Sunday, October 7, 2018

Rosita y Conchita Book Review

Over the last 12 years or so, I have read and reviewed a lot of new picture books about Day of the Dead. But hands down, the best one I've found, has been Rosita y Conchita. Copies are hard to find now, but they are sometimes on Amazon. Several of you have asked what this story is about, so I dug through my files and found the following review. This is a reprint of the review I did 12 years ago of Rosita y Conchita on the Latin Baby Book Club. And be sure to take a look at MommyMaestra's Favorite Dia de los Muertos Books for Children for a complete list of the other titles that I recommend.

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Rosita y Conchita

by Eric Gonzalez and Erich Haeger

The LBBC’s recommendation for November’s Libro del Mes, is Rosita y Conchita by Eric Gonzalez and Erich Haeger.

A few weeks ago when I first read about Rosita y Conchita, I was pretty excited, because I could tell from the cover that a lot of work had gone into this book. I was hopeful to see a full story developed around Día de los Muertos, since this holiday is really starting to spread like wildfire across the U.S.

I was not disappointed. When Eric sent me a copy of the book to review, I was so thrilled to find a story that richly conveys the intention behind the holiday. The story follows twin sisters who are trying to find a way to get together once again. The book describes how Conchita is carefully creating an altar to remember her dearly departed twin, Rosita. The other part tells Rosita’s story as she wanders through the otherworld looking for clues that will lead her to her sister one more time.

This lovely little book is not sad or scary. Instead, it treats death in the same manner that the holiday itself does – with humor and love – so that children will enjoy the storyline. The best part of the book, I thought, was how the authors describe the ofrendas in such a way so that the children reading the book can understand the meaning behind each one.

The text itself is another example of the thought and work that both authors invested. The entire story is written in rhyming verse - in both English and Spanish! I do think that this book should win some sort of award for the subject matter, work it displays, as well as the engaging manner in which it captures the attention of young readers.

Here’s a look at one of our favorite pages…

Rosita y Conchita book

I also loved how at the end of the book, Eric and Erich have included a history of the holiday (in English and Spanish), a simple recipe for making sugar skulls, as well as directions on how to draw Rosita.

While reading this book, my kids had LOTS of questions. And what was really neat was how my older daughter would explain parts of the book to my son, because she quickly understood the messages that were being delivered.

Why this book is important

Books like these are, in my opinion, really important for our children, because in American culture, death is not often talked about. Many parents don’t want to burden their children with the concept. Maybe because they themselves don't know how to deal with it. Or maybe because they just don't know how to discuss it on a child's level. But I think if approached with love and respect, children can learn that death is not something to be feared, but rather a simple process that is a part of life – not just one that ends it.

And I think that the act of creating a “Remembrance Table” actually helps children and adults both, to move through the grieving process and to heal. It is such a special gift to be able to move past the sadness and instead celebrate the lives of our loved ones, giving thanks for their place in our own lives. To be able to remember with joy and laughter, those whom we have loved, enriches our own experiences and makes us healthier emotionally.

Themes that this book supplements well

I think parents and teachers will really LOVE reading this book along with any lessons or activities for Day of the Dead. This book would also be a wonderful supplement to the following topics/themes: poetry, death and grieving, family, indigenous cultures, family relationships, cultures and traditions, and symbolism. It is a great read for children ages 4 and up.

Get your copy on Amazon

As I mentioned, it's a little hit and miss on Amazon, but if they have it in stock, you'll find it here. 

Ofrenda Decorating Supplies

If you're looking for items to decorate or add to your home ofrenda, take a look at these.

Day of The Dead Table Runner

5 feet Marigold Garland

Sugar Skull Couple Statue

Flameless Candles Battery Operated

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