Book Anniversary Celebrations in 2017

Apply for a 2017 Día Program Grant with an African American Focus

CSMCL logoDía Partner, The Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature (CSMCL), has opened the application process for their 2017 Día grant. Libraries who have a Children’s Day, Book Day/El día de los niños, El día de los libros program with an African American Focus are eligible to apply. The award consists of a $500 grant in selected multicultural children’s books for the winning library.

The application must be received by February 28, 2017. Applications are available on the CMSCL website. The award will be announced on or about March 1, 2017.

Enjoy a Poem from Borders

Northern Chihuahuan Desert"Mora confronts the clash of cultures in a courageous, tough tone that masks a gentle sensibility. What finally gives this book its healing power is the mesmerizing honesty of Mora’s celebration of herself as a woman, mother, lover."

The Bloomsbury Review


Desert Women
Desert women know
Fierce heat and cold
have burned and thickened
our skin. Like cactus
we’ve learned to hoard,
to sprout deep roots,
to seem asleep, yet wake
at the scent of softness
in the air, to hide
pain and loss by silence,
no branches wail
or whisper our sad songs
safe behind our thorns.

Don’t be deceived.
When we bloom, we stun.

©Pat Mora


January 6: The Feast of the Epiphany

I love words and epiphany (of Greek origin) is among my favorites. In a religious context, January 6 is the Feast of the Three Kings, the arrival of the Magi symbolizing that the Christ Child was revealed to the world. The tradition of making (or buying) a Three Kings’ Wreath or rosca de reyes inspired my book, The Bakery Lady: La señora de la panadería. The closeness of family is also a theme in this and a number of my books. I am blessed to have known such closeness in my own life.

As a writer, I love the notion that January 6th is a propitious day for beginning a new writing project. I am always hoping that an intriguing idea or approach will be revealed to me. Of course, I must sit still and listen.

Wishing you epiphanies in 2017.


Illustration by Pablo Torrecilla from The Bakery Lady.

Illustration by Pablo Torrecilla from The Bakery Lady.


I have been re-reading The Names of Things: Life, Language, and Beginnings in the Egyptian Desert. Susan Brind Morrow is a gifted writer. I’m a child of the desert, a major theme in my writing, so traveling to another desert is intensely interesting. I was intrigued by the words, “May God fill you with light.” The blessing is connected, of course, to my hopes for the New Year: May God fill you with light.

Visual designed by Freepik.

Visual courtesy of Freepik.

The Gift of the Poinsettia/El regalo de la flor de nochebuena

The Gift of the Poinsettia"This popular title introduces readers to a Mexican tradition and inspires them to think about gift-giving in a different way. The authors take children through each of the days of the posada (“inn”) tradition in which celebrants take figurines representing Mary and Joseph from one inn to another as they look for a place to rest. Carlos worries that he has no money to buy a special gift to offer the Christ Child, but his grandmother urges him to pick a flower along the way. This humble flower blossoms into a glorious poinsettia on Christmas Eve. An enjoyable selection for readers of any age."—Critcás

Classroom activities:

  • After learning about the origin of the name poinsettia, have students read about flower folklore and write a story based on their research or create a name for an imaginary flower and write and illustrate that story. The flower could, of course, be named after themselves or their friends which could lead to some interesting descriptions.
  • Humans enjoy celebrations. Have students study celebrations around the globe and share a holiday celebration important to their family.
  • Students can learn about legends and either re-tell a legend, particularly one native to their area or place of birth, or create their own legends.

A Piñata in a Pine Tree: A Latino Twelve Days of Christma

A Pinata in a Pine Tree"In trading a partridge for a piñata and intertwining English and Spanish, Mora has created not only a fun adaptation of a classic Christmas carol but also an introduction to many elements of holiday celebrations for families across the U.S. and Latin America … The illustrator is the sister of Belpré Award-winning illustrator Yuyi Morales, and these acrylic paintings share a similar colorful and vibrant style as they integrate words, numbers, Spanish pronunciations, joy, and excitement throughout each full page spread."—Booklist

In this video provided by WETV’s ¡Colorín Colorado!, Pat describes the way she blends different cultures in the book.