December 25, 2008

Voces, a new blog

Dear fellow book lovers,

Greetings from cold Santa Fe. Yes, temperatures can get much too cold in the high desert. The hills outside my window dusted with snow are beautiful though.

I am so excited that my friend, Adriana Dominguez, an expert on Latino children’s books, a talented translator, and the wonderful editor of my new bilingual book, Book Fiesta! Celebrate Children’s Day/Book Day, Celebremos El día de los niños/El día de los libros illustrated by Rafael López is launching a new blog for and about Latino authors and their books. Adriana is knowledgeable, committed and enthusiastic. She has been a Día fan since she first heard about the family literacy concept. Visit this wonderful resource

Wishing you good holidays, a Happy New Year and a year of savoring and sharing bookjoy,


December 17, 2008

Críticas Interview with Rose Treviño

You can read an excellent interview with the remarkable Rose Treviño in Críticas,"Serving Spanish-Language Patrons -- A Q & A with Rose Treviño." Rose is the Youth Services Coordinator for the Houston Public Library, a library system that serves one of the biggest Spanish-speaking populations in the country. She is a passionate advocate for Latino children's literature and library services to Latinos.
Here's what she has to say about her new book:
You edited The Pura Belpré Awards: Celebrating Latino Authors and Illustrators (ALA Editions, 2006). What motivated you to create this wonderful resource for libraries and educators?

This was actually an invitation made to me by the staff at ALSC. I was immediately excited about the possibility, and knew that with the right team in place, the book could certainly be written. The book would not have been what it is without the help of Oralia Garza de Cortés, Sandra Balderrama, Ana-Elba Pavón, and Jean Hatfield. Having Oralia and Sandra on the team provided us with the award’s vision, background, and history. Ana and Jean brought their experience of working on the award committee and the promotional efforts they put together in their communities.

December 11, 2008

Bilingual Holiday Titles

Looking for bilingual holiday titles that celebrate Latino culture? Pat has two backlist titles that are wonderful for gifts or use for holiday programming in libraries or bookstores.
Gift of the Poinsettia/ El regalo de la flor de nochebuena , written by Pat Mora with Charles Ramírez Berg and illustrated by Daniel Lechon, "introduces readers to Mexican traditions and inspires them to think about gift-giving in a different way. The authors take children through each of the days of the posada ("inn") celebration, in which celebrants take figurines representing the Virgin Mary and Joseph from one inn to another as they look for a place to rest. Carlos worries that he has no money to buy a special gift to offer the Christ child, but his grandmother urges him to pick a flower along the way. This humble flower blossoms into a glorious poinsettia on Christmas Eve. An enjoyable selection for readers of any age." Criticas

In the colorful picture book, The Bakery Lady/La señora de la panadería written by Pat Mora and illustrated by Pablo Torrecilla, Mónica yearns to be a baker like her grand-parents. Her first real test comes as she and her be- loved grandparents prepare for the coming celebration of January sixth, Feast of the Three Kings, el Día de los Reyes Magos. When Mónica finds the traditional baby figure in the round bread ring that shines with cherries and pecans, the rosca de reyes, it becomes her responsibility to plan the celebration: invitations, decorations, and most important of all, the lemon cookies that Mónica will bake especially for her family and friends. And although she wants to do it all herself, she discovers that the love and help of family can make any job a joy.
Click here for a recipe for delicious rosca de reyes. Enjoy!

New 2009 Día Brochure

The latest ALSC newsletter shared this news:
ALSC is revising its El día de los niños/El día de los libros Children's Day/Book Day) bilingual brochure. The updated material will feature newrecommended book titles and resource Web sites, as well as an eye-catching
new design. Print copies of the brochure will be available right after the ALA Midwinter Meeting in January by signing up on the Día Web site; click on Día Celebrations. A PDF version of the brochure will be available to download free of charge at

December 10, 2008

Our World of Books

I’m excited to have agreed to serve on the USBBY Board. I have always admired the history and work of this organization which is the United States section of IBBY, the International Board on Books for Young People. Just recently, Betsy Bird of Fuse#8 fame, interviewed the President-elect of USBBY,John Mason, Scholastic's Director of Library and Educational Marketing. It's a great interview with lots of information including how members can be involved with various book committees like the Hans Christian Andersen Awards.

Tempted to join? A brochure and membership form is right here.

