Dancing with the Devil and Other Tales from Beyond/Bailando con el diablo y otros cuentos del Más Allá

By René Saldaña Jr.
Translated by Gabriela Baeza Ventura
Piñata Books • 2012 • 176 pages
ISBN: 978-1-55885-744-5
Trade Paperback ($9.95)
Ages 11 and up

Consisting of six tales, this collection of short stories uses contemporary settings to retell legendary Mexican folklore. Saldaña presents age-old legends such as La Llorona, wrapped in modern day, tween-friendly settings. Each narrative is easy to read and will help Mexican-American children relate to their family’s heritage. Children of other ethnicities will also find the stories interesting, and just the slightest bit spooky.

Read Related: Scary Tales or Fairy Tales?

In God’s Will Be Done (Si Diosito quiere), Cecilia recounts her recent quinceañera and looks forward to going into town to dance with her cousins and meet with the boy of her dreams—against her parents’ wishes. Cecilia and the girls take great care in preparing for the party, but when the big night arrives, Cecilia’s path is hindered by a series of scary events that include a menacing bull. Try as she might, Cecilia cannot break her parents’ wishes.

An interesting feature of this book is that one side is in English and the other in Spanish, so a child may simply flip back and forth to read in either language—or both! A great addition to any child’s collection, this book will be of special interest to parents and grandparents who wish to strengthen their children’s connection to their culture.

—Reviewed by Beth Rotella, Teacher, New York