December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

Dear Blog Readers,

Hope you are enjoying happy and healthy holidays. We’ve had snow in Santa Fe, and it’s plenty cold, but the sky is blue and beautiful above the snow-covered hills. My son, husband, and I were talking about the gifts we’re grateful for last night, and certainly one of mine is the pleasure of bookjoy. Aren’t we lucky to be readers and to want to share that pleasure with family, friends, others? One of my favorite books this year was Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. What a journey into the diversity and yet the shared longings in the human heart.

What about you? What were some of your favorite books?

We welcome your comments and suggestions for sharing bookjoy in 2010. Wishing each of you good books, good health, good friends.


December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Maybe you’ve sung it while caroling, or you’ve heard it in the car or at home, but chances are you’ve listened to the carol “A Partridge in a Pear Tree” this holiday season. Give yourself or a young one a holiday gift with Pat's new book A Piñata in a Pine Tree! This new rendition of the familiar carol, with brightly colored exquisite folk art by Margaly Morales, trades medieval English presents for traditional Latino gifts – burritos bailando (dancing donkeys), lunitas cantando (singing moons), and luminarias. And wait until you read the sweet surprise ending.

Merry Christmas to all!

December 18, 2009

Día in North Carolina

Our interview today is with Lori Special, Youth Services Consultant for the State Library of North Carolina. Lori is a fantastic Día supporter, and she incorporates information about Día into her regional workshops about summer reading and other topics.

1. Why are you offering sessions about Día and “best practices” during regional workshops throughout the state?
The Youth Services staff member in the public libraries in our state are very responsive to the needs of the members of their communities and want to provide the services and programs that their customers want and need. My job is to provide resources to help them do their jobs to the best of their abilities.The promotion of Día is a way for many of the YS staff members to consciously incorporate more non-dominant culture into their storytimes and other youth programming. Also, helping the YS staff have the language to speak to the adult members of their community about the purpose of Día as a day to focus on the literacy and developmental needs of children is also helpful in some areas where diversity is not the norm.

2. Tell us about how you’re linking Día to Summer Reading?
Our State Library provides “best practices” to the public libraries in our state, which are their own autonomous entities. I cannot mandate that they do any programs. However, I can have youth services staff from around the state that have successfully incorporated Día in their summer reading programming provide the know-how and information of how it was done in their libraries.

Librarianship is very local and I am encouraging each library to make their Day of the Child meet the needs of the users it serves and the other librarians who are in the trenches daily can provide the ideas, support, and validity that, I in my ivory tower cannot provide.

3. What is the response you’ve received from librarians?
Much of the need for information about Día has come from the YS staff themselves. They have been the driving force behind the need for information, so the response has been positive.

4. What are some of the concerns librarians have about planning Día celebrations?
Many of the concerns center around the belief that Día is only for Spanish-speaking customers and their families and the majority of the staff do not speak any Spanish and they don’t know how to reach members of the Spanish-speaking community. What we are attempting with the Summer Reading Program workshop sessions is to illustrate how non-Spanish speakers can make connections and work collaboratively with others in their communities to bring the spirit of Día to everyone in their communities. The spirit of Día can work in any community with any non-dominant culture. One of the YS staff members in Burke County, NC created a festival with the Hmong as the focal point, as they are a large minority group in her community. This is the type of program where the “spirit” of Día is in full force.

5. Can you give us 3 “best practices”?
-- Forge links with members of your community. Work with school, religious, and cultural liaisons to forge ties between the library staff and the particular group you are trying to reach.
-- Learn about the people, their culture, and even a few words of their language and ask them for their help. Show them respect for being the “experts” of their own lives. Food is a universal language that everyone wants to share and everyone loves to talk about themselves.
-- Be genuinely interested in the people. If you are doing Día or any programming just to get brownie points, it will fall flat. Everyone, especially children, will eventually see through a fake.
-- Plan activities, events you would enjoy participating in yourself. If you are having a good time, the feeling is infectious.

6. I always ask this question when interviewing someone for Pat. Will you tell us one of your favorite examples of bookjoy?
I love to have someone read to me. As a librarian and a mother, I do lots of reading to others. My husband even likes me to read to him. I think that’s why many librarians are so fond of audio books. It’s like getting a pedicure at a salon – you could do it yourself, but there is something so much more decedent about having someone else do it for you.

Thank you, Lori, for taking time to answer these questions.

December 9, 2009

A New Día Champion

In March, to recognize her impressive work to promote Día throughout the state of NM, we highlighted Flo Trujillo of Farmington, New Mexico as our first Día champion featured on this blog. I have the good fortune to meet committed Día supporters all over the country. As the year ends, I’d like to recognize Ana Schmitt, who in typical Ana style, insisted that any recognition needed to go to their LIBROS staff at Multnomah County Library, winners of the 2002 Mora Award. Ana and her colleagues are full of Día ideas.
The LIBROS Workgroup

1. Tell us about the work that you and the rest of the LIBROS group do. How did LIBROS get its start? How many people are part of the LIBROS staff?
LIBROS is a systemwide initiative at Multnomah County Library that connects the Spanish-speaking community with library services. It makes services available within its libraries and in the surrounding community to a population that is underserved because of cultural and language differences. LIBROS got started backed by the Library Services and Construction Act (LSCA) grant; MCL hired a Spanish-outreach specialist to coordinate the program and to expand library services to Spanish-speaking Latino children and their families. A survey sent to community agencies, school programs, and members of the community identified information needs and obstacles to library use. Their findings showed, among other things, a lack of understanding by Latinos about the role of the library and its mission (public libraries were practically non-existent in most Latin American countries); lack of Spanish-language materials in the collection; lack of adequate programming for Spanish speakers; the existence of a transportation barrier which prevented access to the library; and the inability of library staff to communicate, verbally and culturally, with the Spanish-speaking patrons.

