February 25, 2011

Pat Celebrate Día's 15th Anniversary in Tucson, AZ

Pat Mora will join the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association, for the national kick-off 15th anniversary celebration of El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day), also known as Día, at the Valencia Branch of the Pima County Library System from 11:30 – 3 p.m., in Tucson, Ariz., on Saturday, April 30, 2011. Click here for the full press release.

February 24, 2011

A Visit with Doris Gebel about International Children's Book Day

I've never had the pleasure of meeting Doris Gebel, but we certainly share a love of children, the importance of sharing bookjoy, a belief that books can connect diverse children to other cultures, languages and countries. I'm a proud member of USBBY and am always inspired by the good work they do. I so hope that more and more schools and libraries will celebrate International Children's Book Day on April 2 and that more teachers and librarians will join USBBY. This organization has steadily supported Día. ¡Gracias!

Let's begin with an introduction.
DG: I am the Head of Youth Services at the Northport-East Northport Public Library in New York. I've taught Children's Literature and International Children's Literature at St. Joseph's College and Children's Literature at the Palmer School of Library and Information Science. I was privileged to serve on the 2003 Mildred L. Batchelder Award Committee and the 2006 Newbery Committee and as a long time member of USBBY was proud to edit the third annotated bibliography Crossing Boundaries with Children's Books (Scarecrow, 2006). I am currently serving on the USBBY Board as President-elect.

1. Tell us about USBBY.
DG: USBBY serves as the U.S. national section of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), which was founded to promote international understanding and good will through books for children and teenagers. The organization, founded by Jella Lepman in 1953, aims to give children everywhere the opportunity to have access to books with high literary and artistic standards; to encourage the publication and distribution of quality children's books, especially in developing countries; to provide support and training for those involved with children and children's literature and to stimulate research and scholarly works in the field of children's literature.

2. What is International Children’s Book Day? Tell us about this year’s celebration plans.
DG: Since 1967, on or around Hans Christian Andersen's birthday, 2 April, International Children's Book Day (ICBD) is celebrated to inspire a love of reading and to call attention to children's books. Each year a National Section of IBBY sponsors the International Children's Book Day creating a poster and inviting a prominent author of children's books to write a message promoting reading. This year's poster and message is available both on the USBBY webpage and the IBBY webpage and may be reproduced by anyone wanting to promote a love of reading. All types of celebrations around children's books and other special events that may include encounters with authors and illustrators, writing competitions or announcements of book awards are encouraged. In an effort to increase awareness of International Children's Book Day, USBBY has developed a webpage so that teachers, educators and librarians can share ideas for programs, lessons and activities in the home to encourage a love of reading and promote international understanding.

3. Do you see ICBD as a part of Día de los niños, Día de los libros’ emphasis of linking all children to books, languages, and cultures?
DG: Both El día de los niños/El día de los libros and International Children's Book Day have similar and complementary goals: inspiring a love of reading and advocating for literacy, celebrating the cultural backgrounds of children the world over through literacy efforts. It is fitting that the month of April begins with International Children's Book Day and culminates with El Día de los niños, Día de los libros. Pat Mora says it best with the phrase that she has coined -- Bookjoy! Everyday is a good day to share books with children and it is our hope that these special days stimulate literacy efforts all year round.

February 17, 2011

Pat’s Visit to Zavala Elementary School

This past September, I received an e-mail from a young school librarian. She had heard that I was going to be speaking in my home city of El Paso, Texas, and she wrote urging me to visit her school. She spoke of her commitment to El día de los niños / El día de los libros ( Día) and promised me that her students would be well-prepared for my visit and well-behaved. I called Lisa and gained energy and inspiration from her excitement about sharing bookjoy. Meeting her was a highlight of 2010. Thanks, Lisa, for making me feel so welcome and Zavala Elementary and for preparing such a special morning for me.

1. Why did you become a librarian?
LL: I was born in El Paso, Texas but grew up across the border in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua until I was thirteen years old. Since I completed my elementary education in a city where libraries are non-existent, the first thing I did when I moved to El Paso, TX from Juarez, was to sign-up for a public library card. I recall feeling right at home every time I set foot in such a wondrous print-rich environment. By the time I finished my undergraduate degree in early childhood education, I could not help but feel a void in my professional accomplishments. I decided to apply to graduate school at the University of North Texas and pursue a Masters in Library and Information Science, which I have just completed in the summer of 2010! I love being a librarian and instilling a love of literature and reading.

