“Funny Bones: Posada And His Day Of The Dead Calaveras” By Duncan Tonatiuh

Funny Bones tells the story of how the amusing calaveras—skeletons performing various everyday or festive activities—came to be. They are the creation of Mexican artist José Guadalupe (Lupe) Posada (1852–1913). In a country that was not known for freedom of speech, he first drew political cartoons, much to the amusement of the local population but not the politicians. He continued to draw cartoons throughout much of his life, but he is best known today for his calavera drawings. They have become synonymous with Mexico’s Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival. Juxtaposing his own art with that of Lupe’s, author Duncan Tonatiuh brings to light the remarkable life and work of a man whose art is beloved by many but whose name has remained in obscurity.

The book includes an author’s note, bibliography, glossary, and index.

A Sibert Award Winner, Pura Belpré (Illustrator) Honor Book, New York TimesBest Illustrated Children’s Books of 2015 and International Latino Book Award Finalist! 

-Description from Amazon.com

About the Author

Duncan Tonatiuh was born in Mexico City and grew up in San Miguel de Allende. He graduated from Parsons The New School for Design and from Eugene Lang College in New York City in 2008. His work is inspired by Ancient Mexican art, particularly that of the Mixtec codex. His aim is to create images that honor the past, but that address contemporary issues that affect people of Mexican origin on both sides of the border. Source: kidsreads.com


Read Aloud Tips

  • Introduce the book, author, illustrator and awards.
  • Introduce Day of the Dead celebration and Calaveras (skeletons).
  • Read-aloud glossary terms in the back of the book and have students practice saying the words.
  • Make a language wall on key terms.
  • As you’re reading, stop and ask prediction questions.
  • Discuss relatives who have passed and how children may celebrate their memories similar to Lupe.

Additional Information

  • To learn more about the author, visit duncantonatiuh.com.
  • Visit nbcnews.com and read article titled Duncan Tonatiuh Wants Latino Children to See Themselves in Books to read about the author’s dedication to spreading awareness of the dangers undocumented immigrants and school-aged children experience.
  • Visit kidsreads.com to see other award-winning books celebrating the Latino culture by Tonatiuh.

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