We have Mother's Day and Father's Day, but does your family celebrate Children's Day? Día de los Niños, Día de los Libros is celebrated every year on April 30. Schools, libraries and other groups across the country have scheduled events to celebrate this holiday throughout the month, while families attend the events or host their own.
The idea began 19 years ago during a radio interview when poet Pat Mora, pictured below, learned about Mexico's El día del Niño holiday. In fact, many countries have a holiday for celebrating children, including Japan, Bolivia, Brazil, Egypt and many more. Intrigued, Mora was inspired to merge the idea of celebrating children with the act of literacy, and the following year started a movement to celebrate Día de los Niños, Día de los Libros on April 30. Since then, she has championed the holiday everywhere she goes and has become the unofficial face of the celebration.
An important part of the initiative is celebrating diversity. And to raise children who can think globally and get along with everyone, we need to expose them to different people and cultures early on. Within the Latino culture alone, we are a diverse group of people with many traditions and even differences in languages. Reading books and attending events that celebrate culture and diversity are great ways to broaden your child's knowledge of the unique world we live in.
If you'd like to celebrate Children's Day/Book Day with your family, check out these five meaningful ways to do so:
1. Donate books
Do you have gently used books that you'd be willing to give to a child in need? Or do you have a discount or used bookstore in your area that sells gently used books at affordable prices? Schools, cultural centers, after-school programs, and family or women's shelters can always use story books for the children that pass through their doors. Bilingual preschools and immersion schools are especially good places to donate hard-to-find bilingual books. Or you can have a greater impact by purchasing and donating Spanish-language books to children who have crossed the border seeking asylum or those whose parents have been deported.
2. Volunteer to read aloud
Ask your local library or bookstore if they accept volunteers to read during a scheduled or impromptu story time. They sometimes don't offer these activities simply because they are short-staffed, so a volunteer reader is a treasure they can't refuse.
If you have children, why not have your child start a book club with their friends? Meet once or twice a month to discuss a new book and make it extra fun by including an activity related to the book or to reading, such as making your own bookmarks or binding your own books. Think outside the box and have all the kids read a kids' cookbook, then have everyone make and bring one of the recipes they've read about.
4. Find a Día event near you
The American Library Association has created an official Día de los Niños, Día de los Libros website. There, you can download free materials, print reading lists, and even find Día-related events in your area with their online event finder.
5. Follow the Día de los Niños, Día de los Libros blog hop
Each year, Latinas for Latino Lit pairs Latino authors and illustrators with some of the top Latina bloggers in support of Latino children's literacy. This year's theme is "immersion," and the authors are sharing their own personal stories and essays on the topic. You can support our children's literacy by following the L4LL Día Blog Hop, which runs April 27-30 and features three authors on three different blogs each day.
6. Have a read-in
Are you looking for something really simple that can have the greatest impact? Grab a book and your child and snuggle up on the couch to read together. Reading brings the world to your child and inspires his or her imagination. You can even take turns reading aloud and help boost your child's literacy skills. Our favorite book? The bilingual picture book "Book Fiesta!" by Día founder Pat Mora is our favorite story to read on Children's Day.