Bilingual Programs Chapter

By Priscilla Suárez and Vanessa Sáenz

Program for Families

Día De Los Recuerdos / Day of Remembrance & Celebrating Our Dearly Departed

A Tribute to Día de los Muertos

Program Description

Día de los Muertos is an ancient holiday, typically celebrated by people of Latino heritage living in the Americas on November 2nd. In recent years, this holiday has become popular, and museums, libraries, and community centers often host programs to celebrate remembrance and family. Although Día de los Muertos is now celebrated on November 2nd, originally it fell during the ninth month of the Aztec calendar, generally August on the Gregorian calendar.

The concept behind Día de los Muertos is that the festivities honor and remember the dearly departed, whether they are family or friends. Indigenous peoples of Mexico, Central America, and South America believed that on this special day the spirits of their loved ones would make the journey home. For their homecoming, families would set out altars and visit the gravesites, setting out a picnic and dedicating the music their loved ones enjoyed most to be played by the mariachis that parade around the cemetery. Despite popular belief, this is not a morbid holiday, but rather one of joy and celebrations honoring the dearly departed.

The goal of this Día de los Recuerdos program is to pay homage to Dia de los Muertos, which is celebrated in November. Dia de los Recuerdos is a reminder that we should remember and honor the memory of our relatives and friends every day of the year.

Books to Share

Calavera Abecedario: A Day of the Dead Alphabet Book by Jeanette Winter.

Chumba La Cachumba by Carlos Cotte.

Clatter Bash! A Day of the Dead Celebration by Richard Keep.

El Día de los Muertos: The Day of the Dead by Mary Wade Dodson.

I Love Saturdays y Domingos by Alma Flor Ada.

In My Family / En Mi Familia by Carmen Lomas Garza.

Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book by Yuyi Morales.

Just in Case by Yuyi Morales.

My Tata’s Guitar / La Guitarra de mi Tata by Ethriam Cash Brammer.

Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs by Tomie dePaola.

Perfect Season for Dreaming by Benjamín Alire Sáenz.

Bulletin Board

Día de los Recuerdos

Cover the bulletin board with a bright colored paper (yellow, orange, or pink). Add the heading “Día de los Recuerdos / Day of Remembrance” in multicolored letters. Create flowers using a die cut and a variety of bright colored paper. Use the flowers to create a border around the bulletin board. Make copies of the ‘I remember’ pattern using the pattern provided at the end of this program. Distribute the copies to families to decorate, fill out, and post up on the bulletin board. Alternately, families can provide a photograph of their family member to display.


This is Me Picture Frame

Make a nametag using the pattern provided in this program. Allow the children to draw a self-portrait inside their picture frame nametag, adding their name to the border.

Find the ‘this is me’ picture frame pattern at the end of this program.



Setting up an altar is a great visual for the families attending your program. Create a remembrance display by selecting a deceased author, artist, or community member to whom the altar will be dedicated. (Hans Christian Andersen, the author of The Ugly Duckling, will be used as an example.) Gather materials that can be used to describe that person, along with things he or she would have enjoyed in life. (For example, gather books written by Andersen, pictures of him, a map of his birth country, Denmark, a pen and notebook, and rubber ducks.) Drape a small or medium-sized table with a colorful tablecloth. Set out all the gathered materials, placing a photograph of the subject in the center of the altar. Add an unlit candle and flowers to give the altar a warm touch.


Decorate the library with papel picado and paper flowers. Use bright colors to give the papel picado an especially festive look. Papel picado is the Mexican art of cutting paper into elaborate designs. The paper is then attached to string or yarn to create a banner. Papel picado can be purchased but it is also easy to make your own. See Zoom,, for instructions. Paper flowers can also be purchased or made and attached with tape to bookshelves, counters, and other areas of the library or attached to long pipe cleaner stems and arranged in vases. Instructions are included in many craft books and web sites, including Enchanted Learning,


Chocolate Frío y Tortillas con Mantequilla

Use a microwave oven to warm flour tortillas purchased from a local grocery store or Mexican bakery. Spread with a thin layer of butter, margarine, or peanut butter. Roll up the tortilla, buttered side in. Serve with cups of cool chocolate milk.


Canción para Tu Memoria

(By Priscilla C. Suárez.)

Estos son mis deditos. (menee dedos de mano derecha)

Esta es mi guitarra. (extienda brazo izquierdo)

Las cuerdas yo rasgueo, (finja rasgueo)

Para tocar una canción.

