I am so grateful for Lydia Breiseth, manager of Colorín Colorado, who has been a loyal and creative Día supporter for years. She’s our only Dynamo who works in the world of media, and I’m hoping that she’ll teach us all. In your communities and nationally, how do we form lasting partnerships with those in the TV, radio, Web, and print media spheres who can be Día advocates? I finally had the pleasure of meeting Lydia last fall. She’ll soon post the interview that took place when we met. She’s fabulous!
I. When and how did you become interested in sharing bookjoy?
LB: I was an avid reader as a child, partly because I was the youngest in my family and had lots of people to read to me! Whenever my oldest sister arrived home from college, the first thing she would do was drop her bags on the floor and curl up with me to read on our green couch in the living room.
Now in my work at Colorín Colorado, I have the great privilege to recommend children’s books that reflect a wide variety of cultures and experiences.
2. How did you first learn about Día and what has been your experience with Día?
LB: I first learned of Día when I came to Colorín Colorado, and every year I track Día events around the country. It has been wonderful to see Día spread like wildfire as more communities look for ways to bring Latino families together around reading.
Día is great for all libraries because it gives educators and librarians who may be new to working with Latinos a model that can serve as a multicultural/multilingual bridge. It also encourages librarians to take a fresh look at their bilingual/Spanish-language books, resources, and literacy programs.
3.What are your hopes for Día 2011, Día’s15th Anniversary?
LB: I hope that it brings a renewed sense of focus to the importance of serving immigrant/bilingual families at the library. The library may be the most important – and only – link that our families have to their community and ESL classes, as well as to the importance of reading and sharing books.
4. What helpful tip(s) do you have for those organizing a Día event for the first time?
LB: The most successful Día events are those that embrace everyone and match the community and its needs! It’s ok to:
1) start small
2) ask community members for input
3) remember that not all Día events will look the same!
5.What is your favorite example of Bookjoy as either a child or an adult?
LB: When I was an ESL teacher in Ecuador, I decided that my intermediate adult students would read Charlotte’s Web. It was challenging with words like “trough” and “gosling!” My students treated me to a picnic shortly before I left Ecuador, and as we waited for the bus on our way, we saw an indigenous woman herding some geese and goslings down the street. One of my students looked at me and said with a grin, “Terrific, terrific, terrific!”
After all of our struggles with the book, it was so wonderful to know that the humor and joy of the story had still reached my students!
6. What are you reading now?
LB: I recently finished Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorensen, which won the 1957 Newbery Medal. Sorensen’s exquisite descriptions of Pennsylvania’s changing seasons and the magic of making maple syrup struck a chord with me since I helped with the sugaring at a farm camp in a similar setting where I grew up in Pennsylvania.
The book also captures the pain and confusion of a young girl coming to grips with the ways her father has changed after returning from war (World War II). Even though the book is more than 50 years old, her emotions and those of her family ring as true today as they ever have, and they may provide an important bridge for military families who are adjusting to big changes.