Thursday, October 17, 2019

Skeletitos: Make Every Moment Count

If you haven't heard, the lovely people over at Canticos have launched a new line of products. Skeletitos is a new set of stories with a Day of the Dead theme.

The first book was published this month. Skeletitos: Make Every Moment Count is a fun little board book that has a unique presentation.

First, at the beginning, you can find a link to the Skeletitos website that offers free downloadable activities (coloring pages and cut-out masks) to accompany the book. You also find out that there is a Skeletitos app available on the App Store and Google Play. This will allow your kids to sing along as you/they read the book.

There's also a page dedicated to space where your child can draw their own face in the picture frame. Will they choose a calavera face? I recommend that you take the time to read the book together first to inspire their imagination before pointing out this page to them.

Then the actual story begins. Susie Jaramillo (the author and illustrator) already has a way of presenting board books in an unusual way. Her Canticos line contains accordion-fold board books that can be read one way in English and the other way in Spanish.

Susie continues that interactive board book approach by having the inner pages fold out. And the first offical page of the story folds out into a manipulable clock, which you can then leave open as you read the book. It is so much fun!! AND educational! On each page, the clock strikes a differen hour and the skeletitos do something different. Your children can change the hands on the clock to match each hour and thereby learn to count and/or how to tell time as they read this book. 😍

Check out this video from their YouTube channel:

I believe they have seven books in this series planned and the next one debuts next year and features the adventures of Skeletina.

Anyway, it is because of the unusual but engaging presentation of this book and its fantastic educational component that I have added this to my list of favorite books for Day of the Dead.

It is available at Target and Amazon:

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Paquito y Abuelito Books Now Available

My only shipment of the year of Paquito y Abuelito books has arrived! Order by Oct 23rd get yours before Day of the Dead. Don't wait, though, because I sell out of them every year.

If you've been waiting to order your copy, you can do so now in my online shop:

Unfortunately, Eric says they didn't publish any of the Rosita y Conchita books this year.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Free Download: Day of the Dead Writing Pages

It's time for MKB's Day of the Dead Series!

I can't express how much I love being a part of the Multicultural Kid Blogs community. In my own struggle to raise world citizens, they have taught me so tremendously much about what it means to be a global citizen. From recipes to holiday descriptions to art, music, and so much more, they've truly helped me to better understand other countries and cultures and, most importantly, people. And I so enjoy all the resources that they offer their readers, especially those downloads and crafts designed for families and children.

So, of course, it is no surprise that every year they recognize the Día de los Muertos holiday. The last few years, I wasn't able to participate as I struggled to care for my mom and have a baby. (One was hard enough, but juggling both duties at the same time took most of my attention.) But I definitely followed along. And I'm happy to join this year.

My contribution is a free download. These Day of the Dead Writing Pages come in several designs and formats for beginning and advanced writers. AND they are available in both English and Spanish.

Possible topics

Here are a few ideas for using the writing pages. You could have your student(s):

  • write their own Calavera poems
  • write a report on the holiday
  • write about what Día de los Muertos means to them
  • write about how their family celebrates the holiday
  • write about who they are remembering this year in their Day of the Dead celebration
  • write about the elements that are included on the ofrenda

I hope you enjoy using them in your classrooms or at home.

Day of the Dead series | Multicultural Kid Blogs

Multicultural Kid Blogs is proud to be hosting another blog hop for Day of the Dead! (Don't miss our series from last year, 2017, 2016, and 2015!) Be sure to visit all the posts below for great ideas on sharing Day of the Dead with kids:

Friday, October 11, 2019

Eunice and Kate

As I read the news and interact with people these days, I'm struck by the growing lack of respect for people who are different or who have different interests. I don't know how we got to this point, but I know that we need more resources that teach children the important values of respect, appreciation, tolerance, and kindness.

Both parents and educators need materials and activities that nurture our children's ability to communicate, debate (without anger), and to accept that it's okay for others to believe differently than we do.

Normally, I don't promote books that haven't been published yet. But I was very delighted when I found out my friend, Mariana Llanos, is publishing a new book on this very topic. So I'm more than happy to share it with you!

