April is a busy literacy month. I had the good fortune to attend the ever-exciting Texas Library Association (TLA) conference recently in Houston. It is so gratifying to hear the growing interest in serving Latino students and families. Even I’m amazed that 1 in 4 children under 5 is now Latino. Librarians made me smile with their interest in my BOOK FIESTA written specifically for Día. Though many librarians and teachers don’t speak Spanish and admit they feel a bit intimidated at trying another language, their desire to help their students helps them dive in, ask the students for help or invite older students, peers or families in to assist. So many librarians would say, “Oh I want my children to learn Spanish,” or “I want my grandbabies to learn Spanish.”
I soon leave for Detroit, Durham and Greensboro to participate in their Día celebrations. More than 385 libraries and schools have registered their Día events at www.ala.org/dia! A young reporter from Greensboro asked me the excellent question, ”What makes Día different other literacy celebrations?” Here’s my answer.
Since literacy is essential in our democracy, Día which means “day” in Spanish, is a call to action. Día emphasizes daily commitments to:
• the importance of children,
• linking all children to books, languages and cultures,
• the importance of children’s books that reflect our national diversity,
• and to parents and families as partners with libraries and schools in the literacy process of sharing bookjoy.
Día culminates in annual celebrations of these daily commitments across the country on or near April 30th, community book fiestas. 2009 is its 13th anniversary.
Enjoy sharing bookjoy! Pat