This reading guide is designed to accompany Marisa Montes and Yuyi Morales’ picture book Los Gatos Black on Halloween. Lesson content was written by Zapoura Newton-Calvert and was designed to start and deepen anti-bias/anti-racist conversations in families and other learning communities.
We hold the belief that anti-racist practice is a process of learning (and unlearning) over time. Reading Is Resistance sees reading as an opportunity to seed deeper conversations and possibilities for action around racial justice and co-liberation.
BOOK & LEARNING THEMES
IDENTITY, HALLOWEEN, CULTURAL TRADITIONS, EL DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS, APPRECIATION V. APPROPRIATION
With dark and dreamy illustrations by Mexican illustrator/author Yuyi Morales and energizing rhymes fromPuerto Rican author Marisa Montes, this Halloween book takes the reader on an adventure where black cats yowl and skeletons dance through a fusion of Latinx cultures and practices. The rhyming story in verse mixes both English and Spanish words seamlessly transitioning from one to the next:”At medianoche midnight strikes/ The witching hour the werewolf likes.” It also delights with a surprise ending revealing what all of the spooky characters are scared of -- children!
This book can serve as a starting point for talking about the variety in global fall traditions, different ways Halloween is celebrated, and a bit about the Mexican aesthetic and practices of El Día de Los Muertos. As part of this, an important conversation about cultural appreciation versus appropriation can be sparked.