My family moved a lot and we moved right before my 16th birthday so I don’t recall ever having a sweet sixteen party. We had just moved a few weeks before my birthday and I didn’t know many people. Maybe that explains why I’m so excited about the 16th birthday of El dÃa de los niÃ±os/El dÃa de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day). I was there as this DÃa child was born and have been a loving aunt all of these years. What makes this birthday so sweet? So many exciting things are happening for the 16th birthday and DÃa has so many friends at the party!
Recently Pat Mora, DÃa’s founder, invited authors and illustrators to become DÃa Ambassadors. Check out the fabulous list at http://www.patmora.com/dia/dia_ambassadors.htm for some of the wonderful people who are adding their voices, in many languages, to DÃa. Books by people like George Ancona (¡Ole! flamenco), Jacqueline Jules (Zapato Power: Freddie Ramos Takes Off),
and Uma Krishnaswami (Chachaji’s Cup) provide fabulous books to use during Dia programming throughout the year. Throughout April to celebrate DÃa, these ambassadors will be blogging, tweeting, speaking, presenting, reading, and talking about Dia! Many will be reading their stories as part of the 2011 DÃapalooza (a month of DÃa posts) on Pat Mora’s blog, Bookjoy. These readings can be shared with children at your library. The first, by Margarita Engle reading from The Wild Book, can be viewed now with more to come throughout the month.
The DÃa Every Day concept is kicking into high gear with more and more schools and libraries including bilingual literacy into everyday, ongoing programs, storytimes, and displays. More school libraries are celebrating DÃa this year and have registered their programs on the ALSC map. (There is still time to add your celebration to the map!) ALSC has also released the newly updated DÃa brochure, and it is available in Spanish and Chinese versions. The DÃa booklist includes a wide range of great books, with some suggestions for books that are bilingual in a variety of languages. The celebration of languages is growing…and that is very sweet!