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