Sharing Bookjoy

November is the gratitude month although we try to be grateful regularly, right?

Illustration by John Parra from Gracias~Thanks

Illustration by John Parra from Gracias~Thanks.

Healthy eaters delight in telling us about delicious fruits and vegetables, sharing their good habit and recipes with others (with some occasional sweet treats).

Reading is an important skill. For many of us, reading is more than a skill. It’s a unique pleasure. Like you, I feel blessed to be a reader and to have delicious books in my home. Ardent readers can delight in sharing our gift of reading by sharing bookjoy.


November: National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month, and this year’s theme is “Teens Need Families, No Matter What.” Teenagers who have spent years in foster care need the commitment and care of a loving family to help them transition into adulthood with the foundation and support they may never have had. For tip sheets, resources, and info on how to spread the word, visit the Child Welfare website. #NAM2017 #adoption

Illustration by Cecily Lang from Pablo's Tree

Illustration by Cecily Lang from Pablo’s Tree, an adoption story.

The Remembering Day: November 2

I have so many wonderful memories of family and friends. Our lives are enriched by such memories whether we are children or adults.


The Remembering Day/El día de los muertos

The Remembering Day by Pat MoraIn this special bilingual picture book for children, Pat creates an origin myth in which she imagines how the Mexican custom of remembering deceased loved ones–El día de los muertos or the Day of the Dead–came to be. With tender illustrations by Robert Casilla that depict Bella and Mamá Alma’s loving relationship, this book will encourage children to honor loved ones, whether by writing stories and poems or creating their own remembering place.

Curriculum extensions:

  • Invite students to share stories about their relationship with a remembered loved one. Students can also share a photo or their own drawing.
  • Invite students to write a poem about a deceased family member or friend.
  • Invite students to bring photos or special objects of remembered loves ones and create a classroom, library or school display.
  • Plan a remembering day event at your school or library. You can include flowers, songs, favorite foods of loved ones, funny stories. Create a celebration of special people we have known.

Interior page from The Remembering Day/El dia de los muertos by Pat Mora Illustration by Robert Casilla from The Rememberi

October 20: NCTE Celebrates #WhyIWrite

The National Day on Writing, October 20, was founded by the National Council of Teachers of English on the premise that writing is critical to literacy but needs greater attention and celebration. For the past 9 years, NCTE has seen hundreds of thousands of people share their responses and engage in activities around the theme of #WhyIWrite.

ZING! Seven Creativity Practices for Educators & Students encourages teachers to help students develop as writers.

"Written as a series of seven letters to teachers, this useful, insightful and inviting book encourages teachers to rediscover their creative and artistic energy in order to become more impassioned educators."—REFORMA newsletter
ZING! Seven Creativity Practices for Educators & Students

Tomás in Tempe

Tomas and the Library LadyChildsplay Theatre Company will bring their production of Tomas and the Library Lady, based on Pat’s book, to the Tempe (AZ) Center for the Arts Oct. 21 through Nov. 12, 2017.

Tickets are on sale now at or at the Tempe Center for the Arts Box Office at 480.350.2822, ext. 2. The play is recommended for ages 5 and up. Tempe Center for the Arts is located at 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe, AZ 85281.

The 1 p.m. performance on Saturday, October 21 is a special $12 Storybook Preview performance, sponsored by The Steele Foundation. Each family that attends this General Admission preview performance will receive a free book!

Since Childsplay premiered the play in 2006, the show has embarked on four statewide tours and two national tours. The play will hit the road for a third national tour in the 2018-2019 season.

Dr. Tomás Rivera is a role model, a man who loved books, invested in his education, and inspired others including Pat to motivate our young people to be readers.

Congratulations to the 2017 Mora Award winners!

Mattawa Elementary School, in the Wahluke School District in Mattawa, Washington, has received the 2017 Estela and Raúl Mora Award, an honor given by Pat and her sister in partnership with First Book. The award recognizes literacy activities during the month of April in celebration of Children’s Day, Book Day; also known as El día de los niños, El día de los libros; or Día. Mattawa Elementary School will receive a $1,000 credit for brand new books from the First Book Marketplace, as well as a Mora Award plaque to be displayed in their school.

Mattawa’s Día event was open to the whole community and focused on drawing parents to the school library to see the collection of Spanish and bilingual books available to their children. “Circulation for these titles is low–we wanted children and parents to understand the importance of reading books together in both English and their heritage language,” Día; volunteer Tiffany Coulson said.
Mora Award winner Mattawa ElementaryThe after-school event was three hours long and included an authentic taco dinner, an outside bounce house, a soccer obstacle course where kids could earn prizes, dancing, a coloring station, Lotería (a game of chance similar to bingo), carnival games, and a raffle. The school library also held a book giveaway–if a student brought a parent or caregiver to the library and they read a book together, each child in the family could take home a free book! Read more about the event on the First Book blog.

There were also two Mora Award honor winners that will receive $500 in credit to the First Book Marketplace. Safford K-8 School in Tucson, Arizona, and John F. Kennedy Library in Vallejo, California were also recognized for their Día celebrations.

First Book received over 100 applications this year for the Mora Award–the highest number of submissions in the award’s 17-year history!

Young Pat and family

Pat’s parents, Estela and Raúl Mora, her sister Cissy and Pat

Pat Smith: A Blessing & a Texas Legend

Pat SmithAs far back as I can remember, Pat Smith has been warm and generous to me and a wonderful Children’s Day, Book Day (Día) supporter. She is the former Executive Director of the Texas Library Association (TLA), the largest state library association in the country, and is active in the American Library Association (ALA).

C reative and warm as a leader
R esponsive to change and issues
E xpansive in her thinking
A ffirming, helping all to succeed
Talented intellectually and strategically
 I nventive, leads with generosity and commitment
Versatile, curious & open
E xuberant, laughs easily and listens well