Here is the description of the book:
Eunice and Kate are best friends, but can their friendship weather a storm? The girls live with their moms next door to each other in the heart of the city and have a lot in common— even though they have different dreams for the future: Kate wants to be an astronaut and Eunice wants to be a ballet dancer. But when they draw portraits of each other in art class, things get mixed up. Eunice draws Kate as a ballet dancer and Kate draws Eunice as an astronaut, and they both get more than a little annoyed. Can their friendship survive? With a little help from their moms, the girls come to learn the value of respecting each other’s different dreams. Eunice and Kate is a heartfelt new book by Mariana Llanos, illustrated by Elena Napoli, about how honoring our differences can strengthen our bonds. 

It will be available Feb 11, 2020.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

MommyMaestra's Favorite Dia de los Muertos Books for Children

I frequently get asked what my favorite books are for various holidays or subjects. So many message that come in start off with "What books would you recommend for...?" I'm usually pretty good about sharing them here on MommyMaestra. So I was surprised when I realized I didn't have a list of my faves for Día de los Muertos!

There are MANY wonderful titles out centered around this holiday. But these are my favorites.

If you are one of those who recently messaged me, I hope you enjoy this list...

This post contains affiliate links.

Always at the top of my list is Rosita y Conchita by Eric Gonzalez. This is probably the most accurate and attractive book available for children AND IT IS BILINGUAL with full text in both English and Spanish. Here is my full review.

Everyone loves it and I sell out of it every year. You can click here to see if I have any avilable. (Unfortunately, this year - 2019 - they are completely sold out and I was not able to order any. BUT I did get some of their other title...)

It is closely followed by Paquito y Abuelito, which is a similar story that features a young boy who learns about Día de los Muertos from his deceased grandfather. Abuelito reveals how adventurous his life on Earth had been by showing Paquito the "nichos" that his wife has made in his memory. It's a wonderful story.

You can purchase your copy here in my online shop!

Duncan Tonatiuh's Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras is next on my list. It is a wonderful look at the man behind the La Catrina and other calaveras. Here's my full review with shots of the inside pages.

Día de los Muertos (aff link) by Roseanne Greenfield Thong and illustrated by Carles Ballesteros is also in my top five. It is a visual delight and follows the story of a family preparing for Day of the Dead. You can see my complete review and peek at some of the pictures, if you click here.

One of my new favorites for this year is Skeletitos: Make Every Moment Count by Susie Jaramillo (of Canticos!). A review of this book will be up next week but for now, let me just tell you that this little board book is educational and packed full of surprises. 

Day of the Dead Activity Book is just the funest thing for older kids! It includes an actual punch-out ofrenda for kids to assemble. You can see what it looks like and read my review here.

And, of course, for little kids, Day of the Dead Preschool Activity Book is a fun way to pass on cultura while your little ones are learning. I'm not biased, of course, since I just published it this year. But you can read about it here.

Calavera Abecedario: A Day of the Dead Alphabet Book by Jeanette Winter is a fantastic little book based on the true story of a Mexican family of artistas. I love this book! I've had a copy since my older kids were little bitty. I'll share a review next week.

TpT ClassFund

I know there are a lot of educators following MommyMaestra who use TeachersPayTeachers. So I want to be sure you know about a new tool they have to help you raise funds for those TpT resources that you have stashed in your wish list.

(Hey, I totally get it. I have a confession. I just checked and I currently have 330 items in my wish list! ¡Qué locura!)

Anyway, did you know that TpT has rolled out a new feature called TpT ClassFund? It allows you to create a TpT ClassFund page and your community can help you get the resources your students need. There no fundraising minimum. AND you can use the funds right away. Yay!

You just fill in the fields and then share it with your friends and colleagues, students' parents, PTO, neighbors, local business owners... WHOEVER you want! Share it on your social media, in an email, in a newsletter, post it on your blog or your school's website... you see where this is going.

The best part is that it is FREE!

Seriously, I know that school budgets are tight. So this is really a blessing for educators.

Ready to get started? Click here.

Enjoy and good luck!