LIBROS began in 1998 and since then has been responsible for numerous changes to improve service to Multnomah County Library’s Latino community. During the first year of the LIBROS program, more programs for Spanish-speaking families were established, including bilingual storytimes at three of its branches; a collection of Spanish and bilingual books was created; and connections were made with other youth outreach programs for summer reading programs. In addition, library-card campaigns, library tours, parenting programs and presentations about the library were made available to agencies serving children and to local schools. Since it began we have increased the number of bilingual Spanish employees from one person to more than 30 employees in 11 of our 18 locations. The outreach staff makes contacts with the Latino community through our events and programs for adults and children both in the library and in the community. These include:

• Spanish and bilingual storytimes
• Computer classes in Spanish
• Intercambio language exchanges
• Regular music and craft programs in Spanish
• Parenting and literacy classes for adults and children
• Special events like Hispanic Heritage and Día de los Niños

Día Celebration at Multnomah County Library -- 2009
2. Please share your 2010 Día plans with us. Are you trying anything new?
For Día 2010 Multnomah County Library is planning 8 celebrations at multiple Spanish bilingual library locations. Each celebration will have 1 live performance as well as students' group performances from local schools. We will have 2-5 literacy activities and a few crafts at each celebration.

In an effort to continue to make Día more literacy oriented we are trying something new and different for 2010. We are planning to gather around a book character and listen to stories. We will have Latino leaders from the community read to the children. And we will be having 20 minute parents' workshops during Día. 1-2 workshops per location targeted to 0-6 years old, and another one to elementary school age children. For instance, we'll share and show the 6 Early Literacy skills and give parents resources to use at home like ideas to help their child get ready for school and a print out of CDs and children's books from the library collection.

Tips for Día First Timers

3. What advice do you have for libraries planning Dia events for the first-time?
o Plan well in advance; at least 6 months. It helps to have a planner with tasks, due dates and name of person responsible for each task.
o Make sure you have early literacy activities and performers that reflect the culture of the community.
o If your location is near schools (Head Starts or elementary), it might make sense to plan your celebration on a weekday. Talk with local teachers prior to see about possible weekday attendance.
o Promote your Día inside your library and out. Promote it during Storytimes and other events as well as through local schools, housing complexes, media, and in any other way possible.
o Get lots of help for the day of the event.
o Involve your community and include cultural components that draw the immigrant populations you want to reach.

Ways to involve the community include:
 Having volunteers to prepare for Día de los Niños activities and events as well as to help on the day of the event.
 Making Milagros, piñatas or other crafts to be displayed in the library is helpful in involving schools, children, and through them, families. Students' creations could be exhibited in the library before, during and after Día de los Niños. Families will come to the library to view them.
 Including local businesses strengthens community relationships and expands the resources available for Día de los Niños. Community businesses could donate raffle items, food, services and cash.
 Having service providers with resources and education to share. The neighborhood police chief could host a craft table, firemen could give tours of their truck and educate kids about fire safety, and health services providers could bring health games and information.
 Having after-school Ballet Folklórico classes perform is free and delightful for everyone.
 Since bilingual households are diverse, and there are many different communities with many different immigrant populations, it follows that the choice of performers or other cultural elements will be unique for each community.

Día 2009 at Multnomah County Library

4. What’s the best part of your work?
Helping patrons find the information and materials they need as well as providing programming and events which they enjoy and that promote literacy and welcome them to the community.

Seeing the joy on people's faces as they participate in programs and crafts at our events.
Introducing everything that is wonderful about the public library to folks who have not had access to a library before -- board books, information on school subjects, learning English materials, computers for job-hunting, typing up school reports, etc.

5. How do you share book joy?
We love books and enjoy sharing that joy for books and libraries through fun storytimes and encouraging kids to read whatever they're interested in. Día is a wonderful way to reach out to the community, make families feel welcome and enjoy all the library has to offer while they connect with the community.

Pat gives a Dia Angel to the Dia Champions and other Dia supporters.

December 4, 2009

Mora Award Winner, San Francisco PL, Pt. 2

We're continuing our interview with Barbara VanderBorght at the San Francisco PL, one of the winners of the 2009 Mora Award.

4. Tell us about some of your plans to celebrate Día in April 2010.
This coming year, for the first time, all of the Día events, including the big citywide celebration on the last Sunday in April, will be held at the Library. We are very excited about this opportunity to welcome many of our Dolores Park Día participants to the Main Library. Unlike many Día celebrations, the one in S.F. was not begun as a library event. Members of the library staff have become more involved over the years and we are pleased to be able to offer our site during the renovation of the Park where it has been traditionally held. We will also have programs in our branches during the month leading up to the big Día.

5. What advice would you give to a library planning a Día event for the first time?
Do some research. Determine who the target audience is and who your community partners might be. See if there is anything similar going on in your community already. Take a look at other Día celebrations around the country.

6. Please share 3 Día suggestions. (These can be ideas you’ve implemented, ideas you’ve heard about and like, or pie-in-the-sky wishes.)
We have found it is important to continue to bring in new community partners over the years, especially those who are interested in working on the steering committee responsible for putting on the event, and are bilingual with ties to the Latino and other diverse communities. We have also found that in addition to all the volunteer hours each of us put in, it is necessary to fund a part time paid position to act as a coordinator.
If you are having a large event with lots of activities, set aside a quiet space for babies and toddlers (and their families) where they can enjoy having stories read to them, or just hang out for awhile.
Seek out local authors/illustrators and performing groups that include children, especially those from different ethnic communities. Include as many bilingual books as possible for give-aways. Also, we designed magnets with a Día graphic and a few tips for families to help with the development of early literacy skills, as give-aways. They were available in English or Spanish.

