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Picture Books About Cinco de Mayo

My mother in law just came back from a vacation in Mexico and the kids are excited to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. We’re kicking off the fiesta early with a few picture books about Cinco de Mayo and Mexican culture.

I probably did not know the meaning of Cinco de Mayo until I was teaching history–many people confuse the celebration with Mexico’s Independence Day (which is in September). Cinco de Mayo actually commemorates the victory over the French military at Puebla. Although the date has limited significance in Mexico, it has become a time to celebrate Mexican heritage in the United States.

Here are some children’s books to get ready for your fiesta!

Cinco de Mouse-O! – This cute story follows a mouse as he follows his nose to a Cinco de Mayo celebration. The “mouse-eye’s” view of the fiesta is a fun way to put the reader right in the action.

Chicks and Salsa: The farm animals are tired of their usual feed and grab supplies from the farmyard to cook up Mexican specialties. My kids love humorous books like this–the wacky animals are charming and resourceful. There are a few Spanish words thrown in for this fiesta and it makes a funny preparation for Cinco de Mayo dinner.

Off We Go to Mexico: A nice introduction to the geography, customs, and sites of Mexico. Colorful, folk art style illustrations give a sense of how the modern and the traditional meld in Mexico. There is also a Spanish-language edition: Nos Vamos a Mexico!

Celebrate! It’s Cinco de Mayo!: !Celebramos! !Es el Cinco de Mayo! (English and Spanish Edition): A simple, bilingual introduction to the history of the day.

Educational Connections:

  • Home Arts: Prepare Mexican dishes to enjoy on Cinco de Mayo.
  • Arts: Make papel picado or enjoy the music and dance of Mexico (great summary at ABC and 123).
  • Geography: Locate Mexico on a map.  Why are the histories of Mexico and the United States so connected? What different climate regions does Mexico have? What different cultural and ethnic groups live in those regions?
  • History: How did various native and European influences contribute to Mexico’s culture?
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Written by

Candace Lindemann, Yale, BA, Harvard Graduate School of Education, EdM, is an educational consultant and published writer. She enjoys new learning experiences with her children, ages 6 and 4 and 1.5.

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