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.
Several publishers are supporting Dia in different ways through resources and promotions. Their efforts help broaden the awareness of Dia, not only as a day of festivity but as a year long celebration of bookjoy.
A poster featuring the cover of the Spanish language edition of Kevin Henkes’ Lilly’s Big Day (El gran día de Lily) was available from HarperCollins/Rayo.
Peachtree Publishers passed out Dia posters at conferences.
Random House has produced a resource guide packed with activities, program ideas, and reproducible bookmarks.
Simon and Schuster offers complementary Dora the Explorer postcards.
Posters have been passed out from Starbright Books.
Tricycle Press has a colorful poster featuring What Can You Do With a Rebozo?
posted by lc for Pat Mora