Today’s guest blog post is by Pat Mora, award-winning author and founder of El día le los niños, El día de los libros/Children’s Day, Book Day.
All the books Pat recommends are available at deeply discounted prices on the First Book Marketplace to educators and programs serving children in need.
A lifetime of reading teaches us the pleasure and power of books, and that literature at all levels and from all cultures can not only teach us but humanize us.
Through the writings of others we can share the experiences of a Midwest family on a farm years ago, the fear of a Jewish family during the Holocaust or the internment terror of Japanese families here during World War II. As readers, we can share in the triumph of a black family or an Egyptian family that writes a play about its history or traditions. By reading writers from the diverse cultures that are part of our United States, children learn new songs, celebrations, folk tales and stories with a cultural context.
This is what El día de los niños, El día de los libros/Children’s Day, Book Day is all about – implementing creative literacy strategies using diverse books and planning Día book fiestas for all children, from all cultures, in all languages. High-quality children’s books that reflect our rich plurality are able to reveal the many ways we are all alike as well as the ways we are all different.
Another major element in Día is honoring. Do we connect our literacy goals and efforts with really honoring each child and honoring home languages and cultures? Once honoring culture becomes a priority, creative and dedicated staff and families can propose and share ideas. Teachers and parents can create a sense of “bookjoy” with stories, games, literacy crafts and read-alouds. Coaching parents who did not have diverse literacy experiences growing up is of particular importance; whether a family is Spanish- speaking, English-speaking, Chinese-speaking, etc., we need to invest in respectfully and innovatively coaching multilingual families to join us in sharing a love of books.
Today, twenty-five percent of our children live in poverty – including one-third of black and Hispanic children. By 2018, children of color will be the majority in the U.S. What can we do to serve them and their families well? Celebrating Día and creatively championing the importance of literacy for children from all backgrounds is one way to start. Here’s to becoming a reading nation!
Here are 4 titles that can help you spread “bookjoy” and celebrate El día de los niños, El Día de los libros/Children’s Day, Book Day with children in your community! Sign up with First Book to access these and other great titles on the First Book Marketplace.
You can learn more about Pat Mora and El día de los niños, El Día de los libros/Children’s Day, Book Day on Pat’s website.