December 3, 2009

Interviews with the 2009 Mora Award Winners

Today, we're sharing the first part of an interview with Barbara VanderBorght, Children's Programing Specialist at the San Francisco Public Library. The library was one of two winners of the 2009 Mora Award, which recognized their exemplary programing for El día de los niños/El día de los libros, Children's Day/Book Day.

1. How did you feel when you heard you were one of the 2009 winners?
I was, of course, quite thrilled to hear that we had won the award. I am one of a small group of people from various organizations who work very hard to put on San Francisco’s Día event each year, and we were all very ecstatic. This year, 2009 was our 10th Anniversary, which made it all the more special.

2. Tell us why you applied for the Mora Award.
Most importantly, we wanted our Día to be recognized nationally for the collaborative efforts involved in bringing books to children, families together, and offering a special afternoon of multicultural activities and community building in San Francisco. The visibility and stature of the Mora Award is important because of its association with Pat Mora and REFORMA — the creators of Día, and getting the grant is like a stamp of approval for our event. There are hundreds of Día events all over the country, and being recognized by the Mora Award is a great honor. Also, since our event would not be possible without contributed funds, the monetary award is a big help.

3. Please share what you plan to do with the monetary award.
There are so many areas in which the monetary award can be helpful. We have to fundraise every year to pull together the money to put on our event. We will mostly likely put the money toward buying books to give away to the children, paying performers who appear at the event or possibly, for print materials.

Check in tomorrow for the remainder of the interview with Barbara VanderBorght. These interviews will also be posted on Pat's web site.

December 1, 2009

Bravo to the Chicago Public Library!

How fortunate I felt to participate in CPL's annual book festival Book-A-Mania. Kudos to Bernadette Nowakowski who began the event for families fifteen years ago in 1994. Bernie said the celebration has grown in wondrous ways thanks to a dedicated and enthusiastic staff, city support, volunteers and the assistance of diverse funders including Target. This year’s art was based on Book Fiesta illustrated by the talented Rafael López. As children participated in all kinds of activities, they were earning a free book. I enjoyed chatting with volunteers including high school students in a service learning project and some employees of Kraft Foods. I chatted with Sonia Ocasio Bowman, librarian at Morton West High School in Berwyn, IL, who is working with community agencies to plan a Día event for her community. I’m always thrilled to see high schools participating in Día. I met student teachers Gissel Escobedo and Arlen Hernandez who are going to promote Día in Cicero, and I chatted with Kimberly-Celeste Boyd who’s going to promote Día in the Chicago Public Schools.
I left Book-A-Mania inspired by a library system committed to sharing bookjoy, to serving diverse families in creative ways.

November 18, 2009

Mora Award Winner, Topeka & Shawnee Cty., Part 2

We're continuing our interview with Judy Rohr at the Topeka & Shawnee County PL (KS), one of the winners of the 2009 Mora Award.

You can make this happen!

4. What advice would you give to a library planning a Día event for the first time?
Start out with a small agenda. Perhaps set up an activity session where you can involve children in literacy activities. Have a puppet show, a bilingual storytime, a few bilingual games or art projects. And of course, offer ideas about reading to your children and their families. Give away books if possible.

5. Please share 3 Día suggestions. (These can be ideas you’ve implemented, ideas you’ve heard about and like, or pie-in-the-sky wishes.)
1. Here’s an idea that I’ve not tried yet; but it would be fun -- a book parade. Perhaps staff could dress up like book characters and have a narrator or MC give a book talk about each book bilingually.
2. Collaborate with ELL teachers or high school classrooms to bring art projects, musical activities, short plays or reader’s theatre programs to perform at your El Día. Performances by children always bring in a crowd.
3. Talk to businesses and agencies to see if they would like to have a booth at your event. Many of them are glad to participate in order to get their information to possible clients.

November 17, 2009

Interviews with the 2009 Mora Award Winners

Two public libraries won this year's Mora Award, recognizing their exemplary programing for El día de los niños/El día de los libros, Children's Day/Book Day. The libraries are San Francisco Public Library, CA and Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, KS. Congratulations to these libraries and and to all the libraries who applied for the award and who celebrated Día!
We're especially pleased that the winners of the 2009 Mora  Award gave us their time for brief interviews, telling us and you -- about their reactions to winning, plans for the monetary award and Día planning tips. Each library's interview will be in two parts. First, we'll hear from Judy Rohr, Outreach Storyteller and Spanish Resource at Topeka & Shawnee County.

1. How did you feel when you heard you were one of the 2009 winners?
When I saw on my e-mail that I was one of the 2009 winners of the Mora Award, I screamed with joy. Everyone in the next room heard me. There were only 2 or 3 people in my department to tell and they caught the brunt of my yell. Then I ran to the book selectors division and told them. I, then, e-mailed everyone who participated in El Día of 2009. In others words, I was flying high.
2. Tell us why you applied for the Mora Award.
I applied for the Mora Award in hopes that I could share the honor with all of the agencies and supporters of El Día de los Niños/El Día de los Libros. My supervisors and director have been very supportive in giving me the leeway to set up the program as I choose. I’ve had many agencies and businesses that have gotten on the band wagon in support of bilingualism and literacy. I’ve felt that we all worked hard putting together a wonderful book fiesta for children and their families. What an honor for our small city and county library!

3. Please share what you plan to do with the monetary award. Tell us about some of your plans to celebrate Día in April 2010.
With the award money, I plan to purchase books for give-aways, and books for circulation, in particular bilingual books. I would like to start a collection of bilingual read- alongs. Last year we gave away a Tagged Reading System for the raffle; so I hope to do that again.
Our fiesta for 2010, is just beginning to take form; but we will again have a bilingual puppet show (last year we did the “Three Little Pigs”), a carnival with agencies that offer educational programs and literacy activities for families, and musical entertainment from local groups. We would also like to include an author or storyteller if possible.