December 1, 2008

Busy Holidays

EEK! Are we all feeling: how can it be December, 2008? I hope that you enjoyed a happy weekend with family and friends. I am so grateful for the pleasure I find in being a writer and speaker. Next year at this time, two new picture books will be out: Gracias/Thanks (a boy reflecting on what he’s grateful for), illustrated by John Parra, and then Piñata in a Pine Tree: A Latino Christmas (a Latino version of the popular “Twelve Days of Christmas,”) by first-time illustrator Magaly Morales. Both illustrators are new for me, and I’m excited about their work. Grateful too.

Sorry to have been so silent. I’ve been finishing a book of teen love poems due out for Valentine’s Day 2010, enduring a kitchen renovation :0, and I spoke at NCTE on, “Our Community: Creative, Connected, Committed.” Inspiring attendees.

My wonderful web managers, Bobbie Combs and Laurina Cashin, nudged me to start this blog because they knew I wanted to promote excitement about sharing bookjoy. I share bookjoy at this time of the year by giving books, of course, and trying to find the right book for the recipient. How do you share bookjoy as holiday sounds and thoughts of the coming year swirl in the air?

Wishing you happy holidays,


November 12, 2008

Making Books

Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord's website, Making Books with Children, is a fantastic resource for parents, teachers, librarians and anyone seeking ideas for fun, creative projects to make with kids. I've been receiving her e-newsletter, Making Books Monthly, for over a year now and I love its hands-on flavor. (You can easily sign up for the newsletter via a quick link on the site's homepage.)Susan stresses the use of accessible materials and her directions are straight-forward. Recently she shared how to make a Sticker Poem Book using a brown paper bag, the plastic hanger piece from a pair of socks, and stickers!

November 5, 2008

Election History

November 4, 2008 was the historical culmination of a historical election. What some of us have known for years was said often last night: the face of America is changing. We each have different talents, networks and styles. May we work together, with renewed vigor, to insure that the children’s books of our country will soon reflect the beauty and diversity of America’s children. Día is part of that work.

October 14, 2008

Recent Library Visits

Greetings from Cincinnati, Ohio. The Américas Award ceremony on October 4 in DC was a lovely event. I’m particularly grateful to Julie Kline from CLASP at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the award coordinator, as well as to the award committee and the Library of Congress. It was wonderful to listen to YUM’s illustrator, Rafael Lopez, speak. The children with me in the photo above are Talbot de St. Aubin and Andy Kline (the boy.)

After a day of enjoying DC museums, I then flew to Flint, Michigan where I was royally treated by Janet Trosino and the rest of the staff at the Flint Public Library. Some of the middle and high school teachers asked their students who wanted to attend my presentation to write a page about their interest. The library had sent copies of my books to these schools and to the elementary schools that also attended a presentation. What a pleasure to be with students who were prepared, well-behaved and interested. My deep thanks to Flint teachers and librarians.

In front of a home on Paxton Avenue here in Cincinnati, I saw this cute Halloween scene today, a circle of little ghosts holding hands. It made me think of one of my fall books, Join Hands. I smiled at a recent review that said that another of my fall books, Abuelos, though set in December, lends itself to sharing at this Halloween season because of the costumes and suspense.

Wishing you autumn bookjoy.

September 18, 2008

Books for Your Día Celebration

It's natural to have book giveaways at your Día and Bookjoy celebrations. First Book , a 2008 Día partner, can help provide books at other times of the year too, as the organization is doing for the South Carolina Department of Education, by supplying 300,000 new, free children's books for the 2008 Back to School Book Donation. There are certain eligibility requirements; an entity must: (1) serve children where at least 50% are from low-income households, (2) be a Title I or Title I-eligible school, or (3) be a military family support program. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO

September 16, 2008

Program and Book Ideas for Hispanic Heritage Month

Last week on ALSC-L, librarians were posting ideas about Hispanic Heritage Month. It's satisfying reading the various posts that encourage taking advantage of the resources available for Día de los Ninos/Día de los Libros when looking for programming ideas or relevant bibliographies because it reinforces that Día is not a one-day event. Día is our opportunity to link all children to books, languages and cultures every day -- let's celebrate Día all year long!

Here are some links to check out:
Texas Library Association --
ALSC list "Growing Up Latino in the USA"
Jamie Naidoo's webjunction powerpoint and resources related to planning services and selecting materials for and about Latino Youth. Available at:

September 14, 2008

Hispanic Heritage Month

For many, September now means Hispanic Heritage Month which begins tomorrow and is celebrated from September 15 – October 15. It’s easy to forget that in September 1968, Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim the first National Hispanic Heritage Week, an observance that was expanded in 1988 to a month-long celebration. Why begin a celebration mid-month? President Johnson was from Texas and grateful to the Mexican-American population that had supported him, and Mexico celebrates its independence from Spain on September 16. Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Chile also celebrate their independence between Sept. 15 – Oct. 15.

