It’s a holiday made much of in the United States, giving us a reason to celebrate something at the beginning of May. Many people think it’s the celebration of Mexico’s independence, but it’s really the celebration of the Mexican army’s defeat of the French against overwhelming odds in the Battle of Puebla in 1862, about 40 years after Mexico’s independence.

Even though it might not mean what you think it means, Cinco de Mayo is still an amazing story of courage and critical thinking (how else is a smaller, poorly equipped army of farmers supposed to defeat the best army in the world at the time other than through innovative strategy?).

Share the story with your kids with some of these book recommendations (descriptions from Amazon with affiliate links – check with the library to see if these titles are available to borrow):

Infants and Twos

Fiesta Babies

Join in the lastest fun from a Pura Belpré Honor-winning team.  These Fiesta Babies dance, march on parade, and sing along to mariachi songs in their spirited celebration of fiestas.  From piñatas to flower coronas, little ones are introduced to the many coloful aspects of an important and lively Latino cultural tradition.

Threes and Fours

Celebrate! It’s Cinco de Mayo!/!Celebramos! !Es el Cinco de Mayo!

It’s Cinco de Mayo! Everyone is celebrating the holiday in their own way. A very simple history of the holiday is interspersed with the story of a young boy celebrating Cinco de Mayo with his family.


Marco’s Cinco de Mayo

Marco loves the food, parades, and fun of Cinco de Mayo. This year he’s one of the dancers. As he listens to the mariachi music, Marco thinks of the brave Mexicans at the first Cinco de Mayo. Find out the different things people do to celebrate this holiday! 

Learn the history behind the days people celebrate in the Holidays and Special Days series, part of the Cloverleaf Books™ collection. These nonfiction picture books feature kid-friendly text and illustrations to make learning fun!

After Schoolers

The Best Mariachi in the World

Everyone in the family is in the band, except for Gustavo. He cannot play any of the insturments. Only after he finds his voice does he become part of the group. English story with Spanish words sprinkled throughout.

Understanding Cinco de Mayo
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