Check in tomorrow for the remainder of the interview with Judy Rohr. These interviews will also be posted on Pat's web site.

November 8, 2009

My Private Light Show

On October 25, I happened to be awake and ambulatory at 5:30 a.m. Not a usual occurrence. Gazing out the window toward the East, I saw the black sky and a large, roundish star, looking like a Christmas ornament above the soft Santa Fe hills. Curious, I looked at the star with binoculars. Wow! The light from the star became a thin, white streak of looping and zipping light. At first, I thought that perhaps I wasn’t holding the binoculars steadily, but then I reasoned that the hills weren’t moving—and reasoning isn’t all that easy at that hour. I looked at the star off and on as it rose. Without binoculars, it looked like a large star, but with them the wild zigging and zagging continued.

CuriousER, I later e-mailed, the web site of the McDonald Observatory in Texas, saying that I enjoy their informative radio spots and explaining what I’d seen. I assured them that I really wasn’t inebriated or crazy.

The wonders of the web. A kind scientist replied, and here’s what I learned. I saw Venus; at this time of year, the morning star that rises just before the sun. Because of the planet’s location near the horizon when I saw it, the light rays had to pass through more atmosphere, and thus were more jumbled as bubbles of warmer and cooler air swirled around in the sky bending the light rays.

An approaching weather front can increase the turbulence in the atmosphere. Indeed, we had an atypical October snow the next day in Santa Fe. Even before I had an explanation for my private light show, I decided the sight was a good omen.

November 4, 2009

November is Family Literacy Month

We found out from the Children's Literacy Round-Up that November 1 is National Family Literacy Day and the celebration continues through the month of November. There are some great free resources available from the National Center for Family Literacy and other organizations such as Read Write Think.

Don't forget to check Pat's Dia pages on her website for more ideas on how to celebrate literacy every day.

November 2, 2009

Remembering My Aunt on All Souls Day, El Día de los muertos

Although El día de los muertos is viewed by some as an extension of Halloween, and by others as a bizarre Mexican custom—luring the spirit of departed loved ones back for a night, often with an altar of their favorite foods, scents, etc., I view it as a grand opportunity to reflect on our loved ones who have died and to savor our wonderful memories of them. I think of my dear parents, my maternal grandmother and my maternal aunt, Ignacia Delgado. My three siblings and I, and later our children, all called her “Lobo” which means “wolf,” since she called us her “lobitos.” Below is the opening verse of an El día de los muertos poem I wrote for Lobo. She’s the star of my first published children’s book, A Birthday Basket for Tía, a main character in my family memoir, House of Houses, and she sneaks into my poetry books for adults. My daughter, Libby, and I are starting a new book in which Lobo will again be the star.

Come, fierce guardian angel
in black shoes. Let me whet
your appetite. I’ve gathered
all you loved, or still love,
for this altar, tiers of sweet
temptation, earth’s delights.
Visit me, if only for a night.
         from “Ofrenda for Lobo,”
         Agua Santa: Holy Water © Pat Mora

October 23, 2009

Visits to Edinburg, Texas, Los Angeles, CA and soon--Chicago

Recently I had the pleasure of speaking to dedicated librarians in Edinburg, Texas. It had been a number of years since I’d been to South Texas and, as before, I was inspired by the commitment of the librarians to their students. The event organizer, Maria Elena Ovale, introduced me to the Tejas Star Award to bring attention to bilingual books. It was exciting to hear the librarians describe their creative strategies for motivating their students to be readers.

At The Latino Book and Family Festival in LA, I enjoyed seeing parents who wanted their children to be readers. It was also exciting to meet Myrna Wathen, a librarian at Roseville Public Library, who told me about their annual Día celebrations, events that are growing and growing. 

Pat and Myrna Wathen

November 21, I’ll be in Chicago at BookAMania. More about that soon.

October 13, 2009

Pat is a Guest Blogger too!

Recently, Pat was the Guest Blogger at the blog. She wrote a wonderful post about harvesting ideas titled "From Seed to Song". My favorite line reads "Seasons exist is the interior as well as the exterior world."

This photo is of Pat's backyard landscape.

October 5, 2009

An El Paso Singing Treat

My wonderful Uncle Lalo, known to others as Eduardo Delgado or Ed, celebrated his 91st birthday last week. My sister Stella and I went to El Paso, where we were all born, to celebrate with him. We received an unexpected, musical treat. I showed my uncle my new book, beautifully illustrated A Piñata in a Pine Tree: A Latino Twelve Days of Christmas. My uncle, comfortably seated in his green leather chair, opened the book slowly, admiring all the front pages. When he saw the song beginning, he began to sing the book page by page. At the end of each page, he’d raise his voice and revel in singing the refrain with great gusto, “and a piñata in a pine trrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.”

Yet another sweet memory from my special uncle. Have any musical bookjoy memories to share?

September 24, 2009

And the Winners Are ?

I’m excited to introduce our new Mora Award Logo. The following libraries applied for the 2009 Estela and Raúl Mora Award:
Topeka and Shawnee County PL, Topeka, KS
San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco, CA
Moline Public Library, Moline, IL
Farmington Public Library, Farmington, NM
San Mateo County Library, San Mateo, CA

Congratulations to each of these libraries for their commitment to spreading bookjoy through Día and for taking the time to submit their application. Thanks to the support of my sister, Stella Mora Henry, our family will again provide two awards this year. REFORMA members are currently making the big decision. I have no doubt that each of these libraries deserves our applause. If you live in these communities, do support the work of your library. If your community didn’t apply, call and offer to help with the annual Día celebration in April 2010, Día’s 14th Anniversary.