Too often, as we know, celebrations = commercialization so companies use the events to sell their products. Educational publishers can do this too, and I know people can feel cynical about this. Latinos constitute 14% of the U.S. population. Of course, I wish that their voices and contributions were appropriately represented in our history, publishing, universities, sciences, and government, but we have a long way to go. In spite of our national rhetoric (and rhetoric is in season this fall), many in our communities still doubt the full worth of their fellow Latino community members. I see and hear this as I listen and observe Latino children, graduate students and professionals not to mention those Latinos daily facing the challenges of limited economic resources.

Do I wish we didn’t need celebrations like Hispanic Heritage Month and El /El dia de los libros, Children's Day/Book Day, that Latinos and Asian, Black, Native and Arab Americans were fully incorporated into our national fabric? Sure, but in 2008 I still think we need to make special efforts to promote pride in home languages and cultures. ¡Qué vivan las culturas! May cultures thrive! Let’s share and enjoy books by Latinos during Hispanic Heritage Month and all year long.

August 27, 2008

Our New Logo!

Isn't the logo above beautiful? I'm so grateful to talented Julie Paschkis for allowing us to use her work. Gracias, Julie. Savor her many talents at I'm also grateful to my friends at The Seattle Public Library who showed me the work Julie had created for Seattle's 2007 Summer Reading Program.

I like the way these two girls are connected as they read. That's such a deep wish for a writer, connecting with those I may never meet and hoping my book can connect others: sisters to sisters, friends to friends, teachers to students, librarians to patrons, parents to children, etc.

Information about me and my books is available on my web site which we recently updated. This blog, though, is for creating a community of bookjoy sharers. Are you one? Do you love to read and enjoy talking about books? With whom do you do this and how?

Fall is in the air here in Santa Fe. It's my favorite season in this high desert country. I'm finishing a manuscript and gearing up to start a new one.

What do you, my fellow book lovers, look forward to this fall?

Wishing you peace and good health.

June 24, 2008

Off To ALA in Anaheim

Finally, huge, wonderful clouds in the blue Santa Fe sky. We’re all hoping for rain. Hot summer days here remind me of even hotter days in El Paso. When I was a little girl, my sister Cissy and I liked the Summer Reading Club and afternoons when we’d stretch out and enjoy our books. That’s the quiet pleasure—the bookjoy—I want for all young people.
I look forward to seeing old friends next week in Anaheim. It’s always a particular pleasure to meet or re-connect with librarians who are ardent Día supporters. Last January, when I opened the envelope notifying me that I’d be receiving an Honorary ALA Membership this June, I was, quite frankly, amazed. I feel very humbled by this totally unexpected honor and am deeply grateful to the Texas librarians who nominated me. This recognition, like all honors, makes me want to work not only harder but more strategically with my partners to link all children to books, languages and cultures.
Today is the summer solstice, the “longest” day of the year. Since I’m solar-powered, this should be a productive day. I’m off to make a Tres Leches Cake and wish I could invite you all over for a piece.
Wishing you a summer that includes time to reflect on the question: am I creating a life I love?
(written on June 21, 2008)

June 1, 2008

Pura Belpré Awards News

ALSC and REFORMA recently announced two pieces of exciting news about the Pura Belpré Awards. First, they will now be presented every year instead of every other year, a good sign that there are more books published now that can be considered for the award than when the award was first established in 1996.
Second, to raise funds to support the award Celebración, REFORMA is holding a fabulous raffle in which you can win a piece of original art from The Storyteller's Candle/La velita de los cuentos (Children's Book Press, 2008), a new picture book biography of Pura Belpré by Lucía González, illustrated by Lulu Delacre. Raffle tickets are just $10.00 and will be available at the ALA conference in Anaheim.

May 27, 2008

Thanks Teachers & Librarians!

