It is with greatest respect and much delight that we welcome award-winning author and poet, Pat Mora, as our blog hop’s first contributor. As Día’s founder, it seems only fitting that she launch this event. For a look at the complete blog hop schedule, click here.
Día’s First Blog Hop
by Pat Mora
What a special honor: beginning Día’s first blog hop! I sometimes think of Día as my fourth child, definitely the most challenging, and definitely hop-hop-hopping around our diverse country spreading bookjoy. Día’s history goes back to 1996 when at the University of Arizona, a radio interviewer from Mexico introduced me to the custom of celebrating El día del niño on April 30th. I loved the idea of a children’s day and felt confident that kids would too. Who doesn’t like a party—and treats?
My first children’s book, A Birthday Basket for Tía, had been published in 1992, and I’d quickly become aware that, as not all children are equally valued, all books aren’t either. I also discovered that, essential as it is for children to see their lives and families like theirs reflected in books, many book buyers were wary of difference, of books that reflect our national reality. I also knew what literacy challenges our country faces.
What if, I wondered? What if those of us who care deeply about children and literacy created a national, community-based initiative to celebrate children, nuestros niñas y niños queridos, and to celebrate books? My committed friends at REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library & Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking, became my first partner. REFORMA remains committed to Día and its members serve as judges for the Mora Award. Día, as in día por día, day by day, has grown to include linking all children to books, languages and cultures. It’s now housed at the Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association. ALSC produces materials to help promote Día and has an annual Día registry that reflects some of the many culminating April Día celebrations.
Research indicates how important it is for children to be active readers by third grade. Think of the technological world that they’ll inherit, and literacy is essential in a democracy. Those of us lucky enough to be readers can serve as coaches to those who may not have had our opportunities. On my blog during our Díapalooza, I’ll be posting some literacy tips and a small downloadable poster : “Growing a Nation of Readers: Creating a Bookjoy Family.”
My dream for Día? That April book fiestas become as rich a tradition as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day; that families, libraries, schools, youth organizations and communities honor kids, their cultures and languages & creatively share bookjoy with them. I’m so grateful to the wonderful authors and illustrators who are doing this.
Día strengthens communities, and hundreds of Día celebrations are planned for this year. Do explore if such events are planned at your local schools, libraries and community organizations. If they aren’t, with some friends, become active Día advocates. You’ll find many ideas and links on my site. In your unique way, foster the tradition in your family and champion it in your networks and organizations. Spread the Día word. Día needs your innovative ideas too.
Let’s all clap for Monica Olivera and Latinas for Latino Literature for creating this clever blog hop and their important blog. They’re a shining example of designing a clever way to expand Día’s reach and visibility. Gracias, gracias, Monica and Latinas for Latino Literature!
Pat Mora, born in El Paso, Texas, is an award-winning poet and author of books for adults, teens, and children. Her awards include a Poetry Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Golden Kite Award, American Library Association Notable Book Awards, and honorary doctorates. A former teacher and university administrator, she is the founder of the family literacy initiative El día de los niños, El día de los libros/Children’s Day, Book Day (Día). The year-long commitment to linking all children to books, languages and cultures, and of sharing what Pat calls “bookjoy,” culminates in celebrations across the country in April. Pat lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
L4LL has put together a wonderful collection of Latino children’s literature to be given to a school or public library. Many of the books were donated by the authors and illustrators participating in this blog hop. You can read a complete list of titles here on the L4LL website.
To enter your school library or local library in the giveaway, simply leave a comment below.
The deadline to enter is 11:59 EST, Monday, April 29th. The winner will be chosen using Random.org and announced on the L4LL website on April 30th, Día de los Niños, Día de los Libros. The winner will be contacted via email – so be sure to leave a valid email address in your comment! (If we have no way to contact you, we’ll have to choose someone else!)
By entering this giveaway, you agree to the Official Sweepstakes Rules. No purchase required. Void where prohibited.