2. What are some of the comments students made following the author visit?
LL: Students were so excited to meet Pat Mora! They kept making remarks about her upbringing in El Paso TX, and her founding of the Día celebration that allowed them to relate to her creative work. Our students keep checking out her books with such enthusiasm that there is a waiting list to check out her autographed copies.

3. Why did you think an author visit was important and how did you prepare for the visit?
LL: An author school visit is always such an honor to host because not only do they motivate students to read more, they also give students hope that maybe someday they too can be acclaimed authors. Hosting Pat Mora at our campus was such an enlightening experience not just because we hold 27 copies of her books, but because of her founding of El Día de Los Niños – Día de Los Libros. This literary fiesta is famously celebrated in our hometown of El Paso, TX. As a lover of literature and advocate of libraries, I have volunteered in previous Día celebrations as a storyteller. Preparing for her school visit was so memorable because her arrival coincided with the first day of National Hispanic Heritage Month! I personally decorated our cafeteria auditorium with festive Mexican “papel picado” flags, miniature piñatas, student-made welcoming banners, a myriad of her books, and the US-Mexico Consulate donated books in Spanish for children. The procession ended with the distribution of “Marranitos” Mexican sweet bread for every student. I purchased these treats at Bowie Bakery, the famous bakery in El Paso depicted in Mrs. Mora’s The Bakery Lady, a Zavala favorite!

4. Why is Día important to you and how do you hope to celebrate Día’s 15th Anniversary?
LL: Our Dia Celebration is so important to me because it is the greatest opportunity to cherish books, reading, and family literacy in general. As the all-time favorite saying goes "Los Padres y Ninos que leen juntos, crecen juntos", “The family that reads together, grows together” and so it is my primary goal to witness the flourishing of a community of readers. Books and storytelling are capable of bridging the gap between generations and thus bringing everybody closer together. Our school community makes plans way ahead of time to take everybody along in the family to celebrate Día at Washington Park. Last year alone, 20,000 gathered to celebrate here in our border area!

Día’s 15th Anniversary will be celebrated similarly to last year with one difference. I will plan for a thematic unit at our library on fairytales and folktales in which students will get to create their own folktales and perform those using marionettes. We’ll record the performances to create a digital storytelling event at our campus. A group of students will also accompany me to Día’s celebration to perform their folktales at the storytelling booth. I’m adding something new for the anniversary and implementing a family literacy month throughout March. This will prepare my students who are storytelling at the actual Día celebration. In addition, children and families will get the opportunity to enjoy live theatrical plays based on classic folk tales and fairy tales using my marionette set. The family literacy program will take place on every Saturday of March for two hours of performance and read alouds at Washington Park (where the real Día celebrations take place!). I will make flyers for families to advertise and motivate them to attend.

5. What are you reading now?
LL: Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

15 Día Nuggets: #9 Literacy-focused Craft Ideas for Children and Families

One more Nugget today, resulting in #s 1-9 available individually and as a downloadable packet.

To assist those of you planning Día celebrations at your schools, libraries, etc., we’re sharing 15 Día Nuggets, 15 lists of 15 items to assist you in your planning. During our second Díapalooza during April 2011, we’ll showcase the 15 Día Dynamos, 15 Mora Award winners and the 15 Día Nuggets, etc.

15 Día Nuggets for Día’s 15th Anniversary
Nugget #9 Literacy-focused Craft Ideas for Children and Families

Here’s a wonderful opportunity to involve teen or college helpers and service organizations.

1. Make paper plate clocks, printing “Time to Read” on each clock face. Decorate.

2. Embellish canvas bags with fabric paint and use as book bags.

3. Create personalized bookmarks, bookends, and bookcases (use cardboard boxes) using stick-on foam shapes and gems and colored stickers. Use blank stickers too, so kids can write a reading slogan or book recommendations.

4. Plant a Poetry Garden. Write poems, paste them on sticks and plant them outside of the school or library.

5. Make accordion books with the last panel pre-printed with the words LOVES READING! Children can write their name on the beginning panels and decorate the book with collage, colored pencils or paints.

6. Make papier-mâché globes and let each child note the different countries they’ve read about with colored sticker dots. Use the globes in a display of books set in other countries.

7. Make memory books with stories and pictures about reading and books.

8. Take photos of kids reading in a special chair (a reading throne) they’ve helped decorate. Buy cardboard or foam photo frames that each child can decorate.

9. Construct masks of favorite characters from books.

10. Distribute envelopes containing a pre-made paper booklet and cutouts of pictures and photos. Each child writes a story about the pictures and uses them to illustrate the story.

