and a celebratory message about honoring ancestors on the Dia de Los Muertos are a few reasons I think this is an excellent book. The inclusion of Spanish words might be make reading aloud a little awkward for some readers, but it gives the title a very authentic feel (and conveniently helps with the rhyming at times).
It’s Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and children throughout the pueblo, or town, are getting ready to celebrate! They decorate with colored streamers, calaveras, or sugar skulls, and pan de muertos, or bread of the dead. There are altars draped in cloth and covered in marigolds and twinkling candles. Music fills the streets. Join the fun and festivities, learn about a different cultural tradition, and brush up on your Spanish vocabulary, as the town honors their dearly departed in a traditional, time-honored style. ¡Es el Día de los Muertos y todos los niños del pueblo y ciudad están listos para celebrar! Decoran con calaveras lo calavera de azucar, pan de muertos y banderas. Hay altares cubriertos de manta con muchas flores, y velas parpadiendo. Musica llena las calles. Hay que unirse con los festivales y abrender una diferente cultura y traduciones y repasar el vocabulario en español, mientras el pueblo honra sus queridos en una tradución con el transcurso y con el estilo del tiempo.
In Mexico, Maria and her family celebrate Los Dâias de los Muertos, The Days of the Dead. Includes a recipe for pan de los muertos.
In Guatemala, there is a village called Santiago Sacatepéquez. It is a very small but famous place because once a year, on the day of the Day of the Dead, the people of Santiago fly some of the biggest kites in the world. As large as seven meters (twenty-three feet) wide, they fill the sky over the cemetery with brilliant colors. Juan and his brothers always helped their grandfather build the kite for the Day of the Dead. But their grandfather has recently died, and the boys must carry on the tradition on their own. This beautifully photographed book shows us the village of Santiago and tells us Juan’s story as he gathers the materials, builds the kite and, finally, flies it with this help of his friends.
A family celebrates Día de Muertos, a holiday for remembering those who have passed. When the monarch butterflies return to her Mexican countryside, Lupita knows that Día de Muertos, “the Day of the Dead,” is near. She and her favorite uncle watch the butterflies flutter in the trees. When a butterfly lands on Lupita’s hand, her uncle reminds her that she should never hurt a monarch because they are believed to be the souls of the departed. Lupita and her family get ready for the holiday. When the first of November arrives, the family will go to the cemetery to honor the memories of their loved ones. But this year is different—Lupita’s uncle cannot join them. Now, Lupita learns the true meaning of the celebration.
The classic story of Cinderella gets a fresh twist in this vibrant Mexican spin on the beloved fairy tale! Once upon a time, there was a girl who lived in a little cottage with her stepmother and two stepsisters… The classic tale of Cinderella gets a fresh twist in this debut title of a brand-new board book series, Once Upon a World. With Mexico as the backdrop, and vibrant artwork from Mexican illustrator Sandra Equihua, Cinderella is still the same girl with a fairy godmother and a glass slipper—but she’s totally reimagined. Once Upon a World offers a multicultural take on the fairy tales we all know and love. Because these tales are for everyone, everywhere.
Just a Minute!: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book (Pura Belpre Medal Book Illustrator (Awards)) - The Goodfather - This is a classic counting tale that teaches learning to count in English and Spanish. It also involves the delightful Grandma Beetle and her clever encounter with Señor Calaveras, or Mr. Skeleton. It makes for a great title to enjoy on Dia de los Muertos and all throughout the year. The ending is fun and touching.
Adelita - Hace mucho tiempo—a long time ago—there lived a beautiful young woman named Adelita. So begins the age-old tale of a kindhearted young woman, her jealous stepmother, two hateful stepsisters, and a young man in search of a wife. The young man, Javier, falls madly in love with beautiful Adelita, but she disappears from his fiesta at midnight, leaving him with only one clue to her hidden identity: a beautiful rebozo—shawl. With the rebozo in place of a glass slipper, this favorite fairy tale takes a delightful twist. Tomie dePaola’s exquisite paintings, filled with the folk art of Mexico, make this a Cinderella story like no other.
