Children’s Day/Book Day. For those of us serving children in libraries, that’s every day. We know first-hand the power of the right book at the right time in the hands of a child. We know that reading changes lives. We just need to keep reminding everyone else!
Luckily, we have Día to help us. El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day) is one of those robust, flexible campaigns that provides resources without prescribing activities. I first learned about Día shortly after ALSC became the home for Día in 2007. I had begun service on theALSCBoard and was asked to be the Board liaison to the committee developing Día.
It was – and is – an exciting project to learn about. Día grew out of Children’s Day, a concept instituted throughout the world in 1925 with the goal of bringing attention to the importance and well-being of children. Author Pat Mora revived the concept in the U.S., and carried it a crucial step further, linking children’s well-being to books and literacy.
While it is commonly referred to by its Spanish name, our Children’s Day/Book Day is a celebration emphasizing the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Do you have a strong Russian community in your city? Celebrate Children’s Day/Book Day with a Russian flair. (There’s a Día booklist in Russian – and booklists in 8 other languages too.) How about Vietnamese, Afghan, or French culture? TheALSC Día site has resources. Although April 30 is the day many celebrations happen, Children’s Day/Book Day can happen on any day or on multiple days, at any time of year.
I’ve always maintained that we do storytimes on themes primarily because it makes our planning easier. El día de los niños/El día de los libros is a perfect opporunity to plan a community celebration of reading with a theme – and resources – already in place. Why not use it? And be part of persuading the world of what we know to our core – that books and reading change children’s lives.