From Unit Plan Magnificent Mexico

The booklist is divided into two groups: nonfiction and picture books. In addition, I've included the dance and music resources recommended for the unit.

Nonfiction Books

Look What Came From Mexico by Miles Harvey

This book explores the foods, words, toys, music, and art that Mexico has contributed to the world.

Classroom Tip: I use this book, which inspired the unit's culmination activity, as an introduction to Magnificent Mexico.

Colors of Mexico by Lynn Ainsworth Olawsky

A beautifully illustrated book that teaches about Mexican traditions, geography, foods, and history

Classroom Tip: I use this book as part of the formative assessment on Day 2 in Lesson 1. We discuss the different colors that we see on each page and then the students each tell me one fact that they learned about Mexico.

Made in Mexico by Peter Laufer and Susan L. Roth

A darling, illustrated book with bright and bold pictures describing the daily life in Mexico

Classroom Tip: I read the story to the students as literature enrichment, and then place the book on display in our classroom hands-on museum.

Mexico From A to Z by Bobbie Kalman and Jane Lewis

An abecedarium full of interesting facts about Mexico

Classroom Tip: I integrate this book into learning about letters. As we learn the letters of the alphabet, I read the appropriate letter page. I also think that this book would make a good foundation for a culmination activity. Each student is assigned a letter of the alphabet and the task of creating a project that goes along with that letter. Parents and friends can come and see the exhibit!

Fiesta by June Behrens

Authentic photographs show the exciting celebrations and traditions of Mexico

Classroom Tip: I use this book to show the students real pictures of how the Mexican people celebrate different holidays and traditions. I then place the book in our Mexican hands-on museum.

Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists: Frida Kahlo by Mike Venezia

Factual information about the life of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo

Classroom Tip: I read selected text from this book to give students factual information about the artist, Frida Kahlo, whose life we studied during our self-portrait lesson.

Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists: Diego Rivera by Mike Venezia

Factual information about the life of Mexican artist Diego Rivera

Scholastic Reader Level 2: Skeletons by Lily Wood

Easy-to-understand information about our bones

Dem Bones by Bob Barner

Humorous pictures depict how bones are connected.

Scholastic Time-to-Discover Readers: Your Bones by Melvin Berger and Gilda Berger

This slim paperback especially for K–2 readers is part of a six-book series about the human body and how it works.

Classroom Tip: I use these books on Day 2 of Lesson 3 as a way to introduce how our bones are connected.

Rattle Your Bones by David Clemesha

This book gives step-by-step instructions on how to draw skeletons doing daily activities.

Classroom Tip: I copy pages of this book and place them in a center with black paper and white chalk. Students use the directed drawing to make their own skeletons.

A World of Recipes: Mexico by Julie McCulloch

Factual information about different foods from Mexico with delicious and easy recipes

Classroom Tip: I use this book when the students and I make tortillas and guacamole.

Picture Books

Smart About Art: Frida Kahlo, The Artist Who Painted Herself by Margaret Frith

Here's a creatively written story about the life of Frida Kahlo from a student's point of view.

Classroom Tip: I use this book on Day 1 Lesson 2. I list students' responses about what was important to Frida on a T-chart.

Frida by Jonah Winter and Ana Juan

The must-have book of all must have books. This is an exceptionally beautifully illustrated and written book about how Frida turns all the challenges in her life into art.

Classroom Tip: I use this book in Day 2 of Lesson 2. I add students' responses to the T-chart of what they think was important to Frida.

Diego by Jeanette Winter and Jonah Winter

A beautifully illustrated story about the life of Diego Rivera

Classroom Tip: I use this book as a way to introduce Diego Rivera's art work to the students. The students' responses are listed on the word web.

The Little Red Ant and the Great Big Crumb retold by Shirley Climo

A darling, illustrated book about a feisty little red ant who is trying to get a big crumb home

The Goat in the Chili Patch by Lada Josefa Kratky

This Mexican folklore is about a boy who is trying to save his chili patch from being eaten by a very hungry goat.

Classroom Tip: I use a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast the two stories The Little Red Ant and the Great Big Crumb and The Goat in the Chili Patch.

Nino's Mask by Jeanette Winter

This is a beautifully illustrated coming-of-age story about a boy who dreams of wearing a mask in his village fiesta.

Classroom Tip: Use this story to introduce the art of mask making, or to introduce a role-play activity.

Mañana Iguana by Ann Whitford Paul and Ethan Long

A terrific literature enrichment story about four friends working together for a common goal

Classroom Tip: I use this book for the sole purpose of giving the students an enjoyable story that is rich in plot and language.

Rin, Rin, Rin/Do, Re, Mi: A Picture Book in Spanish and English by Jose Luiz Orozco

This sweet book is about a child who wants to learn.

Classroom Tip: I read this story to the parents at back-to-school night because it tells them different things they can do to help their children succeed in school.

Day of the Dead by Tony Johnston

This beautifully illustrated story shows what a family does to get ready for Day of the Dead.

Classroom Tip: I use this story on Day 1 of Lesson 3. The students and I do a picture walk and discuss what is going on in the story.

The Spirit of Tío Fernando by Janice Levy

This is a deeply moving story about a young boy who learns to embrace the life of his uncle who has passed away.

Classroom Tip: I read this story on Day 3 of Lesson 3. As a group, we discuss all the different things that need to be done in order to celebrate this holiday.

Cinco de Mayo by Janet Riehecky

This book is about how the Sanchez family prepare for Cinco de Mayo.

Hooray, a Piñata! by Elisa Kleven

A little girl gets so attached to her piñata that she doesn't want it broken at her birthday party.

Classroom Tip: I use this story to introduce what a piñata is. Then we make piñata out of cereal boxes and colored tissue paper.

Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto

This heart-warming story is about a little girl who thinks that she has lost her mother's diamond ring in one of the tamales that they have made for Christmas dinner.

Classroom Tip: I read this story to students before my guest chef comes in to talk to the class about how to make tamales.

Big Moon Tortilla by Joy Cowley

A beautifully illustrated story about a little girl who learns some meaningful life lessons from her mother

Classroom Tip: I read this story to the students before I teach them how to make tortillas.

Music and Dance Resources

Nati Cano's Mariachi Los Camperos, Llegaron Los Camperos!

De Colores and Other Latin American Folk Songs for Children by Jose-Luis Orozco

Folk Dance Fun, Simple Folk Songs and Dances by Georgiana Stewart (Kimbo's Educational)