September 21, 2009

Summer Book Club, part 2

One of the highlights of my summer was hearing from Conni Su Siminski about this summer book club. Talk about sharing bookjoy! Yea to Conni Su, the moms and the girls! Hope others will send us your bookjoy sharing ideas. Pat

(More about the summer book club from Connie Su . . .)
The Summer Book Club with about 10 girls from Monte Vista Elementary School in La Crescenta, CA, met weekly for 6 weeks. Pat's book was the kick off and the best book to do that as it had all these great foods to taste and haiku to read plus lots of additional educational facts and tips. The girls went around the table and took turns reading everything on the page...the facts and the haiku. The girls learned so much and had a ball. There was lots of interaction and discussion encouraged and Moms (or Grandmother as in my case) were present and could contribute as well. Photos were taken at each meeting to be displayed and used to make a craft at the end to take home. It was a multicultural group of girls and the club covered different genres: Haiku the first week, then poetry the next week with Shel Silverstein's Where the Sidewalk Ends. Each girl read her favorite from the book along with other classic poems. Another week it was a nonfiction book, What To Do About Alice, which was about Alice Roosevelt with a feminist bent . One week the girls had a tea party complete with gloves and hats and tea sandwiches while reading, The English Roses by Madonna. One week the girls met at the local Barnes and Noble for their meeting and another at the beautiful downtown Los Angeles public library. The last meeting discussed the book Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo, which the girls read during the week. Afterwards, they watched the movie of it while the moms got a BBQ together and all the girls’ families came and had dinner together. It was a feast and a glorious way to end the summer book club. All in all the entire 6 weeks had an air of excitement and festivities and fun!

Starting a book club. . .

For moms looking to start a book club, here’s another idea. A club at our school is headed by a mom who has it in her home each month. It is a Mother/Daughter Book Club and this year the moms will select the books beginning with Frindle by Andrew Clements. The club meets each month for about 1 1/2 hours with healthy snacks and beverage at the end. Moms read the books with the girls during the month so everyone can help in discussion. Each girl draws a paper from a hat naming a role they will have to help expedite the discussion. The roles are: Discussion Director leads the group to talk about the book by asking inspiring questions; Problem Prober finds the problem in the story and how it is solved; Theme Teller discusses the theme and sub-themes and the overall 'big idea' of the book; Connecting Captain connects between the book and the world experiences around them or what it reminds them of in their own life or another book; Character Captor analyzes the main characters in the story and talks about their qualities; Setting Specialist reports on the setting of the story and how that affects the story; Word Wizard looks closely at the special words the author chose to use in the story like funny words, long words, descriptive words, etc.; Passage Picker picks an interesting passage from the story to share and tells how the story is made more powerful by that passage; Artful Artist makes something to creatively represent an important part of the story which could be a drawing, map, costume, props and the groups guesses which part of the story is represented. A great side benefit for the above group was learning all the parts of a good story in a fun way. Both of the book clubs function differently but enhance the love of reading, camaraderie of the girls and the moms, and makes reading and discussion fun! Nothing could be better!

Summer Book Club

A short time ago a woman in California wrote Pat about her book, Yum! ¡Mmm! ¡Qué Rico! America's Sproutings, mentioning that her granddaughter would be reading Yum for her upcoming book club meeting. Isn’t that cool? Pat sent the girls, 10 third-graders at Monte Vista Elementary School in La Crescenta, California, a suburb of Los Angeles, a personal note.
Dear California Readers,

I wish I could be with you when you talk about YUM! Aren’t the illustrations wonderful? The illustrator lives in CA and also illustrated my book, BOOK FIESTA! You can read my answers to questions readers ask me here. I loved being a third grader and going to the library’s summer reading club. How I would have liked being in a book club like yours. Keep reading and writing.

Pat Mora

Here’s a delightful account of the first meeting of the Summer Book Club sent to Pat from the grandmother, Conni Su.
Hi Pat,

Just to let you know...yesterday's Girl's Summer Book Club was a fantastic success and because of your book!! If you can believe it, the girls lasted 3 hours...from 2 PM to 5 PM reading every word of your book, drawing their own special fruits on the butcher paper covering the dining table, making Haiku and mostly tasting every fruit in your book except the chili's (they smelled chili powder very briefly instead)...we did notice you wrote the chili pepper haiku in one syllable words like the music term, staccato, to represent 'hot.' They thought that was really clever! We had cold, fresh prickly pear and it was enjoyed by the women but the girls only wanted to smell and lick it. The girls gasped with joy when I read your email and were proud we adults would work together on something to put their school on your blog. Some girls expressed an interest to write to you. For any who follow through is there a PO Box number or anything where we can send the collected drawings and writings?

Again, thank you so much. The diversity of the girls aided their enjoyment of the book with the places of origin of the foods hitting home for several. One girl drew a Brazilian flag to celebrate it being touted more than once. All in all it was a great ice breaker and we had so much fun munching and interacting and everyone sharing stories and experiences from either their homeland or just picking from their garden. YUM! AND a day of real learning, too!

Thanks for being part of our very special day!

September 3, 2009

Bookjoy Logo!

Thanks to my wonderful web friends, Bobbie Combs and Laurina Cashin (blog editor), we are ready to share our exciting new bookjoy logo and motto.

I hope you’ll use these to help promote the pleasure of reading. Both high res and web resolution versions are available on my web site in Spanish and English.

Now that my book on creativity practices for educators and their students has gone into production, I am thinking about Día 2010, Día’s 13th anniversary. As we ease into fall, it’s a good time to begin planning how you can grow this family literacy celebration in your community. We know our grim national drop-out statistics. I firmly believe that sharing bookjoy through Día is a positive way to grow a nation of readers. Check with your local library and nearby school and help grow this national family literacy tradition.

September 1, 2009

International Literacy Day

September 8 is International Literacy Day, a day of reflection and celebration when a community of nations hosts
local and national events that recognize the value of literacy to individuals, families, and communities. The International Reading Association (IRA) has a special page which talks about events in Washington DC, and includes a downloadable brochure, fact sheet and ideas.

