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.