Día 2009 North Carolina Surprises


On April 30th this year, I visited Forest View Elementary School in Durham, North Carolina. Second graders had prepared a surprise for me and their school mates. From memory, those cute students recited Book Fiesta: Celebrate Children’s Day/Book Day, Celebremos El día de los niños/El día de los libros in English and Spanish. As I sat and listened, I thought about Día’s goals of connecting children to books, languages and cultures. What a way to start the day! The audience and I clapped and clapped as we did for another class that had memorized haiku from ¡Yum! ¡MmMm! ¡Qué rico! I told the students that they were smarter than I was since I would have needed to look at the books to recite the poems. The art teacher had worked with her classes to create wonderful murals inspired by the two books.

I also had the pleasure of watching an impressive and energetic young librarian at the Durham County Library share my book The Race of Toad and Deer. That afternoon, the library surprised me with a trio playing Latin music in the library entry way before I spoke. I particularly enjoyed watching a librarian check in books to the rhythm of the music.

In Greensboro NC, I visited three schools to read and talk about Día and gave a reading for adults that evening at the Greensboro Public Library. It was wonderful to see students at Jones Spanish Immersion Magnet Elementary School excited about learning Spanish and to visit a school for newcomers, students working hard to make sense of their new country.

Every high school in Greensboro has a poet laureate. Isn’t that a great idea? I met with this diverse and talented group of young people for a poetry workshop and then attended a city-wide Día celebration, attended by about 2,000, that was combined with an arts event called Artbeat.

At North Carolina State University in Raleigh, I was fortunate to again speak to students graduating from the Elementary Education program. Warm congratulations to all graduates particularly those planning to work with young people. You are so needed!


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