August 20, 2009

Library Grants for Family Literacy

The National Center for Family Literacy has created a national award for libraries that will support and fund libraries’ family programming. “Libraries and literacy have such a natural connection, and we designed the award to help tighten that,” says Emily Kirkpatrick, vice president of the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL), which co-launched the grant with online book site, Better World Books. Use this link to access a form so you’ll be notified of grant criteria and receive an application when available (after October 1.)

Thanks to School Library Journal and Reading Tub’s Literacy Roundup for the news and links.

August 12, 2009

Cookjoy & Bookjoy

Have you seen the movie “Julie & Julia”? If you like to cook and aren’t a vegetarian, you’ll probably thoroughly enjoy it. I did. I’d just finished Julia Child’s memoir, My Life in France, which moves along happily from meal to meal. It was my reward for sending off my new manuscript tentatively titled, Zing: 7 Creativity Practices for Educators & Their Students, to the editor at Corwin last week. Whew! A book of letters to teachers and librarians, it’s due out in the spring.

In the last letter I have a quote from Julia Child that I found some years ago about her zest for what she did. I found Julia Child an amazing story — a woman who didn’t know how to cook and who, by falling in love with France and French cooking and by her optimistic persistence, shared her cookjoy with America. She worked for years experiencing many set-backs, but she’d dust her ego off and continue. Paul, her supportive husband gets a gold star too. Julia Child is a high-spirited, cheerful and hard-working example for those of us excited about sharing bookjoy.

Share Bookjoy!

July 26, 2009

A poem for Summer Reading

Here's the perfect poem by Pat to celebrate summer reading! Print and share this poem about Tomás!

Library Magic
“¡Vamos! Let’s go to the library!”
Tomás said to his family.
He showed them his favorite books
and his cozy reading nooks.

“¡Vamos! Let’s go to the library!”
Tomás said to his friends. “Hurry!”
They saw libros in stacks and rows.
They laughed at funny puppet shows.

“¡Vamos! Let’s all go to the library!”
Join the fun, a treasure house that’s free.
Bring your friends and family.
Stories, computers, maps and more,
facts, fun. Enter the magic door.
Like Tomás, open books and soar.
Be a reader. Explore galore.

© Pat Mora, 2005
Reprinted by permission.
All rights reserved.

In memory of the leader, educator and author, Tomás Rivera

July 22, 2009

Coming Soon: New Bookjoy Logo

In April 2008, with the help of Laurina Cashin, I began this bookjoy blog. We include what I said then in the right hand column: I’m not sure when I coined the word “bookjoy.” I’ve been delighted, though, at how readers smile when I use it. For about a year, I’ve been working on a logo that we could use for this blog and on my web site, etc. Good news: it’s done, and soon we’ll be posting it.

Soon I’ll also be able to happily say that my book on seven creativity practices for educators and their students is also finished. I’m working on the final edits trying hard to include all I want to share about how important educators are, how developing our creative side enriches our teaching and life, and about how our students also need us to foster the seven practices in them.

I hope that you’re enjoying a good summer. What are you reading?

July 2, 2009

NCTE Writing Gallery Promotes Bookjoy!

The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)project The National Gallery of Writing "is a virtual space — a Web site — where people who perhaps have never thought of themselves as writers — mothers, bus drivers, fathers, veterans, nurses, firefighters, sanitation workers, stockbrokers — select and post one thing they have written that is important to them. The Gallery accommodates any composition format — from word processing to photography, audio recording to text messages—and all types of writing — from letters to lists, memoirs to memos.”

The curator of the project, R. Joseph Rodriguez, Ph.D., has created a gallery, Memories of Libraries and Bookjoy which honors Pat and her concept of bookjoy.

Writings can be submitted online at:

May 27, 2009

Día 2009 North Carolina Surprises

On April 30th this year, I visited Forest View Elementary School in Durham, North Carolina. Second graders had prepared a surprise for me and their school mates. From memory, those cute students recited Book Fiesta: Celebrate Children’s Day/Book Day, Celebremos El día de los niños/El día de los libros in English and Spanish. As I sat and listened, I thought about Día’s goals of connecting children to books, languages and cultures. What a way to start the day! The audience and I clapped and clapped as we did for another class that had memorized haiku from ¡Yum! ¡MmMm! ¡Qué rico! I told the students that they were smarter than I was since I would have needed to look at the books to recite the poems. The art teacher had worked with her classes to create wonderful murals inspired by the two books.

I also had the pleasure of watching an impressive and energetic young librarian at the Durham County Library share my book The Race of Toad and Deer. That afternoon, the library surprised me with a trio playing Latin music in the library entry way before I spoke. I particularly enjoyed watching a librarian check in books to the rhythm of the music.

In Greensboro NC, I visited three schools to read and talk about Día and gave a reading for adults that evening at the Greensboro Public Library. It was wonderful to see students at Jones Spanish Immersion Magnet Elementary School excited about learning Spanish and to visit a school for newcomers, students working hard to make sense of their new country.

Every high school in Greensboro has a poet laureate. Isn’t that a great idea? I met with this diverse and talented group of young people for a poetry workshop and then attended a city-wide Día celebration, attended by about 2,000, that was combined with an arts event called Artbeat.

At North Carolina State University in Raleigh, I was fortunate to again speak to students graduating from the Elementary Education program. Warm congratulations to all graduates particularly those planning to work with young people. You are so needed!

May 18, 2009

Día in Detroit

What an exciting and gratifying time I enjoyed at Día celebrations in three cities. Thanks to my host, author and administrator Ethriam Brammer at Wayne State University, I spoke on his campus and at a school in SW Detroit. I also attended the annual Día celebration held in that part of the city. Because the attendance has grown through the years, this year the event was held in a park on a Sunday.

