Guest Blogger Lydia Breiseth is the manager of the bilingual English-Spanish website Colorín Colorado, whose mission is to provide educators and parents with information about teaching English language learners to read and succeed. Ms. Breiseth began her career teaching English to adults in Ecuador with the educational exchange program WorldTeach, and has subsequently taught English and Spanish in a variety of educational and family literacy programs to students of all ages. Prior to working at Colorín Colorado, Ms. Breiseth served as the Community Affairs Liaison at Telemundo Washington DC, managing outreach initiatives to the region’s Hispanic community.
From Durham to Salt Lake City, from Albuquerque to Ypsilanti, from Birmingham to Boulder, libraries around the country are getting ready for a celebration that is gaining popularity each year—El día de los niños/El día de los libros (The Day of the Book/The Day of the Child).
This year marks the 13th anniversary of a celebration founded by children’s author Pat Mora. The holiday is the American version of the traditional Mexican holiday El día de los niños. After Pat Mora took up the cause in 1997 to combine the focus on children with a strong focus on reading, the U.S. Congress officially designated April 30 as “Day of the Child” a year later.
Why has “Día” grown so much each year? It may have something to do with the increasing Latino population around the country. Communities that didn’t traditionally have a large Latino population now are making adjustments to respond to their new neighbors in all sectors of society, including schools and libraries. Día offers a wonderful opportunity to invite Spanish-speaking families to get to know the local public library and all of the programs and resources it has to offer – including growing collections of Spanish and bilingual books. It also exposes the rest of the community to the rich selection of bilingual children’s literature available, such as multicultural books written by Latino or Latina authors in addition to Spanish translations of children’s classics.
If you are looking for a Día celebration in your neighborhood or would like some ideas for Día activities, here are some great resources from Colorín Colorado, Pat Mora, and the Association for Library Service for Children:
- Colorín Colorado: Día Resources in English and Spanish (including a video interview with Pat Mora about Día)
- Pat Mora’s homepage, with ideas and information about Día
- Pat Mora’s blog, Bookjoy
- The Association for Library Service for Children (the official home of Día, offering an interactive map of national celebrations)
- The Official Día 2009 Brochure (PDF)
Have a wonderful time preparing for and enjoying Día – and when it’s over, remember that every day is a great day to celebrate children and reading in any language!