A Collection of Day of the Dead Songs

A Collection of Day of the Dead Songs

Inside: The best Day of the Dead Songs, or canciones para Día de Muertos. 

 

With Día de Muertos drawing near, I’ve pulled together a variety of songs to use at home or in the classroom and add this link to my Spanish songs for kids page. These songs may be fun to sing, and the images are a great springboard for discussions about the holiday.

If you’re looking for an entire collections of resources and ideas for Day of the Dead, check out my Día de Muertos activities post as well! I’ve gots lots of links to free resources and ideas for celebrating or teaching traditions. 

 

Day of the Dead Songs for Kids

 

We’ll start off with some options for a younger crowd! These are a mix of traditional songs, and learners songs designed to teach about the holiday.

(Honestly, I am not sure how much I would show with really young kids. It seems like it would be hard to share without lots of English to explain what we are watching, and that some families might be uncomfortable with the graveyard images. However, you know your class and context! I am sharing these so you know your options, and can plan accordingly!)

 

Los Esqueletos – Chumbala

 

I like this one for the very clear singing voice, and the graphics are sweet too. (It works in telling time too, by describing what they do the night of Día de Muertos.) Though it portrays the calaveras in a whimsical way, the graveyard backyard might be scary. 

 

Las Calaveras – Chumbala

 

Another version of Chumbala, with slight different lyrics. 

 

 

Día de los Muertos

 

This song from Rockalingua is an introduction to Día de Muertos — the date, location, activities, etc. The music slogs a little, but still comprehensible and the graphics are useful when working with kids. 

 

El Día de Los Muertos

 

Another comprehensible Day of the Dead song for introducing what the day is about, the graphics here are also helpful for teaching. I didn’t love the music itself, and feel like it doesn’t coincide with the cultural context of the holiday. 

 

Tumbas Por Aquí Tumbas Por Allá

 

This one is a littler creepier, and sort’ve falls under the Halloween category too. 

 

 

Recuérdame – Coco

 

How could I not include music from Coco? Here are two different version, both of which includes scenes from the movie. 

 

Day of the Dead Songs for Teens or Adults

 

Here are some options for older students or adults as well!

 

Calaverita – La Santa Cecilia

 

This is a Day of the Dead classic: a lively song with a comprehensible chorus. Kara Jacobs has some fantastic resources that go with this song too! Just a heads up that Donald Trump appears briefly in one scene– this was before he was elected president, but it may feel political for some.

 

Recuérdame – Natalia Lafourcade

 

I love this re-mix of Recuérdame from Natala Lafourcade. It includes scenes from Coco, mixed in with scenes of Lafourcade singing and Day of the Dead contexts. Really lovely, folksy version that includes lyrics. 

 

Recuérdame – Natalia Lafourcade

 

A traditional Mexican folk song, this is not exactly a Day of the Dead song, but it fits in with themes of death, and the afterlife. This story is difficult for me to hear or teach (rooted in a story of a jilted woman who drowns her children and then forever after haunts her former lover and weeps for her children), so be aware of that if you use this. 

 

Cumbia de los Muertos – Ozomatli

 

In a totally different musical genre, here’s a cumbia twist on Día de Muertos with some reggae thrown in. It also includes an English portion. (I’ve included two version below.)

 

 

 

Day of the Dead Songs

Happy Birthday Songs in Spanish

Happy Birthday Songs in Spanish

Inside: Different versions Happy Birthday songs in Spanish, on YouTube.

In English, the song Happy Birthday is a staple at any birthday celebration– and wherever you go, it will basically sound the same. In Spanish, however, there are different versions, and they vary by country as well.

Here in Peru, for example, you’d better be prepared if you’re the cumpleañero! You’ll be sung at least three different songs, including Happy Birthday in English, before you get to blow those candles out. Though you say feliz cumpleaños to directly wish someone a Happy Birthday in Spanish, the words get switched to cumpleaños feliz in most cases, to fit the cadence of the song.

 

I’ll share several ways to sing to someone on their birthday, and you can pick your favorite. I wish there were a good version with lyrics on YouTube to recommend for free, but the pickings are slim. If you have more suggestions, let me know in the comments below for sure. 