Ta rrum ta rrum. (finja rasgueo lentamente)

Ti rri ti rri. (finja rasgueo rápidamente)

Ta rrum ta rrum. (finja rasgueo lentamente)

Ti rri ti rri. (finja rasgueo rápidamente)

De usted yo me recuerdo,

A usted le tocaré,

Una melodía que me recuerda

Cada día de usted.

Ta rrum ta rrum. (finja rasgueo lentamente)

Ti rri ti rri. (finja rasgueo rápidamente)

Ta rrum ta rrum. (finja rasgueo lentamente)

Ti rri ti rri. (finja rasgueo rápidamente)

Las cuerdas yo rasgueo (finja rasgueo)

Para tocar una canción.

Ta rrum ta rrum. (finja rasgueo lentamente)

Ti rri ti rri. (finja rasgueo rápidamente)

Ta rrum ta rrum. (finja rasgueo lentamente)

Ti rri ti rri. (finja rasgueo rápidamente)

Song for Your Memory

(By Priscilla C. Suárez.)

These are my fingers. (wiggle right hand fingers)

This is my guitar. (extend left arm)

The chords I strum, (pretend strum)

To play a song.

Ta rrum ta rrum. (pretend strum slowly)

Ti rri ti rri. (pretend strum fast)

Ta rrum ta rrum. (pretend strum slowly)

Ti rri ti rri. (pretend strum fast)

Of you I remember,

To you I shall play,

A melody that reminds me

Of you, everyday.

Ta rrum ta rrum. (pretend strum slowly)

Ti rri ti rri. (pretend strum fast)

Ta rrum ta rrum. (pretend strum slowly)

Ti rri ti rri. (pretend strum fast)

The chords I strum (pretend strum)

To play a song.

Ta rrum ta rrum. (pretend strum slowly)

Ti rri ti rri. (pretend strum fast)

Ta rrum ta rrum. (pretend strum slowly)

Ti rri ti rri. (pretend strum fast)

Action Rhymes

Un Abrazo para Usted

(By Priscilla C. Suárez.)

Aquí está mi muñeca. (tuerza muñeca de aquí para allá)

Aquí está mi mano. (ondee mano)

Es así como yo los muevo (sacuda la mano)

para saludarte con un apretón de manos.

Aquí está mi corazón. (señale al corazón)

Aquí están mis brazos. (extienda brazos)

Es así como yo los doblo (doble brazos)

Para darte un abrazo.

A Hug for You

(By Priscilla C. Suárez.)

Here is my wrist. (twist wrist back and forth)

Here is my hand. (wave hand)

This is how I move them (pretend hand shake)

To shake your hand.

Here is my heart. (point to heart)

Here are my arms. (extend arms)

This is how I fold them (hug yourself)

To give you a hug.



Tortillitas, tortillitas,

Tortillitas para mamá;

Tortillitas para papá.

Las quemaditas para mamá;

Las bonitas para papá.

Tortillitas, tortillitas,

Tortillitas para papá;

Tortillitas para mamá.

Tortillitas de salvado

Para papá cuando está enojado;

Tortillitas de manteca

Para mamá que está contenta.


(Traditional. Translated by Vanessa Sáenz and Priscilla C. Suárez.)

Tortillitas, tortillitas

Tortillitas for mama;

Tortillitas for daddy.

The burnt ones for mama;

The pretty ones for daddy.

Tortillitas, tortillitas

Tortillitas for daddy;

Tortillitas for mama;

Tortillitas made of bran

For daddy when he is mad;

Tortillitas with lots of butter

For mama when she is glad.

Rhymes and Poetry

Día de Recuerdos

(By Priscilla C. Suárez.)

Recordarte, recordarte

lo hago cada día.

Te quiero, te quiero

lo hago cada día.

Las nubes del cielo, esos caminos polvorientos

no son suficiente

para hacerme olvidar

de recordarte, recordarte

porque te quiero, te quiero

toda la vida.

Day of Remembrance

(By Priscilla C. Suárez.)

Remember you, remember you

I do every day.

I love you, I love you

I do every day.

The sky’s clouds, those dusty roads

are not enough

to make me forget

To remember you, to remember you

because I love you, I love you

I do every day.

Audio Recordings

“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” on Motown for Kids by Various Artists.

“Baila Esta Cumbia”on Ones by Selena Quintanilla.

“Beat of My Heart” on Most Wanted by Hillary Duff.

“Bidi Bidi Bom Bom”on Ones by Selena Quintanilla.

