Growing up, there weren’t many tools for me to utilize to understand life’s harsher lessons. I often learned how to cope with the “tough stuff” through books and other forms of media, but mostly books. Similarly, I grew up in a household where my grandparents didn’t allow me to explore my Mexican heritage because they worried that it would somehow hinder my ability to flourish in my educational pursuits. Thus, I never learned how to speak Spanish, and I was usually the only child that sat out during Cinco de Mayo dances.
In the fourth grade, my teacher read chapters from The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury to us aloud every afternoon after lunch. Since that moment, I have been obsessed with the Mexican holiday – Dia de los Muertos. It brought a completely different facet of death into my life, and made it more alluring than scary. That’s not to say that I necessarily find death appealing, but I am fond of ghost stories, more specifically Scary Stories and Tim Burton films; I am attracted to death but without the dark hair and circles of eyeliner beneath my eyes, and for many, that is alarming.
Dia de los Muertos: A Family Coloring Book was designed to bring adults and children together to open up a discourse of the various ways people honor their loved ones and grieve. Mixed in with both intricate and simple graphic designs meant for stress-free coloring, a small narrative provides autobiographical information as well as facts about the fundamental elements of this colorful, Mexican holiday. Above all, this coloring narrative aims to educate its coloring-readers while exploring their creative side.