If you are a classroom teacher, and would like to have quick, nice version with lyrics for your students to follow, you may want to look into this $5 version from Minute by Minute Spanish, which includes several regional options. 

 

If you prefer just to sing without music, here are the lyrics to some simple versions:



Cumpleaños, feliz,

Cumpleaños, feliz,
Cumpleaños feliiiiz,
Cumpleaños feliz.


Cumpleaños feliz
Te deseamos a ti
Que los cumplas feliz
Cumpleaños feliz



Cumpleaños, feliz,

Cumpleaños, feliz,
Te deseamos todos,
Cumpleaños feliz.


 

Happy Birthday Songs in Spanish

 

Let’s get started on our tour of Feliz Cumpleaños songs in YouTube, with option for kids to adults!

 

1. Cumpleaños Feliz with Lyrics

 

*Update!!* An awesome reader just sent me this link, which actually does show the lyrics during the song. WIN!

Cumpleaños feliz,
Cumpleaños feliz,
Te deseamos todos,
Cumpleaños feliz.

 

2. Cumpleaños Feliz – Canción Infantil

This one has a nice audio of children singing, though the images are a bit outdated!

Cumpleaños feliz,
Te deseamos a ti, 
Que los cumplas felices,
Cumpleaños feliz. 

 

3. Happy Birthday – Spanish Version

 

A slower version, sung by adults. Here are the lyrics:

Cumpleaños feliz,
Te deseamos a ti, 
Que los cumplas en tu día,
Que los cumplas feliz. 

 

 

4. Cumpleaños Feliz en Español

 

The graphics and lyrics are great in this version, though the audio is a little hard to sing along to.

Cumpleaños feliz,
Cumpleaños feliz,
Te deseamos todos,
Cumpleaños feliz.

 

5. Las Mañanitas

 

Work in some beautiful, cultural music with Las Mañanitas, traditionally sung on birthdays in Mexico and other Spanish-speaking places. 

 

And with lyrics:

6. Cumpleaños Feliz – Kids Songs

 

This one *does* show the lyrics, but unfortunately also show wine on the table! You may still want to use the audio, so here are the lyrics:

Cumpleaños feliz,
Cumpleaños feliz,
Te deseamos todos,
Cumpleaños feliz.

 

7. Festeja Tu Cumpleaños

 

Another version that sings Que los cumplas feliz, mixed in with an original version from Plim Plim.

 

8. Cumpleaños Feliz – Tambor Urbano

 

 

9. Feliz Cumpleaños

 

An original mix from Toobys. If you introducing vocabulary related to birthday, it includes words like pastel, globos, velitas, regalos, etc. 

 

10. Rompe La Piñata – Dale, Dale, Dale

 

You could also include traditional songs that are sung for the piñata part of a birthday party.

 

 

 

And just for fun– a bonus video poking fun and how long it take to sing all the songs in most countries! Maybe not for class, but a funny watch:

 

 

Do you know of any good Happy Birthday songs in Spanish that I missed? Let me know in the comments!

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Happy Birthday Songs in Spanish

The Ultimate List of YA Spanish Books for Teens and Pre-Teens

The Ultimate List of YA Spanish Books for Teens and Pre-Teens

Inside: Authentic YA Spanish books for teens and pre-teens.

 

Some of my most formative companions as a pre-teen were books. I read them over breakfast, after school, and returned to my favorites over and over. They formed such a deep part of my imagination that anyone who loved the same books felt like an instant friend. 

As I raise my bilingual kids, I’m very aware of the books they’re surrounded by. We’ve gathered a good collection of Spanish children’s books, but I’ve just started reading chapter books with my 5-year-old. So I’m diving into the world of Spanish chapter books!

At the end of this post, I’ll include links to classics translated into Spanish like Harry Potter and Magic Treehouse. However, if you’re like me, the most exciting finds for me are really the authentic books, first written in Spanish. I want my kids to develop their literacy in Spanish, obviously, but on a deeper level I want them to grow up with bicultural book-companions. 

When I sat down to write this, I thought authentic YA Spanish books  would be very hard to come by. Thankfully, my readers saved the day by offering all sorts of titles that were new to me. If you have a chapter book in Spanish you love that’s not on the list, make sure to let me know in the comments below!

