Day of the Dead Book: Gustavo, the Shy Ghost by Flavia Z. Drago

Flavia Z. Drago’s debut picture book, Gustavo, the Shy Ghost, helps young readers learn more about the Day of the Dead. As a Mexican graphic designer and illustrator, her use of whimsical and detailed mixed-media helps to illustrate the vibrant elements of Mexican culture.

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Summary of Gustavo, the Shy Ghost

Gustavo is a ghost who enjoys doing spooky things like any other otherworldly being. He glows in the dark and passes through walls, but his favorite pastime is playing the violin. Also, he is in love with Alma — the most beautiful monster in town. Gustavo, however, is super shy. Speaking to other monsters and making friends terrifies him. To overcome his shyness and make new friends, Gustavo invites all the monsters to a violin concert. The concert will take place at the cemetery on the Day of the Dead. As the date of the concert approaches, Gustavo’s anxiety increases. Will he overcome his shyness and play the violin?

Drago’s mixed-media illustrations portray Mexican culture in all of its splendor. Look at the colorful papel picado and the ofrendas. She used neutral and vibrant colors, giving rosa mexicano center stage.

Day of the Dead Facts and Activities

Day of the Dead is an important celebration in Mexico. On November 1st and 2nd, people remember their loved ones who have passed away. They build gorgeous altars called ofrendas. Then, they add photographs, candles, sugar skulls, pan de muertos, and other things their family members loved.

Gustavo, the Shy Ghost is an ideal picture book for children between the ages of four and eight years old. It’s a great way to introduce the holiday to kids, and it’s available in English and Spanish. Doing activities, like making papel picado, sugar skulls, and calavera puppets, can also help bring the book to life. Finally, this story is great for learning about overcoming shyness, being brave, dealing with anxious thoughts, and making new friends.

Gustavo is overcoming his shyness and making friends at the cemetery on these beautiful pages.

Day of the Dead in Other Countries

Other Latin American countries and communities worldwide also celebrate the Day of the Dead, but traditions vary. Below is a list of articles about celebrations in other parts of the world.

  1. Day of the Dead in Poland by Olga Sokolik
  2. Day of the Deceased in Ecuador by Hispanic Mama
  3. 4 Traditions You Need to Know About the Day of the Dead in Latin America by Linda
  4. Day of the Dead: Guatemalan Traditions by Ana Alarcon

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Day of the Dead Facts in English and Spanish

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Yolimari García

Library Technician, Writer, Book Reviewer
Yolimari García is a Puerto Rican/Cuban American library technician, writer, and book reviewer who currently lives in Georgia with her husband and two bright daughters. She has lived in Puerto Rico, Germany, and three states. Books, travel, historical landmarks, cultures, exercise, food, and genealogy are her passions. She holds a bachelor's degree in American History and a master's degree in European History. She writes children's books under the name Yolimari Rosa.
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