Where do the weeks go? Tomorrow I leave (again) to Chicago Public Library’s Kraft Great Kids Family Night. Families who have been reading my books (thanks to wonderful Chicago librarians) will be bussed to an evening reading. Every child who attends will receive a signed copy of one of my books thanks to the Library’s efforts. I also get to chat with Chicago Public Library’s children’s librarians. Such occasions are always a treat for me.
In the future, I’ll say more about the Día celebrations I was privileged to attend in ’08. I’m so grateful to everyone around the country who took part or supported Día events that honored children, all our children, and that promoted literacy. ¡Gracias, gracias!
A week ago I received an Honorary Doctorate at North Carolina State University. That afternoon, I spoke to the first graduating class of elementary education majors. It’s always difficult to convey to teachers and librarians what a significant role they play. Congratulations to all you teachers and librarians out there. You are so important!
(posted by Laurina for Pat)

April 28, 2008

Día at the Senate!

Early tomorrow I leave for the ALA Día event in one of the U.S. Senate
chambers. Won't the attending school children be excited? Me too!

I remain amazed at how Día keeps growing throughout the month of April and even into May. Although April 30th has been the traditional celebration date these past twelve years, what is important is that communities hold annual spring celebrations of their daily commitment to link all children and families to books, languages and cultures. Partnerships with schools,parents, local organizations, book stores, funders and the media strengthenthe celebrations--and the community too.

I've learned a great deal from the Día events I participated in--Seattle,Portland, and Riverside, Ca. I'll be sharing what I'm learning on my web site soon.

Deep thanks to all of you who enrich Día events with your talents and creativity.

Stars, Flowers and More!

Earlier this month, Multnomah County Library in Oregon held Dia events that included stories, dancing and music and crafts. Here are some photos:

Last Minute Ideas

It's not too late too late to celebrate Día on April 30. Companion sites, Reading Rockets and Colorín Colorado have activities and resources devoted to Dia. Send an e-card, download fun activity sheets, review recommended booklists and read what some libraries are doing to celebrate.

April 22, 2008

Border Book Festival

I just read about an exciting book festival that happened over the past weekend in Mesilla New Mexico, the 14th Border Book Festival. With a children’s storytelling tent, a Book and Pet Parade, author visits at schools the previous week, as well as many other events for children, adults and families, it sounded like a Bookjoy! event to me! Thanks to the Paper Tigers blog for the link.

April 21, 2008

Please Send Us Your Creative Día Ideas!

The heart of annual Día celebrations is promoting literacy and bookjoy. Organizers often schedule puppet shows, storytellers including bilingual storytellers, author and illustrator presentations, student performances based on books, and, of course, book give-aways. Many Día celebrations also include food, music, crafts and games. I’m particularly excited when books are part of at least some of the crafts and games—making book covers or a book-related craft, book bingo or lotería, book walk instead of a cake walk. Since all of us committed to Día want to know what others are doing, on this blog I’d like to collect many Creative Día Ideas, maybe 100.In 50 words or less, please send us some of the creative ideas that help make your Día a success, one idea per numbered item. Including your contact information is optional. I’ll start the list:

1. In areas where children may not have book cases, secure small, sturdy cardboard boxes and have materials so that children and their families can decorate their book boxes. This creates a good opportunity for stressing the importance of family reading and of having a special place for books including library books.

April 20, 2008

Celebrating Día Across the Country

Across this country in April ’08, librarians, teachers, parents and their communities are celebrating Día. This weekend I'm participating in four library events in Riverside, CA. Last week, I enjoyed participating in great library events in the beautiful Northwest. Thanks to the staff at Seattle Public Library and Multnomah County Library (Portland area), I spoke to many students and their teachers and also participated in Día events. I enjoyed seeing diverse families listening to Mariachi music, nibbling on fresh fruit, listening to story tellers, making hats and maracas.
I’m so grateful to all the dedicated adults and young people who are working hard to share bookjoy in fun and creative ways, who are linking all our children and their families to books, languages and cultures this month and every month. Gracias, gracias!

April 16, 2008

A Día Book!

I meet wonderful people not only in person as I travel around the country, but also through correspondence. One woman I’ve met through snail mail is Gabriela Ruiz Monsalvo. Some years back, Gaby wrote me from Pine Bluffs, Wyoming, to say how excited she was about the concept of El día de los niños/El día de los libros, Children’s Day/Book Day. Originally from Mexico, Gaby was familiar with school celebrations in Mexico of El día del niño on April 30th. She liked linking the celebration of children, Kids’ Day, to a celebration of connecting all children to books, languages and cultures. Like many others, year after year, she worked where she and her family live to promote and support Día celebrations.
Gaby cheerfully brought Día to the Pine Bluffs daycare center, Head Start Program, the elementary school and the county library. Year after year, Gaby sent me photos of the celebrations in Pine Bluffs. This January, Gaby mailed me a big surprise. Gaby had written her own Día book! What an idea to share. The title of her book , is, “. . . and when is Children’s Day? . . . y ¿cuándo es el Día de los Niños?” The book, assembled in a notebook, is illustrated with wonderful photos of Gaby’s cute children, their friends and of the Pine Bluffs 2007 Día celebration at the high school that included dancers and children in costumes. Gaby’s book even includes a U.S. map that shows which states celebrate Día. Gaby thanks many who helped her at the end of her fine book, and I thank her for all her hard work and for my present. I asked Gaby if I could share her good bookjoy sharing idea, and she graciously agreed.

