Two great holidays happen at the end of October: Halloween and Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. We asked Kim Tano, the children’s book buyer at Powell’s City of Books, to select her favorite kids’ books that celebrate Halloween or explain the meaning behind Día de los Muertos. (And, good news: The Burnside location’s Blue and Green rooms are now open for in-person browsing. You can always order online at powells.com.)
Día de los Muertos by Hannah Eliot and Jorge Gutierrez
Gathering flor de muertos, making the cinnamon-laced drink atole and placing sugar skulls celebrating the beauty of life and death are featured in this Day of the Dead board book for little ones. If these fun and colorful illustrations seem familiar, they’re from Jorge Gutierrez, the creator of the beloved 2014 animated film The Book of Life. An excellent introduction to Día de los Muertos for ages 2 and up. $8.99.
Dragon’s Halloween by Dav Pilkey
From the author of the bestselling Dog Man series comes three stories perfect for getting in the mood for the season. Six Small Pumpkins, The Costume Party and The Deep Dark Woods are all included in this charming Halloween addition to Dragon’s adventures. This easy-to-read text for young readers is perfect for ages 5 and up! $4.99.
Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras by Duncan Tonatiuh
Award-winning author Duncan Tonatiuh writes and illustrates the life of José Guadalupe Posada, the artist and political cartoonist who popularized Day of the Dead calaveras in the 1900s. Tonatiuh shows us how Posada made his art, using step-by-step illustrations of lithographs, wood carvings and relief prints, while asking readers questions that delve into the intention of the artist’s work. A fascinating biography perfect for ages 7 and up. $18.95.
Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks
High school seniors Deja and Josiah have worked in the pumpkin patch every year together, and on the last day of the season decide to explore their surroundings to see the sights and taste the snacks they’ve been smelling all autumn. Warm and nostalgic illustrations will have you craving pumpkin pie, caramel apples and the feeling of crunchy orange leaves beneath your feet. Great for ages 14 and up. $18.95.