young hispanic girl reading a book

Pat Mora on Bookjoy

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Children’s Day, Book Day on April 30 — the kickoff of a year-long commitment to celebrate reading! First Book is excited to celebrate with author, Pat Mora, to share bookjoy and to help motivate children to read throughout the year.

We connected with author and reading advocate Pat Mora to learn more about the annual celebration and why she’s excited to celebrate 25 years of bookjoy.

young hispanic girl reading a book

Bookjoy in 1996

During a public radio interview, Pat Mora first learned about the Mexican tradition of El día del niño, the Day of the Child, and influenced by her personal parenting experience, created a day that fostered bookjoy for children. Her goal in creating Children’s Day, Book Day was to link a celebration of children with literacy, an issue central to the well-being of a child. During that public interview, staff at the University of Arizona in Tucson enthusiastically supported the idea of an annual celebration, and as you might guess, the rest is history.

Yes, the celebration has changed a little over the years — originally named El día de los niños, el día de los libros, but now known as Children’s Day, Book Day to be more inclusive of non-Spanish speaking children — but the goals remain the same. Inspire more children to read every day, celebrating bookjoy through book fiestas across the nation.

Bookjoy in 2021

25 years later, bookjoy looks the same but is now supported by even more schools, organizations, and communities —including First Book. We are always excited to share Children’s Day, Book Day and you can browse our recent Staff Picks to help you celebrate the day at home or in the classroom.

Book fiestas, however, do look a little different this year. Whichever way you choose to fiesta, you can start your celebration with a new reading of Book Fiesta, by Pat Mora herself and read her recent Q+A on this very special 25th Anniversary!

Connect with Pat on April 30

Our friends at NCTE are hosting an event with Pat on Friday, April 30, at 1:30 p.m. ET. This free virtual event is open to everyone and is designed to welcome full classrooms, as well as individuals of all ages.

All attendees will hear directly from Pat Mora live and it is an opportunity to celebrate bookjoy on Children’s Day, Book Day and to set bookjoy into motion long after the event.

More ways to spread bookjoy

April 30 is only the beginning of Children’s Day, Book Day and if you’re like us, you can continue the celebration all year long. Download this great flyer from Pat Mora to help you motivate, plan, promote, and share this special day with others in your community.


More Resources to Support Reading

Educators can join First Book’s network — the largest and fastest growing network of educators, schools, and programs serving children in need across the United States and Canada — to bring even more titles, free resources, and guides to your classroom.

image of an educator reading to two kids from a picture book. There is text that says, 'Matching Challenge: Be a Champion for Educators! Your gift by May 31 can go twice as far to provide new, high-quality books and other resources educators need to help students unlock their full potential.' There is a red button in the bottom, right corner that says, 'I'll give now'.