The idea for beginning the annual celebration came from Vicente Sánchez Ventura, the Consul of Mexico based in Detroit, a quiet, formal man with a deep commitment to education and literacy. He’d heard about Día while in Austin. He partnered with Matrix, a large human services provider, and they invited various community agencies to participate. It was moving for me to meet Consul Sánchez and to hear him describe the event in the park this year. “Just look,” he said to me in Spanish. “Unlike the noise and drinking that can be part of Cinco de Mayo celebrations, this is about families. Nothing is being sold, so everyone can attend. Thousands of books are being given away, and vendors are providing water and small snacks gratis. Families are enjoying lotería, puppet shows, face painting, listening to stories, and social service agencies are distributing information about their work.”

It remains a challenge for such annual culminating celebrations that honor children and celebrate a year of linking them to books, languages and cultures to be literacy celebrations. Focus can quickly move to the familiar: music, selling, entertainment for adults. It’s gratifying to participate in events at which committed adults (sporting great Día T-shirts) have worked together for months to create a child/family focused event that truly promotes literacy and how much fun it can be. Bravo to SW Detroit’s amazing and collaborative Día committee chaired by Debra Spring of Matrix! This group has created a fine model.

May 14, 2009

The Voces Blog

This is a good blog to add to your bookmarks or RSS feed. Voces, a place for and about Latino authors and their books; Spanish language translations; and news from the Latino book industry, is the blog of Adriana Dominguez, a ten-year veteran of the publishing industry. As she points out, her experience gives her a "unique insider's perspective" on Latino publishing and book market.

Her recent post about Día includes a roundup of recommended books.

May 11, 2009

Pat Interviewed on Las Comadres

Recently Macarena Salas interviewed Pat and Dr. Ortiz, a professor at the University of Texas/Austin, about bilingual books and education, as well as Pat's Book Fiesta! This interview is one of a series of national teleconferences produced by Las Comadres,a nationally known Latina organization empowering women to be actively engaged in the growing Latino/Hispanic communities through online and face to face networks. It's well worth a listen.

May 9, 2009

2009 Américas Awards

2009 Américas Book Awards for Children's and Young Adult Literature have gone to Just in Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book by Yuyi Morales (Roaring Brook/Porter) and The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom by Margarita Engle (Holt). The awards recognize U.S. works of fiction, poetry, folklore, or selected nonfiction (from picture books to works for young adults) published in the previous year in English or Spanish that authentically and engagingly portray Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinos in the United States. Click here to see this year’s honorable mentions and commended titles.

For more information about the award and CLASP click here.

May 8, 2009

Rhymes for the Little Ones

Read Me a Rhyme in Spanish and English
Rose Zertuche Treviño
ALA Editions, 2009
paperback (978-0-8389-0982-9)

Rose Treviño is the Youth Services Coordinator for the Houston Public Library, one of the largest library systems in the country that serves one of the biggest Spanish-speaking populations in the country. She is an active member of the American Library Association (ALA), the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), the Texas Library Association (TLA), the Public Library Association (PLA), and REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking. Her work has great impact on library services provided to Latinos on both the local and national level. Past chair of the Newbery Award Committee, Treviño is also a passionate advocate for Latino children’s literature. Amazingly, she has time to write, too! Her new book is a collection of ready-made bilingual storytimes for babies to primary school children.

We asked Rose to answer some questions about her book and she graciously agreed.

Tell us the story behind Read Me a Rhyme in Spanish and English – why did you write this book?
I was approached by an editor at ALA Editions and asked if I would consider writing a book with ideas to help those who work with bilingual children. As a children's librarian, I offered bilingual storytimes for children for many years and thought I'd give it a try. I used many of the songs, rhymes, and fingerplays that my Mom had taught me as a child.

Describe your research process; what were your sources?
My best sources were my Mom, my Aunt Bea, and my daughter-in-law, Vicky. I also contacted Jose-Luis Orozco, author and songwriter and requested permission to use a few of his renditions of traditional songs. Over the years, I had learned different versions at conferences and workshops and kept these in my idea file.

Give us a sample of one of the rhymes you included in the book.

Here is one from the chapter for babies:
This nursery rhyme is a favorite with babies. Ask parents to hold baby’s hand open and tap the baby’s palm as the simple verse is recited.

Pon, pon, tata,
Pon, pon, la la,

Mediecito pa’ la papa;
A little sock from papa;

Pon, pon, tía,
Pon, pon, maybe,

Mediecito pa’ sandía;
A little sock for baby;

Pon, pon, pon,
Pon, pon, pon,

Mediecito pa’ jabón
Wash my socks

Y me lavan mi camisón.
And nightie.

Thank you Rose!

May 6, 2009

May is Latino Books Month

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) has designated May as Latino Books Month and encourages booksellers, librarians, and others in the book industry "to promote reading among Latinos in their communities, and to raise awareness of the rich variety of books authored by Latinos that are available, in both English and Spanish." The AAP has various resources available on their website for download, among them recommended reading lists for adults and children; a guide to starting a reading group; Get Caught Reading/Aja! Leyendo posters; and information on planning author events.

Literacy Teamates

Becoming Teammates: Teachers and Families as Literacy Partners
Charlene Klassen Endrizzi
NCTE (978-0-8141-0273-2)

Charlene Endrizzi's new book is a valuable resource for anyone interested in learning about strengthening the partnerships between parents and teachers as they work toward mutual literacy goals. She graciously agreed to tell us about her work and the ideas in her book.