“Cielito Lindo” on Toda Una Vida: 30 Exitos by José Feliciano.

“I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)” on Motown for Kids by Various Artists.

“We Are Family” on We Are Family by Sisters Sledge.

Trabalenguas / Tongue Twisters

Recordando a Raziel

(By Priscilla C. Suárez.)

Reymundo Reyeserollo y Raquella Reyesan

recuerdan a Raziel Ramizan

y se ponen de acuerdo

rezar por mas recuerdos.

Prefieren recordar, no olvidar.

Remembering Raziel

(By Priscilla C. Suárez.)

Reymundo Reyeserollo and Raquella Reyesan

remember Raziel Ramizan

and they agree

to pray for more memories.

They prefer to remember, not forget.


Candle Craft Stick Bookmark

Candle Craft Stick Bookmark on top of an open book

  • Multicolored wooden jumbo craft sticks
  • Craft glue
  • Candle flame template
  • Tag board
  • Orange, red, and yellow crayons
  • Scissors

Provide each child with a flame template, provided in this program. Use the crayons to color the inner layer in red, the middle layer in orange, and the outer layer in yellow. Cut out the flame and use craft glue to adhere it to a jumbo craft stick. Allow to dry thoroughly before using.

Find the candle craft stick bookmark pattern at the end of this program.

Craft Stick Picture Frame

craft stick frame image - the sticks are covered with small square shaped tissue paper that is yellow, pink and green , the frame background is green, yellow strings hold picture against wall

  • Jumbo craft sticks
  • Craft glue
  • Multicolored tissue paper
  • Ribbon or yarn
  • Cardstock paper

In advance, cut the tissue paper into 3” squares, enough to provide approximately 30 pieces per child. Cut the cardstock into 3.5” squares. Cut yarn or ribbon into 6” pieces. Glue the edges of four craft sticks together to form a square, with the edges layered on over the other to create a frame that forms a square that is 3” by 3”. Apply a line of glue along each of the four craft sticks. Crinkle pieces of tissue paper and place them on top of craft sticks. (Note that for younger children the tissue paper can be “pre-crinkled” so that the glue does not dry out before the paper is placed on it. Alternately, put glue on each section as it is covered.) Let the frame dry for a couple of minutes. When the glue is dry, turn the frame over. Make a little loop with the ribbon or yarn and glue onto the mid section of one of the craft sticks to make a hanger. Glue the cardstock paper to the back of the picture frame, making sure to leave the top or one side unglued so that a picture can slide into the frame.

Papel Picado

Papel picado is a traditional craft prepared for Día de los Muertos and other festivities. Appropriate holiday scenes are cut into tissue paper, which are then used to create banners for decoration. Instructions for preparing papel picado can be found at Zoom,


Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book. (12 minutes)

Professional Resources

Authors in the Kitchen: Recipes, Stories & More by Sharon & Deborah McElmeel.

Tortillas and Lullabies / Tortillas y Cancioncitas by Lynn Reiser.

Tortillitas para mamá and Other Nursery Rhymes: Spanish and English selected by Margot C. Griego and Laurel H. Kimball.

Colorín Colorado

The Washington Educational Television Association (WETA) provides a bilingual web site offering advice and activities for families, including reading tips, webcasts, and booklists.

Día de los Muertos / Day of the Dead

This web site, maintained by The Arizona Republic newspaper, offers a free toolkit, with information on the history of Day of the Dead, as well as ideas on creating altars, crafts, and food.

National Latino Children’s Institute

The National Latino Children’s Institute offers programs that focus on empowering Latino communities for the full and healthy development of young Latinos in a culturally relevant environment. Resources include activities and printable coloring sheets.

Program Materials

A Tribute to Día de los Muertos – I Remember Pattern

Printer Friendly PDF Version (29 KB)

Six I remember shapes on sheet, cylinder that says 'I Remember' on long side, above the cylinder is a sun shape

A Tribute to Día de los Muertos – This is Me Picture Frame Nametag Pattern

Printer Friendly PDF Version (13 KB)

This is 'Me Picture Frame' - six frames on sheet, each border has a frame that fades from white to black (a gradient)

A Tribute to Día de los Muertos – Candle Craft Stick Bookmark Pattern

Printer Friendly PDF Version (11 KB)

Twelve Candle Craft Stick Bookmark patterns on sheet. Each pattern has a stick as a base, and three pentagon (house shaped) on top of each other sitting right above base

Texas Reading Club 2010 Programming Manual / Catch the Reading Express!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011