Children’s Day, Book Day (El día de los niño, el día de los libro), called Día for short, is a celebration of kids, diversity, and the joy of reading. The name Día, meaning day in Spanish, serves as a reminder to help children love books every day of the year, but Children’s Day, Book Day is officially celebrated on or around April 30. Typically, Día festivals are at libraries, bookstores, parks, and classrooms with piñatas, crafts, games, food, and—of course—books. Pat Mora, the founder of Día, has a myriad of helpful tips and downloadables on her websitefor teachers and librarians to host celebrations that teach, inspire, and excite children of all ages and backgrounds. But what can we do to celebrate Día as writers and illustrators?
Become an ambassador in your community. See if your local school, library, bookstore, or youth group hold Children’s Day, Book Day celebrations in which you can involve yourself—and if not, reach out to those organizations to see if you can help start one. Though it requires work and planning, joining in a festival is rewarding: Pat Mora recalls one experience at the Oregon Public Library where “the children’s section had been transformed with piñatas, and children and families enjoyed literacy games and refreshments, including a book walk.
“It’s thrilling to see diverse families enjoying bookjoy together,” says Mora. The goal of Día is to show that the thrill of reading is for everyone, regardless of age, race, gender, or culture. And that is why it is a daily commitment: while having a one-day celebration is a wonderful time and teaching opportunity, it is not enough to only focus our efforts on that one day. “As we continue to strive to do our best work, we can challenge ourselves to explore new frontiers on the page,” suggests Mora.
Another key to a successful Día program is involving parents. Parents are a child’s first and best teacher, and their involvement and support are key to helping children develop a love of reading. But how can we involve parents in our programs, especially if those parents might speak a language with which we’re unfamiliar? Meg Medina, Newbery Award-winning author of Merci Suárez Changes Gears, says to “try to plan an event with the most hands-on and engaging content for both parents and kids. Maybe it’s a supercharged bilingual story time, where the parents and children have roles. Maybe it’s a craft based on some of the books you select that they have to accomplish together.
“And of course,” adds Medina, “share your success on social media to help spread the enthusiasm.” Social media platforms are a wonderful way to spread the word about Día, even if you are unable to partner with a local organization. Using the hashtag #dia, make the most of your platform as an author or illustrator to reach out to your publisher, your readers, and your community to advocate bookjoy for all children.
Learn more about Children’s Day, Book Day with these amazing resources:
First Book: https://firstbook.org/celebratedia/