Please note that this post was written with bilingual readers in mind, or students with high intermediate-advanced skills. If you are looking for learner novels for novice-intermediate skills, I have a post on Spanish books for beginners too. 

 

YA Spanish Books

 

I’ve done my best to categorize and describe the books below. Some I’ve read personally, and some were recommendations from other teachers and parents. Any age recommendations are based on information from Amazon. 

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

 

YA Spanish books for teens

Immigration-Themed

 

Cajas de Cartón: Relatos de la Vida Peregrina de un Nino Campesino by Francisco Jiménez
(Ages 10-12+)

Told in short autobiographical vignettes through the eyes of a 12-year-old, Cajas de Cartón relates the story of a Mexican immigrant family working in California in 1947. Though they experience many setbacks, their determination and hope shines through.

Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
(Ages 8-12+)

Esperanza has a good life in Mexico, with everything most girls would want. But one day, her world is turned upside and she ends up escaping with her mother to California, who is forced to labor as a field worker. In spite of everything, she discovers her own strength and happiness.  

Devolver al Remitente by Julia Alvarez
(Ages 10-12+)

Tyler lives in Vermont and meets a Mexican girl, Mari, when his family hires a group of migrant workers after an accident. As everyone fights to save the farm, Tyler wrestles with his own questions about immigrants and the law, while Mari finds her way between her Mexican identity and new life in the U.S.

Yo, Naomi Leon by Pam Muñoz Ryan
(Ages 9-12+)

Naomi’s quiet life her grandmother and little brother is uprooted when her mother reappears after seven years. As Naomi discovers her family’s past (and why her mother left), the grandmother decides they must leave California for Mexico. (Not recommended for 10 and under.)


Trilogies / Series

 

La Ciudad de las Bestias
El Reino del Dragon de Oro
El Bosque de los Pigmeos (Memorias del Águila y del Jaguar 3) 
(Ages 10+)

La Ciudad de las Bestias is the most well-known book from this trilogy by Isabel Allende, also available as a set. The series delves into the world of magical realism, set amidst the South American rainforest. 15-year-old Alexander Cold leaves behind his life in the U.S., to accompany his eccentric grandmother on an expedition to the Amazon that will change his life forever. Along the way they are joined by Nadia Santos, another teen whose path becomes linked to theirs, as they make their way into uncharted territory.

Memorias De Idhún by Laura Gallego García
(Ages 12-18)

A fantasy trilogy that follows three teenagers born on earth, but join a resistance movement connected to another world: Idhún.

Marina and the Prince of Mist Trilogy by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
(Ages 12-18)

15-year-old Oscar disappears from school, after meeting Marina and making the fateful decision to follow a mysterious old woman in a cemetery. A gothic-horror adventure trilogy set in Spain.

Hacia el fin del mundo by José Ignacio Valenzuela

When her friends Patricia mysteriously disappears, Ángela must put her Anthropology studies in action to find her– by delving into the secrets of the “Leyenda del Malamor,” in which an entire village was bewitched and never again felt love. 

Manolito Gafotas by Elvira Lindo
(Ages 9-12+)

A classic from Spain, Manolito Gafotas stars the adventures of a 10-year-old boy and his friends (and arch-enemies) in a working class neighborhood. 

The Tía Lola Series by Julia Alvarez
(Ages 8-12+)

This heartwarming series from Dominican writer Julia Alvarez tells the stories of Tía Lola, who arrives from the Dominican Republic to visit her relatives in Vermont. She brings music, food, dance, and a bit of magic to the family, and eventually the whole town.

Los Futbolísimos by Roberto Santiago
(Ages 10-12+)

A light mystery series centered on a group of young soccer players, who solve mysteries and learn about friendship, teamwork, and sportsmaship along the way. 

El caso de la pluma perdida by René Saldaña Jr.
(Ages 9-12+)

Mickey is a kid detective, certified by an online he took two years before. The witty and smart star helps his friends and classmates find out the truth in this mystery series.