Día de los Muertos - At the end of October each year, it’s time to celebrate an ancient tradition: Dia de los Muertos! With vibrant illustrations by Golden Globe–winning Mexican illustrator Jorge Gutierrez, this festive board book teaches that Dia de los Muertos honors ancestors and loved ones who have passed. From sugar skulls to papel picado, this is a holiday that truly commemorates the cycle of life.
Día de los Muertos (Celebrate the World) - Mom of Boys - This book has cute illustrations that make the simple explanations of Dia de los Muertos very fun. It is very informative of this holiday telling all of the traditions and activities that many participate in. There is also added an element of joy to celebrating our family and friends who have gone before us rather than mourning.
While the story is fun, it’s also simple. I think it’s the colorful illustrations that really make this a great Day of the Dead title. Little kids will enjoy the anticipation the children in the experience as they watch all of the preparations building to the celebration and are finally able to enjoy all of the yummy food and treats.
This story follows two little children as they anticipate each of the exciting moments of the celebration of the Day of the Dead. They want to sneak a taste of this and a peak of that as their parents, and aunts and uncles prepare the food and activities. A fun and enlightening part of the book is the use of Spanish words. The English definition is included in a tactful way.
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.
A fresh, funny take on the Day of the Dead that’s packed with kid appeal! Every skeleton in the Land of the Dead is excited to celebrate el Día de los Muertos with the Living. But not Angelito. His big sister has told him all about their horrifying bulgy eyes and squishy skin. So when Angelito is separated from his family in the Land of the Living, he’s petrified—until he makes a new friend who is just as terrified of THEM as Angelito is. Then his new buddy turns out to be (gulp!) a living boy! Angelito runs as fast as his bony feet can carry him. Fortunately the traditions of the Day of the Dead reunite the two boys, just in time for some holiday fun. Full of wild, Tim Burton-esque art, this clever tale is sure to become un libro favorito for the Day of the Dead, Halloween season, and beyond.
Inspired by the last Aztec Emperor of the old Mexico, this book introduces children to both shapes and their first English and Spanish words. You and your child will explore the city of Tenochtitlan along side Cuauhtémoc —where you’ll come across the circulo in the Aztec calendar, the triangle in the pyramid, the heart in the shield of an Aztec princess, and more!
Now even the youngest children can enjoy the ghosts, skeletons and treats of this spirited holiday. With sugar skulls, sweet-smelling marigold petals, and joyful songs, a family welcomes back their beloved ancestors. This lively and colorful (and not too scary) tribute to a unique holiday is in English and Spanish.
Inspired by one of the most recognized symbols of Dia de Muertos or “Day of the Dead,” a holiday that celebrates life and remembers the dearly departed, this book will introduce little ones to emotional expressions and their first English and Spanish words.
I Remember Abuelito: A Day of the Dead Story / Yo Recuerdo a Abuelito: Un Cuento del Día de los Muertos (Spanish and English Edition) - It’s the Day of the Dead! It’s time to celebrate! In this bilingual book, a young girl is busy helping her family prepare to honor those who have died—especially her grandfather. She misses him very much and is excited for his spirit to visit that night. Es el Día de los Muertos. ¡Es tiempo de celebrar! En este libro biligua una niña joven esta ocupada ayudando a su familia preparar en los que han muerto―especialmente su abuelo. Ella lo estraña mucho y está con mucho emoción que su espirito venga de visita está noche.
A New Home - As a girl in Mexico City and a boy in New York City ponder moving to each other’s locale, it becomes clear that the two cities — and the two children — are more alike than they might think. But I’m not sure I want to leave my home. I’m going to miss so much. Moving to a new city can be exciting. But what if your new home isn’t anything like your old home? Will you make friends? What will you eat? Where will you play? In a cleverly combined voice — accompanied by wonderfully detailed illustrations depicting parallel urban scenes — a young boy conveys his fears about moving from New York City to Mexico City while, at the same time, a young girl expresses trepidation about leaving Mexico City to move to New York City. Tania de Regil offers a heartwarming story that reminds us that home may be found wherever life leads. Fascinating details about each city are featured at the end.