Día Idea: Children or families can create their own Día book using photographs, drawings, paintings, etc.

I always stress that Día is a daily commitment to link children and books and can be celebrated at home, school, the public library, etc. Across the country, annual culminating celebrations are held April 30th or a convenient date for your own community. Día creates community partnerships; Día strengthens communities.

April 11, 2008

A Community Effort

This past February, I had the opportunity to return to the beautiful Northwest, specifically, to Lacey, Washington. Was I impressed by their community-wide literacy celebration! Here’s how they describe it:
Lacey Loves to Read (LLTR) is a successful “one city, one author” community partnership that began in 2004 with award-winning Hispanic author Gary Soto. Three key community partners -- the City of Lacey, Lacey Timberland Library and the North Thurston Public Schools -- collaborate on marketing, fundraising and event planning. It is a year-round planning process that culminates with the author visit in late February. Leading up to that, the community is encouraged to read selected works by one author and discuss them with fellow students, colleagues, family and friends. School and community librarians are active in promoting this event, along with various business sponsors and the media. Events include a student bookmark contest each fall, which gets people excited and familiar with the author. One year we had more than 1,600 entries! February events include community access nights at school libraries, a poetry/book reading of the author’s work at a local coffee shop, student workshops with the author, an educator’s coffee with the author and a community reception and VIP dinner with the author. Each year we estimate this program touches more than 10,000 people on a lean budget of about $32,000 (both cash and in-kind sponsorships). This does not include the countless hours of staff time dedicated to this event. Efforts have paid off in kudos from every author that has visited, including Soto, Jane Yolen, Walter Dean Myers, Naomi Shihab Nye and in 2008 -- Pat Mora! We focus on authors who will appeal to readers of all ages. Consequently, these are also often authors of diversity! For more information visit our website.

April 10, 2008

Thank you publishers!

Several publishers are supporting Dia in different ways through resources and promotions. Their efforts help broaden the awareness of Dia, not only as a day of festivity but as a year long celebration of bookjoy.
A poster featuring the cover of the Spanish language edition of Kevin Henkes’ Lilly’s Big Day (El gran día de Lily) is available from HarperCollins/Rayo.
Peachtree Publishers passed out Dia posters at conferences.
Random House has produced a resource guide packed with activities, program ideas, and reproducible bookmarks.
Simon and Schuster offers complementary Dora the Explorer postcards.
Posters have been passed out from Starbright Books.
Tricycle Press has a colorful poster featuring What Can You Do With a Rebozo?
posted by lc for Pat Mora

April 8, 2008

Family Book Clubs

Book Clubs have become so popular. Anyone know why? And how do people find a book club to join? These gatherings are certainly one way that adults and teens share bookjoy. When visiting the wonderful Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County last October, I asked Tony Tallent, their Director of Youth & Outreach Services, “What about family picture book clubs?” Even in the adult population, there are adults struggling to improve their reading skills, and picture books can be so welcoming to a whole family.

I remember the reading specialist I met years ago in Maryland. She didn’t speak Spanish, but she wanted to reach out to Spanish-speaking families. She’d bring families together at a library in the evening and share picture books with them. She told me that as the children translated for their parents, the parents began to add comments and tell stories and thoroughly enjoy the books. That generous reading specialist was sure sharing bookjoy and were the families grateful.

Tony Tallent, always a doer, is trying family picture book clubs at Charlotte libraries. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have such clubs in many languages?

April 6, 2008

Dia Celebrations

April is a busy travel month for me. I’m off to the University of Southern Mississippi this week and then will soon after participate in Día celebrations at Seattle Public, Multnomah County, and Riverside County Public Libraries. I’ll be talking to children and parents in English and Spanish. I know I’ll be learning and will have stories to share on this blog. Any Día stories to share? Día plans?