Tell us about the work you do as faculty at Westminster College.
As a teacher researcher, both symbiotic roles help describe my daily work. Teaching literacy courses to my undergraduate and graduate students is my passion yet I also feel compelled to inquire about literacy learning alongside teachers in classrooms. My love of children’s books enables me to continually explore new avenues for connecting students with texts, thus enabling them to understand themselves and their world more completely. Currently I am on the advisory board of the World of Words, an International Collection of Children’s and Adolescent Literature, housed at the University of Arizona. Our goal is to build bridges of understanding across cultures through books.

Your book, published by NCTE, Becoming Teammates: Teachers and Families as Literacy Partners, focuses on teacher and family collaboration. What led to your writing this book?
I began exploring the role of family-school literacy partnerships 16 years ago when I started teaching at Westminster. I carried out three key partnerships between graduate students, preservice teachers, classroom teachers and their students’ families over twelve years. I draw from these three diverse settings to describe an array of avenues for helping teachers build literacy partnerships with families.
Becoming a mother eight years ago also significantly shifted my understanding of the power of families as each child’s first and last learning partner. Teachers need to reach out to families, investigate their diverse funds of knowledge, and consider how to build upon these rich resources as they create their literacy curriculum.

What was the most significant point(s) you learned about partnering with families?
When teachers and families combine their different wisdoms and resources, they create a synergetic force for learning. As teachers reach out to families and learn about their distinct ways of knowing, their vision of each child and literacy learning is dramatically transformed.
Teachers have endless opportunities for building a more vibrant community of learners that includes families. One delightful exploration I share evolved from an author study conducted with a second grade teacher, Karen Tarka Jones, and her students. Before Pat Mora came to visit Westminster College several years ago, these second graders carried out a Family Stories study by first exploring Pat’s remarkable books. Using her books as inspiration, children then authored their own family stories tales. This exploration concluded with children sharing their treasures with parents at a family literacy gathering where Karen and I also explained our beliefs about Writing Workshop.

What’s your personal definition of Bookjoy!
As a mother of an eight year-old boy, I delight in jointly exploring texts like Spiderman comics and Molly Bang. Right now I am trying to convince my son, Bryce that females have the right to read the Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn and Hal Iggulden, if they happen to be a mother of a boy.
As a teacher researcher, I am thrilled to watch my preservice teachers discover and fall in love with texts like Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan, Tomas and the Library Lady by Pat Mora, or I See the Rhythm by Toyomi Igus and Michele Wood. Last month I experienced great satisfaction as I observed my Reading Specialist graduate students conducting a literacy advocacy project. They advocated for and initiated classroom and school-wide celebrations like The National African American Read-In (sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of English), Read Across America, and El dia de los ninos.

Many thanks to Charlene for taking time to share with us.

May 1, 2009

SpanglishBaby Celebrates Día

In honor of Día, blog SpanglishBaby ("Raising Bilingual Kids") posted a great interview and article about Día and Pat's new book Book Fiesta. Check out the entry here.

April 30, 2009

Today's the Day!

Happy El día de los niños /El día de los libros, Children's Day / Book Day! Wishing you all a day of Bookjoy!

April 29, 2009

Día in the Blogisphere

We're thrilled to see Día mentioned in various blogs about children's literature and literacy. Thank you to the bloggers for supporting and spreading the word about Dia.

Imagínense Libros is one part of ¡Imagínense!, a multifaceted program combining current research and practice to assist librarians, teachers, and other educators in meeting the literacy needs of Latino children and adolescents. The brand new blog is written by Dr. Jamie Campbell Naidoo, the director and founder of ¡Imagínense!. There's lots of resources and book reviews will become a regular feature.

The Latin Baby Book Club is celebrating Día all week so click the link and read several posts including music and book reviews; book-centric activities; and give-aways.

Bookmark, the First Book blog, has a summary of Día events.

Thanks to the Reading Tub for the links.


April 28, 2009

NPR airs Día segment

The NPR program,Latino USA, features a segment about Día on this week's program. They asked listeners to send in stories about their experiences with books, libraries, teachers, or learning. Click here to read and listen to great stories about librarians as rockstars, family literacy nights,and changing lives. When you open the link, scroll down the page until you reach the Día photo.

April 23, 2009

Día’s First Song and Book Fiesta’s History

In Día’s early days, my friend, Jeanette Larson, an early Día supporter then at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, mentioned that we needed some materials to help promote the Día concept. She offered to produce a booklet and to promote Día on the Web. (This was before my Web days. I was amazed.) Jeannette also said, “Pat, you should write a song for Día that we could include in the booklet.” Jim, Jeanette’s husband, designed the booklet’s purple cover and a page of bookmarks that could be cut out or duplicated. The booklet was produced in March 1998 and was distributed at the Texas Library Association conference that year.

In March 1999, I visited Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA. My faculty host, Dr. Charlene Endrizzi, wanted the student orchestra to play the song before my presentation on campus and to have students sing it when I visited Neshannock Elementary in New Castle, PA but there was no written music. Belinda Boone, who worked with Jeanette Larson at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, said “Oh, I know a tune that will work with the words Pat has written.” Charlene asked Jay Broker, then an adjunct music professor at Westminster College, to listen to Belinda sing the song over the phone. As she sang, Jay wrote the music! You can hear the familiar tune (though at too fast a tempo) on my website.

Many years later, I was having lunch with Adriana Dominguez, an editor at HarperCollins, and we talked about ideas for a Día book. Adriana was interested in a story that was connected to the library. Because I had already written Tómas and the Library Lady, I wasn’t sure another book about the library was the best idea for a book about Día.

“I do have this Día song,” I said. Adriana, a fine editor, championed the publication of Book Fiesta! Celebrate Children’s Day/Book Day; Celebremos El día de los niños/El día de los libros and worked enthusiastically with me and Rafael López to develop the book. We decided on a bilingual book, and I also expanded the text.

I hope the words to Book Fiesta! will be set to music, maybe various versions. We’d love to have the music available on my web site and welcome your good ideas.