The heart of annual Día celebrations is promoting literacy and bookjoy. Organizers often schedule puppet shows, storytellers including bilingual storytellers, author and illustrator presentations, student performances based on books, and, of course, book give-aways. Many Día celebrations also include food, music, crafts and games. I’m particularly excited when books are part of at least some of the crafts and games—making book covers or a book-related craft, book bingo or lotería, book walk instead of a cake walk. Since all of us committed to Día want to know what others are doing, on this blog I’d like to collect many Creative Día Ideas, maybe 100.In 50 words or less, please send us some of the creative ideas that help make your Día a success, one idea per numbered item. Including your contact information is optional. I’ll start the list:
1. In areas where children may not have book cases, secure small, sturdy cardboard boxes and have materials so that children and their families can decorate their book boxes. This creates a good opportunity for stressing the importance of family reading and of having a special place for books including library books.
Across this country in April ’08, librarians, teachers, parents and their communities are celebrating Día. This weekend I’m participating in four library events in Riverside, CA. Last week, I enjoyed participating in great library events in the beautiful Northwest. Thanks to the staff at Seattle Public Library and Multnomah County Library (Portland area), I spoke to many students and their teachers and also participated in Día events. I enjoyed seeing diverse families listening to Mariachi music, nibbling on fresh fruit, listening to story tellers, making hats and maracas.
I’m so grateful to all the dedicated adults and young people who are working hard to share bookjoy in fun and creative ways, who are linking all our children and their families to books, languages and cultures this month and every month. Gracias, gracias!
I meet wonderful people not only in person as I travel around the country, but also through correspondence. One woman I’ve met through snail mail is Gabriela Ruiz Monsalvo. Some years back, Gaby wrote me from Pine Bluffs, Wyoming, to say how excited she was about the concept of El día de los niños/El día de los libros, Children’s Day/Book Day. Originally from Mexico, Gaby was familiar with school celebrations in Mexico of El día del niño on April 30th. She liked linking the celebration of children, Kids’ Day, to a celebration of connecting all children to books, languages and cultures. Like many others, year after year, she worked where she and her family live to promote and support Día celebrations. Gaby cheerfully brought Día to the Pine Bluffs daycare center, Head Start Program, the elementary school and the county library. Year after year, Gaby sent me photos of the celebrations in Pine Bluffs. This January, Gaby mailed me a big surprise. Gaby had written her own Día book! What an idea to share. The title of her book , is, “. . . and when is Children’s Day? . . . y ¿cuándo es el Día de los Niños?” The book, assembled in a notebook, is illustrated with wonderful photos of Gaby’s cute children, their friends and of the Pine Bluffs 2007 Día celebration at the high school that included dancers and children in costumes. Gaby’s book even includes a U.S. map that shows which states celebrate Día. Gaby thanks many who helped her at the end of her fine book, and I thank her for all her hard work and for my present. I asked Gaby if I could share her good bookjoy sharing idea, and she graciously agreed.
Día Idea: Children or families can create their own Día book using photographs, drawings, paintings, etc.
I always stress that Día is a daily commitment to link children and books and can be celebrated at home, school, the public library, etc. Across the country, annual culminating celebrations are held April 30th or a convenient date for your own community. Día creates community partnerships; Día strengthens communities.
This past February, I had the opportunity to return to the beautiful Northwest, specifically, to Lacey, Washington. Was I impressed by their community-wide literacy celebration! Here’s how they describe it: Lacey Loves to Read (LLTR) is a successful “one city, one author” community partnership that began in 2004 with award-winning Hispanic author Gary Soto. Three key community partners — the City of Lacey, Lacey Timberland Library and the North Thurston Public Schools — collaborate on marketing, fundraising and event planning. It is a year-round planning process that culminates with the author visit in late February. Leading up to that, the community is encouraged to read selected works by one author and discuss them with fellow students, colleagues, family and friends. School and community librarians are active in promoting this event, along with various business sponsors and the media. Events include a student bookmark contest each fall, which gets people excited and familiar with the author. One year we had more than 1,600 entries! February events include community access nights at school libraries, a poetry/book reading of the author’s work at a local coffee shop, student workshops with the author, an educator’s coffee with the author and a community reception and VIP dinner with the author. Each year we estimate this program touches more than 10,000 people on a lean budget of about $32,000 (both cash and in-kind sponsorships). This does not include the countless hours of staff time dedicated to this event. Efforts have paid off in kudos from every author that has visited, including Soto, Jane Yolen, Walter Dean Myers, Naomi Shihab Nye and in 2008 — Pat Mora! We focus on authors who will appeal to readers of all ages. Consequently, these are also often authors of diversity! For more information visit our website.