El Barco de Vapor

This is a series from Mexico, with readers that range for ages 6 to 10+ and cover a variety of topics and genres. I’ll include a few examples in the Amazon link below for 10 and up, but if you end up browsing around, the books are color-coded for the different levels:

Seria Blanca (6 and up)
Seria Azul (7 and up)
Serie Naranja (8 and up)
Serie Roja (10 and up)


Modern Classics

 

El Polizon Del Ulises by Ana María Matute

One day, three sisters find an orphaned baby on their doorstep. While they devote themselves to bringing Jujú, as he comes to be called, he creates his own world of books and imagination.

El principito by Antoine de Saint-Esbury

Although this one was originally written in French, the Spanish version is a long-time classic for Spanish speakers as well, as one of the best-selling children’s books. Accompanied by watercolor illustrations from the author himself it tells the story of a French pilot who crashes in the Sahara desert and meets a prince from another planet. 

Cocorí by Joaquín Gutierrez

Cocorí is perhaps the most famous Costa Rican book for children. It tells the story of a young black boy, Cocorí who meets a white girl and receives a rose from her. She asks for a spider monkey in return. This interaction sets off the rest of the story, with some lovely life lessons and culture too. The book has had some controversy, though it continues to be read widely in Spanish-speaking schools. 

La Casa en Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

An acclaimed coming-of-age novel about a young Latina teen wanting to escape her impoverished Chicago neighborhood, told through vignettes. This is a powerful work that deals with deep themes like sexual trauma, and recommended for older teens. 


More Titles

 

La casa imaginaria by Pilar Mateos
(Ages 7-10+)

In Claudia’s house, the rules aren’t normal: there’s no bedtime, for example. But when she and her friend find the keys to a secret door, everything changes.

Me llamo María Isabel by Alma Flor Ada
(Ages 7-10+)

María Isabel is a new student at school, where the teacher insists on calling her Mary because there’s already another María in class. María must make her teacher understand that her real name is important to her because she is named after her Puerto Rican grandmother. 

Aventuras de Picofino (El Duende Verde) by Concha López Narváez
(Ages 7-10+)

An endearing story about a rooster who runs away from his farm to avoid being dinner, and embarks on a series of adventures.

Cartas del cielo by Lydia Gil
(Ages 8-12+)

While Celeste is still grieving over the recent loss of her grandmother, mysterious letters begin to arrive in the mail– from her grandmother! As Celeste deals with her changed life after her grandma’s death, the letters guide her into a celebration of Cuban food and traditions. 


Copo de algodón by María García Esperon
(Ages 9-12+)

Copo de Algodón is the princess of Tacuba in ancient Mexico, and the story of her people during the arrival of Hernán Cortes is told through her eyes in this historical novel.

Antes de ser libres by Julia Alvarez
(Ages 12+)

Anita is a 12-year-old living in the Dominican Republic, during the dictatorship of Trujillo. When her uncle disappears and the secret government police begin to hound her family, Anita must find her strength and freedom. 

Diez cuentos y pico del abuelo Perico by Juan Muoz Martin
(Ages 7-9+)

One of many titles by Juan Munoz (this one is book 9 in a series), for beginning readers of chapter books.

Con cariño, Amalia by Alma Flor Ada
(Ages 8-12+)

Amalia finds comfort in her grandmother’s stories and time together after her best friends moves far away. When she suffers another loss, she must find strength she didn’t know she had, to go on.


El Puma de la noche 


Chapter Books Translated into Spanish

 

Below you can find lots of ideas for popular books in English that are available in Spanish. These are so well-known that I won’t include a little synopsis of each one; you can just grab the titles from the covers!

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YA Spanish books and chapter books in Spanish:

Monolingual Parents, Bilingual Children: Tips for Success + Giveaway!

Monolingual Parents, Bilingual Children: Tips for Success + Giveaway!

Inside: Resources for monolingual parents raising bilingual kids.

 

Limited-time only: this post includes a giveaway you won’t want to miss! Make sure to enter by midnight, September 28th to win some amazing Spanish resources from Linguacious!

Raising multilingual kids is a big goal for any family, but especially daunting for monolingual parents wanting to raise bilingual kids. Most of my resources are geared to teachers, or parents who at least speak some Spanish. But is it possible, if they parents don’t speak Spanish themselves?

There are families doing just that! It is not easy, but here I’ve got some tips and amazing resources for parents in this situation. 