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Day of the Dead Preschool Activity Book

I'm super happy to share that I have a new book out that celebrates the upcoming Día de los Muertos holiday and introduces it to children.

Day of the Dead Preschool Activity Book is now available on Amazon. This 40-page activity book is filled with fun, colorful activities to keep your preschooler learning while having fun.

It includes a short description of the holiday at the beginning of the book and then launches into activities that help your children develop their literacy and counting skills. Coloring pages give them an opportunity to strengthen their fine-motor skills, and puzzles and mazes give them an opportunity to work on hand-to-eye coordination. Your kids will identify the beginning sounds of specific words and can also practice writing.

The activities are diverse to engage children at different skill levels. Beginning preschoolers may prefer simpler activities, and older children will enjoy more complex ones.

This book is currently available in English only. If there's enough interest, I'll consider publishing a Spanish version. Just let me know if that's what you prefer.

You can order your copy here:

And if you would like these activities in a download that is English or Spanish, and in black-and-white, click here.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Printable Lessons and Activities to Celebrate Day of the Dead

My Day of the Dead printables actually sell all year long (crazy, right?). But this is the time of year when they explode with sales.  So I've compiled them in one comprehensive post for your reference. If you're looking for ways to teach about the holiday, I hope you find something below that fits your needs!

New Product

This year's newest printable is this Day of the Dead Bilingual Coloring Book. Available in English, Spanish, or a bilingual version, this little coloring book also includes space at the bottom of each picture to write the word(s).

For Little Learners

I have also really expanded my PreK Activity Pack. It's gone from 19 pages to 61!! If you have a little one learning in English OR Spanish, this print-and-go set is great for teaching a lot of those important skills they need before they start kindergarten.

For a fun way to teach simply math, check out my Dia de los Muertos Ten Frames! This set comes with Day of the Dead images, such as pan de muerto, papel picado, cempasuchitl, and more. Includes blank frames for additional ten frame activities.

Always popular, this simple dice activity keeps kids busy for a few minutes and also works as a sub activity. Let your kids decorate their own calavera with this roll-the-dice activity.

One of my more popular printables, this set of coloring pages describes the elements of the holiday and can be stacked and stapled to create a Day of the Dead minibook


Are you setting up an ofrenda at your school or library? Help educate visitors with my set of Ofrenda Labels that describe each element in detail.

For educators in a school setting who are looking for activities to teach students about this holiday, this set of Día de los Muertos booklets teaches the basics in three different formats. Just choose the one that best suits your needs!

For younger students, these triptych coloring pages can be used as stand-alone triptychs or as templates for aluminum crafts. This kit comes with three printable triptych designs.

This set of bilingual Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)-themed puzzle cards is a simple way to introduce new vocabulary.

For Older Students

For older children, my Calavera Poetry lesson is really fun. Your kids will learn the history behind the calavera poems then try their hand at writing their own using the graphic organizer. Colorful writing pages are included for their final draft to hang on the wall and display.

Perhaps my most popular printable for this holiday is my One-Page Reading Passage with Quiz. It's perfect for older kids and teaches the history of the holiday with detailed descriptions of the items most closely associated with it. 

Friday, October 4, 2019

Hombre Perro Giveaway!

This book giveaway is in partnership with Scholastic. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
This post contains affiliate links.
Are your kids Dog Man fans? Did you know that the series is also available in Spanish as Hombre Perro?!? 

I love graphic novels for kids. When integrated into a child's literacy development, they are a remarkable tool... especially for reluctant readers. Between the adventurous storyline and the action-packed illustrations, they grab a child's attention and keep them engaged. The short bouts of text don't overwhelm struggling readers but still satisfy advanced readers.

So when I received an email asking me to share this series with you, I said, "Sure, send me the books and I'll see if they are a good fit."

They totally are.

Dog Man has been around for several years. It centers around the adventures of Dog Man (Hombre Perro) and his sidekick Cat Kid (Supergatito). Dog Man is part dog and part policeman who is out to do good in his town. It is totally hilarious. What I love best about the series is how empowering it is for young people and how it promotes traits we desperately need more of these days: respect and kindness, empathy and persistence, having a positive attitude and being true to yourself.

