Coming on the heels of Hispanic Heritage Month, Purdue University Northwest (PNW) is proud to celebrate Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) by welcoming Coco junior novelization author Angela Cervantes for a two-day visit to its Hammond and Westville campuses to meet with PNW and Northwest Indiana students.

In addition, PNW’s Building Community Through the Arts program will host a Día de los Muertos celebration from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 2 in Alumni Hall at the Student Union and Library on the Hammond campus. The event is a blend of Mesoamerican ritual, European religion and Spanish culture that invites families to celebrate those they have lost through food, drink and music. The event is open to the public.

Angela Cervantes visit to Northwest Indiana

Cervantes is a celebrated children’s book author, having penned six books, including the derivative work accompanying the hit Pixar production Coco. The story follows Miguel, a young Mexican boy interested in music, who is transported to the Land of the Dead during the Día de los Muertos holiday. There he tries to unravel the mystery of his family’s forbiddance of music in their home.

Cervantes will visit PNW and Northwest Indiana Nov. 1 and Nov. 2, making visits to two Hammond elementary schools, meeting with PNW students in their classes and meeting with children from La Porte, Michigan City and Valparaiso schools.

Children’s book author Angela Cervantes will meet with several PNW student audiences, ranging from History to Spanish students. The itinerary for her visit follows:

November 1

  • PNW Campus-wide discussion — 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Alumni Hall, Hammond campus— Angela Cervantes presents on identity and how she develops her literary characters
  • Visit with “Hispanic Heritage of the U.S.” students — 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Classroom Office Building, Hammond campus — Angela Cervantes presents on identity and how she develops her literary characters

November 2

  • Engage with First Year Experience and Spanish students — 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Library-Student Faculty Building 002, Westville campus — Angela Cervantes reflects on her college experience before becoming an author and imparts career advice for college students
  • Meeting with La Porte, Michigan City and Valparaiso students — 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Dworkin Student Services and Activity Center Great Hall, Westville campus — Angela Cervantes speaks about Mexican heritage and how she became a children’s book author

Día de los Muertos celebration

During the Día de los Muertos celebration on Nov. 2,  Mariachi Estrellas de Chicago, a young adult mariachi band, will provide live music. Ballet Folklórico Yolotzin, an East Chicago dance organization, will deliver a brief history of ballet folklórico followed by a live performance featuring youth and adult dancers in traditional dress.

Families are invited to take part in various crafts and activities hosted by PNW’s student organizations.