Nine Days to Christmas - Generations of readers have treasured this 1960 Caldecott Medal winner and its tale of a little Mexican girl’s excitement at the approach of Christmas. Ceci eagerly awaits Las Posadas, the traditional nine-day series of yuletide celebrations. This year she’ll lead the candlelight procession that reenacts Mary and Joseph’s trek to Bethlehem. Meanwhile, Mother takes her to the old marketplace to choose her very first piñata. Ceci is dazzled by the colorful array of options, and after making her choice has second thoughts about the fate of her piñata once the posada takes place. Graced by evocative illustrations, this international holiday classic is now available in a lovely hardcover edition. “The youngest child will be completely transported by this story,” noted The Atlantic, and readers of all ages will be charmed by the child’s-eye view of Mexican culture.
Zapata: Colors - Colores (Bilingual: English / Spanish) - “Inspired by Emiliano Zapata, a leading figure in the Mexican Revolution, this book will introduce your little ones to their first English and Spanish words”—page  of cover.
In this lively picture book, children discover a world of shapes all around them: rectangles are ice-cream carts and stone metates, triangles are slices of watermelon and quesadillas. Many of the featured objects are Latino in origin, and all are universal in appeal. With rich, boisterous illustrations, a fun-to-read rhyming text, and an informative glossary, this playful concept book will reinforce the shapes found in every child’s day!
Once a year, Abuelo comes from Mexico to visit his family. He brings his guitar, his music—and his memories. In this story inspired by the life of Apolinar Navarrete Diaz—author Angela Dominguez’s grandfather and a successful mariachi musician—Abuelo and his grandchildren sing through the bad times and the good. Lifting their voices and their spirits, they realize that true happiness comes from singing together.
Ben is taken to Mexico by his nemesis in the hopes that he’ll finally be able to take down SPYDER in this latest addition to the New York Times bestselling Spy School series. Thirteen-year-old Ben Ripley has been caught in the snares of SPYDER more than once and knows well enough to be suspicious of anything that seems too good to be true—despite needing special tutoring in advanced survival techniques. So when Murray Hill finally breaks his silence with an offer to hand over the SPYDER elite, Ben knows that there must be something going on. But his hesitation doesn’t stop the assignment. The Mission: Follow Murray Hill to an undisclosed location with no one else but Erica Hale to identify SPYDER leadership. Once found, contact the CIA to sweep in and finish the job. DO NOT CONTACT SPYDER DIRECTLY. However, as Ben suspected, nothing goes as planned, and what should be an easy mission quickly turns deadly. Now, Ben and Erica will have to face rogue agents, trained killers, and even very hungry crocodiles in a race against the clock to find out what SPYDER is up to this time—and thwart their evil plans.
Mexican artist Frida Kahlo created vibrantly hued paintings . . . and led an equally colorful life. Known for her self-portraits, she became a feminist icon whose work now sells for millions. This lively biography looks at Frida’s childhood; her devotion to Mexican culture and politics; the bus accident that left her in chronic pain but also sparked her career; and her marriage to Diego Rivera.
Award-winning author Duncan Tonatiuh brings to life the story of a Mexican-American war hero Jos. de la Luz S.enz (1888-1953)—or Luz—believed in fighting for what was right. Although he was born in the United States, he and his family experienced prejudice because of their Mexican heritage. When World War I broke out, Luz volunteered to join the fight. Because of his ability to quickly learn languages, he became part of the Intelligence Office in Europe. However, despite his hard work and intellect, Luz often didn’t receive credit for his contributions. Upon his return to the US, he joined other Mexican-Americans whom he had met in the army to fight for equality. His contribution, along with others, ultimately led to the creation of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), which is the oldest Latino civil rights organization. Soldier for Equality is based in part on Luz’s diary during the war. It includes a biography of Luz’s later years, an author’s note, a timeline, a bibliography, and an index.
Green Is a Chile Pepper - Green is a chile pepper, spicy and hot. Green is cilantro inside our pot. In this lively picture book, children discover a world of colors all around them: red is spices and swirling skirts, yellow is masa, tortillas, and sweet corn cake. Many of the featured objects are Latino in origin, and all are universal in appeal. With rich, boisterous illustrations, a fun-to-read rhyming text, and an informative glossary, this playful concept book will reinforce the colors found in every child’s day!