In today’s post, I’m writing with families in mind whose kids are learning a second language that is not the majority language. In other words, I’m not really writing to the Spanish-speaking family with kids who just moved to the U.S. In cases like that, your children will probably go to school and learn English beautifully. Your main focus will probably be keeping up Spanish at home, so they stay bilingual!

These specific tips are geared toward an English-speaking family in the US, for example, who would like their kids to learn Spanish. Read on for some great resources and help!

 

1. Learn Together, As a Family

 

Ideally, you’ll be learning alongside your kids. This shows your kids that you are truly invested in their bilingualism, and allows you to work the language into your daily family life. In fact, it’s probably the key factor as to whether your children reach higher levels of the new language.

Read up on how to teach yourself Spanish using free online resources to get started. You’ll make mistakes along the way (and maybe your kids will get to the point where they correct you!), but your willingness to make mistakes is a good lesson for them as well. I’ve also teamed up with Bilingual Kidspot to create a starter kit for families learning Spanish, and you can find specific steps and resources there. 

 

2. Get Organized

 

As with any major goal, the biggest obstacle is just making it happen! Take a whole weekend to make a plan. Research materials, order resources (see below!), look at your calendar, and think about your family dynamics. Go ahead and print some posters or plans and get a physical Spanish notebook going. Here are some questions to help you get going:

  • What is a realistic weekly time commitment?
  • What do your kids enjoy? (Books, games, sports, etc. How can you attach Spanish to these hobbies?)
  • What space in your home is the “gathering” space? Can you hang posters there or fill a basket with some games and books?
  • What is your budget? Can you invest in some materials or classes?

 

3. Gather Resources 

 

Don’t leave yourselves with any excuses! As monolingual parents, you will need to surround yourself with materials that provide the language for you. Here are some helpful things to already have on hand:

I always recommend games to families, because they are one of the most enjoyable ways to learn a language. However, they also involve speaking, which can be tricky for parents who are learning along with their kids. I just recently came across an amazing resource that solves this problem!

Linguacious flashcards, available in over 15 languages, were created by Ph.D. linguists and parents of bilingual children to support families learning together. They can be used for a variety of games and for all four language skills: speaking, listening, writing, and reading. The cards are sturdy for little hands and years of use, and use realistic photos for the images.

And the best part? They all include QR codes that work with the Linguacious App, so you can check for pronunciation on the spot, with examples from native speakers. Kids LOVE this feature, since they can scan the cards themselves!

 

 

If you’d like a set for your family, enter the giveaway below to win a Linguacious product of your choice! Linguacious also offers posters with QR codes, that you can set up around your house. Having visuals around really helps keeps Spanish continually present, not something you try for a week and give up. You can hang the poster in places that make sense for daily use, too, like a food poster in the kitchen or dining room. 

 

 

 

4. Look for Ways to Immerse Your Kids/Family

 

Hopefully, you will be able to take classes and/or find a tutor at some point. I also recommend looking for ways to immerse yourselves in Spanish, however possible. Not only will you learn more Spanish, but it’s incredibly motivating to continue in the language. 

Some families will be able to do something like vacationing in a Spanish-speaking country, or finding a language school. For others, it will need to be a local option. Here are some ideas:

  • Look for bilingual story hour at your local public library
  • Find opportunities to volunteer with Spanish speakers
  • Swap English lessons for Spanish lessons
  • Find a native speaker who will Skype with you once a week

 

Linguacious Cards Giveaway

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

All of the Linguacious sets are available on Amazon. Click on the image to see for yourself!

 

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Spanish Speaking Countries Flags and Free Printable Banner

Spanish Speaking Countries Flags and Free Printable Banner

Inside: Spanish speaking countries flags (free printable banner). 

 

For Hispanic Heritage month, lots of people are looking for decorations. How about a string of flags from Spanish-speaking countries? I’ve created a little free printable that you can grab and put up in no time. These would be perfect for a bulletin board or to hang from a table or mantle. 

 

Spanish Speaking Countries Flags

Included are all 21 Hispanic countries, plus the United States in case anyone wants to use it (the U.S. has the second largest population of Spanish speakers in the world!). I simple cut them out, punched holes, and string them up with string. 

You’ll notice these are representations of each flag, and vary a tiny bit from the originals. 

 

Grab your free printable here! 

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