11. For very young children, create reading puppets using cutouts glued to craft sticks.

12. Use recycled papers (printed on one side) to make personal reading logs. Use recycled book jackets or patterned papers for covers.

13. Create necklaces of words.

14. Create a Día Alphabet mural or frieze, associating a word or short phrase about Día with each letter of the alphabet such as “F – Families.” Decorate and hang on the wall or use as a banner in a hallway.

15. Use a template to create book-shaped magnets. Color image with colored pencils and laminate, then glue magnet to back.

February 14, 2011

A New Design

Today we've posted a new blog banner, the beginning of changes in my Site and Newsletter banner and format. I'll let you know when the other changes are complete and hope that you like the consistent design we'll be featuring.

I now have an Author Page on Facebook. I hope you'll visit for book news and reviews, or comment about a favorite book, share a lesson plan, or just click “like.”

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day to each of you who visits my blog! In Spanish, this day has various names. My favorite is El día del amor y de la amistad  because the name celebrates both love and friendship.

Love is all around ... all year long. My book for teens, Dizzy in Your Eyes, is a collection of 50 poems about love.

"Teachers in need of a fresh new avenue for teaching poetic form, lovers of language, and teens in search of a broader definition of love will find it here.” - School Library Journal

February 10, 2011

Creativity Interview: Marina Tristan

What a pleasure to introduce blog visitors to my friend Marina Tristan. One of the joys of this blog is connecting visitors to people I like, respect and find interesting. How long have I known Marina? Have I ever not known her I ask myself. My first book, CHANTS, a poetry collection was published in 1984 by Arte Público Press, and I'll always be grateful to AP for that act of faith. Marina and her colleague Carmen Peña Abrego are so essential to my relationship and my mental image of AP, that I can't imagine the Press without them. Ever modest, in the interview below, Marina has focused on her practical skills, and they are many. What matters to me about Marina is her caring, her thoughtfulness, her warmth, her reliability, her laugh. I've never met a single person who doesn't like and respect her. A high standard for the rest of us.

An introduction: My name is Marina Tristán, and I’m a mother, daughter, sister, friend. And the assistant director of Arte Público Press, the oldest publisher of U.S. Hispanic literature.

1. Do you think of yourself as creative?
MT: Not at all! If you ask my friends and colleagues to describe me in a word or two, they would say that I’m practical, matter of fact, pragmatic. I don’t think I was encouraged to be creative when I was a child. Or maybe it’s just my personality, or maybe it’s that life demands I be productive. I certainly enjoy and appreciate all kinds of creativity, from literature to film and music. I have read voraciously all of my life, and I listen to a wide array of music constantly. But when people ask me if I write, I always say “No!” I have come to realize that I DO write, though it’s usually communication that’s geared to being clear and efficient (another word my friends would use to describe me). But when I write copy to describe books that we publish, there’s definitely an element of creativity involved. What words and images should I use to intrigue potential readers without giving the story away?

2. How do you nurture your creativity?
MT: At this point in my life, it’s important to nurture creative thinking in ways that don’t require much of a learning curve. Someday I’ll take knitting and dance lessons. But for now, because I’m a reader, I consciously hang on to words, phrases, headlines. I read the newspaper every day, not only to be informed, but to be inspired. I’m a fan of NPR’s Storycorps and tune into that kind of programming for inspiration. I also make time for movies and live performances to fulfill my appreciation for creative arts.

3. Do you have a space that helps you be more creative?
MT: The kitchen, at least when I’m not cooking for company! But seriously, I’m fortunate to work with a group of smart and creative women who are great to brainstorm with. We enjoy gathering around the table in my office and debating which words or phrases are just the right ones to describe authors, books, events. It’s important, I think, to be able to throw out ideas without fear of embarrassment or humiliation. The work we do in promoting books and authors published by Arte Público is made more powerful by our collaborative spirit.

4. In what ways does creativity shape your work and your life?
MT: I think “creativity” has been an important component in my life as a way to make things work. Whether we’re short of resources at work—human or financial—or I’m juggling too much between responsibilities as a mother, daughter, or friend, thinking “creatively” helps me to do more than I initially think I can. And of course I have been fortunate to be involved with books and authors for 25 years at Arte Público, and working in an environment where producing books is our daily work means that creativity is something I experience daily.

5. Has any book been particularly helpful in trusting or developing your creativity?
MT: Sometimes the simplest concepts are the most creative. I’m excited about a bilingual picture book Arte Público is publishing this spring. The Land of Lost Things/ El país de las cosas perdidas epitomizes imagination and creativity. It’s about a young boy who loses his blue pencil and imagines entering—through his pencil box—a strange and mysterious land.