The Crossroads - Jaime and Ángela discover what it means to be living as undocumented immigrants in the United States in this timely sequel to the Pura Belpré Honor Book The Only Road. After crossing Mexico into the United States, Jaime Rivera thinks the worst is over. Starting a new school can’t be that bad. Except it is, and not just because he can barely speak English. While his cousin Ángela fits in quickly, with new friends and after-school activities, Jaime struggles with even the idea of calling this strange place “home.” His real home is with his parents, abuela, and the rest of the family; not here where cacti and cattle outnumber people, where he can no longer be himself—a boy from Guatemala. When bad news arrives from his parents back home, feelings of helplessness and guilt gnaw at Jaime. Gang violence in Guatemala means he can’t return home, but he’s not sure if he wants to stay either. The US is not the great place everyone said it would be, especially if you’re sin papeles—undocumented—like Jaime. When things look bleak, hope arrives from unexpected places: a quiet boy on the bus, a music teacher, an old ranch hand. With his sketchbook always close by, Jaime uses his drawings to show what it means to be a true citizen. Powerful and moving, this touching sequel to The Only Road explores overcoming homesickness, finding ways to connect despite a language barrier, and discovering what it means to start over in a new place that alternates between being wonderful and completely unwelcoming.
Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos - Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos, written by Monica Brown and illustrated by John Parra, is based on the life of one of the world’s most influential painters, Frida Kahlo, and the animals that inspired her art and life. The fascinating Mexican artist Frida Kahlo is remembered for her self-portraits, her dramatic works featuring bold and vibrant colors. Her work brought attention to Mexican and indigenous culture and she is also renowned for her works celebrating the female form. Brown’s story recounts Frida’s beloved pets—two monkeys, a parrot, three dogs, two turkeys, an eagle, a black cat, and a fawn—and playfully considers how Frida embodied many wonderful characteristics of each animal.
The Clue of the Black Keys - Terry Scott, a young archaeology professor, seeks Nancy’s help in unearthing a secret of antiquity which can only be unlocked by three black keys. While on an archaeological expedition in Mexico, Terry and Dr. Joshua Pitt came across a clue to buried treasure. The clue was a cipher carved on a stone tablet. Before the professor had time to translate the cipher, the tablet disappeared – along with Dr. Pitt! Terry tells Nancy of his suspicions of the Tinos, a Mexican couple posing as scientists who vanished the same night as Dr. Pitt. Nancy and her friends follow a tangled trail of clues that lead to the Florida Keys and finally to Mexico in this suspense-filled story that will thrill readers.
Breakfast varies from country to country, but it’s how all children begin their day. Explore the meals of twelve countries in this playful approach to the world!
From Australia to India to the USA, come travel around the world at dawn. Children everywhere are waking up to breakfast. In Japan, students eat soured soybeans called natto. In Brazil, even kids drink coffee—with lots of milk! With rhythm and rhymes and bold, graphic art, Pancakes to Parathas invites young readers to explore the world through the most important meal of the day.
The story of Medio Pollito, a chicken born with only half of his body, is one of inspiration and purpose. He travels to find adventure, and with the help of the wind, finds his true calling as a weather vane.
In a search for the missing Willard Grafton, Frank Hardy and younger brother Joe, encounter a gang of criminals intent on defrauding the US government, and are lead across California and even into Mexico.
Named one of “13 Detective Book Series You Obsessed over as a Kid” by Buzzfeed.com and the inspiration for a hit Disney film, the masterful Great Mouse Detective is back and travelling to Mexico to solve three thrilling mysteries!
Basil—the famous sleuth of mousedom—has learned a great deal living in Sherlock Holmes’s cellar. Now, his sleuthing skills are being put to the test on a wild trip to Mexico! First, mousedom becomes frantic as mice are cracking their teeth on phony cheese made of concrete. Can he find a way to stop whoever is making the counterfeit cheese? Then, he must ferret out the truth when a beloved masterpiece—the Mousa Lisa—goes missing. And finally, Basil must track down the culprit when Dr. Dawson, Basil’s faithful friend and companion, is mousenapped! In each of these daring adventures, Basil proves himself to be a true disciple of his hero, Sherlock Holmes!