July 29, 2010

A New Día Dynamo

When my web team and I honored what we first called Día Champions in March 2009, we wanted to recognize a woman who embraced spreading the Día concept throughout her state. Flo Trujillo is still cheerfully busy with that work in New Mexico. Today we honor Día’s madrina, godmother in Spanish, a person traditionally chosen because of her commitment to the well-being of a child. In 1996, minutes after I was first zapped by the Día idea, the Tucson Reforma Chapter quickly volunteered to help. Soon after, my friend and literacy advocacy colleague, the respected Oralia Garza de Córtes, committed to connecting the Día concept to Reforma nationally. Reforma, of course, became the first organization to partner with me in growing Día. Gracias, gracias, Oralia, for your commitment to Día nationally and internationally.

I. Tell us about your path to librarianship and work in youth services.
“…[I]t was not until I became a mom that I fell in love with the fairy tales and the picture books that I read to my children when they were very young. … [A]t the newly reconstructed Carnegie Branch in Houston, [I met] Louise Yarain Zwick [who] had just returned to the states after spending some time in El Salvador. She was the one librarian who influenced me, mentored me and passed on her love of children’s literature and children’s librarianship. She truly understood how important it was for children to have a librarian who looked liked them and who understood their culture and spoke their language. She also imparted her vast knowledge of the classics of Spanish children’s literature. …It was Louise who encouraged me go to library school … My first job as a professional was as a children’s librarian at the Terrazas Branch of the Austin Public Library, actively promoting Spanish and bilingual storytimes, programs and services for the neighborhood children and their families.”

2. How long have you been a member of REFORMA, and why did you become a member?
“I joined REFORMA over twenty years ago, at the same time that I joined the ALA, ALSC, and EMIERT. I was a graduate student attending my first library conference. Louise had organized a program on Spanish Children’s Literature through EMIERT and invited me to participate. It was there that I met Sandra Ríos Balderrama … We became fast friends and true collaborators, working on REFORMA’s behalf to establish the children’s section of REFORMA.”

3. What ideas do you have for Día 2011 and what are your hopes for the 15th Anniversary celebration?
“2010 has been a banner year for promoting Día at the international level. … We hope to continue building Día at both the international and national levels. … As an organization we [REFORMA] will be enthusiastically promoting Día and the Pura Belpre Awards’ fifteenth anniversaries by encouraging Quinceañera celebrations throughout the community. At ALA annual in 2011, REFORMA and ALSC will debut Día and the Belpre’s Quince (fifteenth) birthday celebrations in New Orleans.”

4. What are you reading now?
“I just finished reading Mr. Mendoza’s Paintbrush, a graphic novel by Alberto Urrea (Cinco Puntos, 2011). The illustrations are stunning, and the story is brilliant. It has stayed with me still. I’m also reading Urrea’s Into the Beautiful North. I am thoroughly enjoying Grace Lin’s Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2009), a wonderful magical fairytale in novel form.”

5. What is your favorite example of Bookjoy either as a child or an adult?
“Years, back, I found my eight year old son quietly searching through the hall closet. I asked if I could help, but he was deep in thought. As I observed him, I realized that he was looking for a magic path much like the children he was reading about in the C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.(1950).That was a ‘bookjoy’ moment I will long cherish.”

This is an edited version of the full interview which you'll find on the Día Dynamos page of Pat's website, http://www.patmora.com/dia/diadynamos.htm.

July 27, 2010

Meet My Friend Father Murray Bodo

What a pleasure it is to introduce you to one of my dearest amigos, Franciscan priest and author of poetry, nonfiction and books on spirituality, a retreat leader here and in Assisi, the gifted story teller, Murray Bodo.

Years ago, I knew the poet Denise Levertov. I wrote her in 1989 to say that I was moving from El Paso for the first time and going to Cincinnati where my husband had begun to teach at the University. Denise suggested that I write to her good friend Father Murray who lived in Cinci. We met, took a poetry workshop on campus together and started a small poetry group. (I wrote about the group’s process in ZING.) There we were in the Midwest: Murray of Italian heritage who was born in Gallup, New Mexico, taught by nuns and as a child played at being a priest; and Pat of Mexican heritage, born in El Paso, Texas, also taught by nuns who as a child played at being a nun.

Murray and I shared and share a love of the Southwest, its landscape, peoples and deep spiritual traditions. We share our love of books, writing, and especially of poetry. We also love to laugh, and Murray can always make me laugh. How blessed I feel that this fall, Murray will have been my loyal and caring friend for 21 years. I encourage you to visit his new web site.

July 22, 2010

Creativity in the News

"Creativity in America: The Science of Innovation and How to Reignite Our Imaginations.” Cover story NEWSWEEK, July 19, 2010. Authors Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman in their article “The Creativity Crisis: For the First Time, Research Shows That American Creativity Is Declining. What Went Wrong -- and How We Can Fix It” illustrate the national and international interest in creativity, its importance, and discuss the fostering of innovation in our educational system.

Are you creative? Magazines, newspapers and conferences are proclaiming the relevance of innovation as we confront the challenges of a complex, inter-dependent world and as we strive to develop our unique talents and those of our diverse young people. In my book ZING: SEVEN CREATIVITY PRACTICES FOR EDUCATORS AND STUDENTS recently published by Corwin, I propose seven habits that assist us to develop our potential to enrich our communities and our own lives. Using a personal letter format, I share my strategies as a writer, speaker and advocate. Sample the introduction and begin the journey of fostering your creative self.

July 16, 2010

Sing and Dance with Criss Cross Mangosauce!

We’re pleased to share information about a talented group. Criss Cross Mangosauce is a group of bi-cultural artists promoting bi-lingual (English/Spanish) storytelling and literacy programs in the US. They perform concerts and storytelling presentations as well as conduct educational workshops. They have a CD too! You can follow them on Facebook. And check out a promotional video on You Tube -- it's fun!

July 9, 2010

Día = Diversity in Action

I attended a fine program on Día at the ALA Annual conference last week. Originally, staff from the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County  were scheduled to present Día is Diversity in Action but unfortunately were unable to attend because of severe funding problems. Oralia Garza de Cortés and Jamie Naidoo Ph.D., both known as Día supporters and knowledgable presenters, stepped in to report on Charlotte's Mecklenburg's success in using Día as a tool in dually reaching the Spanish and international community for literacy, as well as informing the audience about a wealth of multicultural books and resources for programming. The importance of planning and promotion, as well as collaboration with local agencies was discussed.

See this blog's Díapalooza's post about Charlotte Mecklenburg's 2010 celebration here.

July 2, 2010

Bookjoy and the World Cup

In celebration of the 2010 World Cup, my friend author Monica Brown created this short video about Pelé, the legend at the heart of Brazilian Soccer.

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixf_dZjI9Mo
Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/12844817