July 26 is National Aunt and Uncle’s Day

My books A Birthday Basket for Tía and I Pledge Allegiance star my beloved aunt, whom we called, Lobo, who was like a second maternal grandmother. I’ve also written about her in my poetry collections for adults. All my special aunts and my uncle appear in my family memoir House of Houses.

A Birthday Basket for Tía
Cecilia has many happy memories of special times with her great-aunt, her Tía, baking cookies, having tea, or playing outside. So what can she give her on this truly special occasion, Tía’s ninetieth birthday?
A Birthday Basket for Tia

I Pledge Allegiance
Libby’s great aunt, Lobo, is from Mexico, but the United States has been her home for many years, and she wants to become a U.S. citizen. At the end of the week, Lobo will say The Pledge of Allegiance at a special ceremony. Libby is also learning The Pledge this week, at school—at the end of the week, she will stand up in front of everyone and lead the class in The Pledge. Libby and Lobo practice together—asking questions and sharing stories and memories—until they both stand tall and proud, with their hands over their hearts.
I Pledge Allegiance by Pat Mora and Libby Martinez

Introducing Pat’s Newest Book of Poetry for Children: Bookjoy, Wordjoy

On July 10, Lee and Low Books will publish Pat’s fourth children’s poetry collection, Bookjoy, Wordjoy, illustrated by Raul Colón.

In a starred review, Booklist called it “a marvelous collection of poems that extol the fun, adventure, and emotion that come with using one’s words…A joyous invitation to put pen (or paintbrush) to paper.” School Library Journal said “Mora’s love for language and wordplay is infectious; rhyme, alliteration, and onomatopoeia all make their way into the poems and will ensure lively group reading.”

Here’s hoping that Bookjoy, Wordjoy will find a place in your homes, libraries and schools!

Happy 4th of July!

How blessed we are to live in this country. My daughter, Libby Martinez, a writer and lawyer, and I thoroughly enjoy writing children’s books together. We and our family have such warm memories of the aunt, Ignacia Delgado, who inspired I Pledge Allegiance. She called us her “lobitos,” her little wolves, and we all called her Lobo, our mother wolf. How she gave us treats and protected us and prayed for us. What an example!

My grandparents all came to this country from Mexico as did my dad when he was a little boy. None of my grandparents spoke English, but Lobo became totally bilingual. I feel so fortunate to be bilingual too.

This is a complex and challenging time when as a wealthy nation, we think and work together to uphold the ideals that make the United States great, to have policies that respect those who wish to come here.

Why Does Cultural Diversity Matter?

The UN General Assembly designates May 21 as World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. Their website says “Bridging the gap between cultures is urgent and necessary for peace, stability and development.” The mission of Children’s Day, Book Day (Día) aligns: “a year-long commitment to celebrating all our children and to motivating them and their families to be readers, essential in our democracy.”

Join the collaboration of national and state library and literacy organizations, educators, presses and readers creatively striving to share bookjoy and its importance!

Summer Reading for Children and Families

Although many libraries and schools hold culminating Children’s Day, Book Day (Día) celebrations in April, Día stands for our daily commitment to celebrating all our children and to motivating them and their families to be readers, essential in our democracy. May and June offer an opportunity for Día partners to plan Summer Reading programs for families and children. Programs like the Collaborative Summer Reading Program (flyer pictured below) and iRead provide resources to help institutions celebrate.