February 3, 2011

A New Día Dynamo

When I met Mark Smith at the Austin Public Library in 1997, he was Director of Communications at the Texas Library Association (TLA). Mark was organizing tapings for the PSA video for "Read for Your Life", a TLA media campaign. I believe Jeanette Larson was there and Pat Smith, TLA's dynamic Executive Director, who always supports me and Día. Mark has instinctively understood Día’s importance and potential and has articulated his commitment within ALA. In California, Mark has been a catalyst for Día’s growth state-wide, an administrator who invests in people and who works to connect America’s diverse children to literacy. Gracias, Mark!

I. When and how did you become interested in sharing bookjoy?
MS: I have been convinced that books and reading can change lives since I was a teenager. I loved reading when I was a child and my love of books has always been a sustaining part of my life. My work as a librarian has given me the perfect opportunity to work in a career where I can encourage and promote reading on a systemic level.

2. How did you first learn about Día and what has been your experience with Día?
MS: I first learned about Día when I worked for the Texas Library Association and met Pat Mora, Oralia Garza de Cortes and others who were using Día as a vehicle to encourage reading as well as a respect for multicultural expression in children’s books. In moving to California and working with libraries here, I was eager to try to promote Día in our communities and on a statewide basis. 2011 will mark the 8th annual Día celebration in the Riverside County System and we hold Día events in all 33 of our libraries here, organized by our very talented outreach coordinator, Arlene Cano. I have also worked with other librarians in California to try to promote a statewide Día celebration through the California State Library.

3. What are your hopes for Día 2011, Día’s15th Anniversary?
MS: I continue to hope that more and more libraries will participate in this important celebration. I hope that more states will become so-called “Día states” and I remain hopeful that the Association for Library Services to Children, the American Library Association and other library associations will recognize the huge potential of Día and actively promote and encourage Día celebrations in all libraries in the U.S.

4. What helpful tip(s) do you have for those organizing a Día event for the first time?
MS: Keep it focused on books and reading first and remember that a modest program is much better than no program at all.

5. What is your favorite example of Bookjoy as either a child or an adult?
MS: I will never forget the experience of seeing Pat Mora reading to a group of parents and children at our first annual Día event under a shady tree at our Coachella Library. While they were transfixed to have a real published author read to them, I clearly observed the full transformative power of Día.

6. What are you reading now?
MS: A Swedish mystery novel called Three Seconds, but in my defense, I just finished Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa.



This week, SLJ's Curriculum Connections features many authors many authors, including myself, talking about a favorite children’s book about the black experience. We enjoy children's books by African American authors and illustrators all year long. Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, etc. serve as opportunities to savor the work of those who weren't always seen as creators of books for America's children.

February 2, 2011

15 Día Nuggets: #7 Día's Full Name in 15 Languages

We're catching up with the Día Nuggets, posting #7 today, resulting in #s 1-8 available individually and as a downloadable packet.

To assist those of you planning Día celebrations at your schools, libraries, etc., we’re sharing 15 Día Nuggets, 15 lists of 15 items to assist you in your planning. During our second Díapalooza during April 2011, we’ll showcase the 15 Día Dynamos, 15 Mora Award winners and the 15 Día Nuggets, etc. Click here to read blog posts from our first Díapalooza!

15 Día Nuggets for Día’s 15th Anniversary
Nugget #6 What Every Día Advocate Needs to Know
El día de los niños, El día de los libros/Children’s Day, Book Day
1. American Sign Language: click here to view video

2. Chinese:

3. Croatian: Dječji dan, Dan knjiga

4. French: Le Jour des Enfants, Le Jour de les Livres

5. German: Kinderstag, Der Tag der Bücher

6. Greek: Ημέρα του Παιδιού, ημέρα βιβλίου

7. Hindi: Bacche ka din, Kitab ka din (Punjabi: Bacche da din, Kitab da din)

8. Italian: La Festa dei bambini, La Festa dei libri

9. Navaho: Ałchíní Baa Hózhóogo Bee E'e'aah Naaltsoos Wólta' Bee E'e'aah

10. Polish: Dzień Dziecka, Dzień Książki

11. Portuguese: Dia da criança, Dia do livro

12.Russian: Детский день, книжный день OR День де т ей, День книги

13. Swahili: Siku ya Watoto, Siku ya Vitabu

14. Tagalog: Ang araw ng bata, Ang araw ng aklat

15. Vietnamese: Ngày Nhi-đồng/Ngày Thư-viện