I probably don't have to tell you any of this because if you have slightly older children, you've probably already discovered this series. But did you know it is now available in Spanish (aff link)? And, YES, the Spanish translation is excellent!

AND they've just released the fifth book in Spanish, too.

Check it out here:

Seriously, what's not to love about this series? The characters are just cute as can be, but the storyline keeps readers coming back to see what new scraps Hombre Perro is getting into. Kids love it because it is FUNNY!

And teachers, if you visit the site you can download a free classroom kit (English only).

And here's one more thing to love: The author, Dav Pilkey, is currently on tour promoting his "Do Good" Campaign, which encourages readers of all ages to give back and make a positive impact in their communities. 😍

The Giveaway!

Scholastic is generously offering an Hombre Perro prize pack to one MommyMaestra reader! It contains all the books in the series (in Spanish!!) plus a T-shirt and plush of Hombre Perro himself. :D

To enter, just use the Rafflecopter below.

¡Buena suerte!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Free Download: Spanish Halloween Word Search & Activity Sheet

October is here, but it sure doesn't feel like it down here in TX! We're still melting. But my kids are excited anyway because one of their favorite holidays is coming around: Halloween! Maybe your children feel the same way. If so, this month's free download is just what you need. MommyMaestra sponsor Spanish for You! has created a special Spanish Halloween word search and activity sheet.

The word search features vocabulary most closely associated with the spooky holiday. And there's also a second page with boxes for drawing the prompts. As always, you can find an attached audio to help you with pronunciation.

Remember! Spanish for You!'s program is geared for middle schoolers and is the perfect choice for homeschoolers and afterschoolers alike because their concepts are carefully divided up into manageable bundles that are available for immediate download from their website.

If this is your first time here, you can find other free samples from Spanish for You! here. There are some fantastic downloads of games and activities for you and your family to enjoy. If you enjoy this activity, be sure to visit the Spanish for You! website where you'll find tons of additional resources for you to help your young Spanish learner!

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Hispanic Heritage Month Writing Contest

Do you have a middle schooler or high schooler in your home or classroom? Are you in a Suddenlink service area? If so, be sure to check out the annual Hispanic Heritage Month essay contest from Suddenlink's owner, Altice USA.

Students must write an essay in English of 500 words or less describing "a Latino, past or present, who has inspired you to dream big." The grand prize is a $1,500 scholarship. Three finalists will win an iPad.

Essays should be typed and double-spaced. The deadline is October 31st.

Students may enter the contest by submitting one essay here. Or they can mail in their entry with this printable form. Teachers may submit their students' essays using this form for multiple entries.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln

The only thing I love more than discovering children's books about remarkable Latinos is being able to share them on MommyMaestra.

A few months ago, author Margarita Engle shared news about her upcoming new book, Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln (aff link). I finally got my hands on a copy  this month. It. Is. Wonderful.

I had never heard of Teresa Carreño, the prodigy pianist from Venezuela who began playing the piano as a little girl and composing her own music by the time she was 6. Not only did she play for President Lincoln as noted in this lovely story, but apparently for the famous composers Rossini and Liszt, too!

In Dancing Hands, we learn about Teresa's love of music and how she developed her talent in her homeland of Venezuela. We also read about how she and her family were forced to flee to the United States when Venezuala erupted in a revolution...only to arrive in the middle of the U.S. Civil War. The story goes on to chronicle the events that led to her performing for President Lincoln and his family in the White House.

I quite simply love the inspirational story that is this book. And the illustrations! Really, all of Rafael López's work is outstanding. And Dancing Hands is no exception. His unique style is just vibrant and joyful. It's full of detail and transition.

This book isn't just for Hispanic Heritage Month, though I will certainly add it to my master list of book for celebrating this national observance. But it is an engaging story that should be read anytime and anywhere by everybody.

I think it is an especially wonderful read for little girls to motivate and inspire them to grab ahold of their talents and not let go.

I love this particular book so much that I created reading comprehension questions to go with it, also. Use them while reading with your child or students.

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