I. When and how did you become interested in sharing bookjoy?
AR: I was always a loner because my family moved at least twice/year, which made me the “new kid on the block” for my entire K-12 school experience. When I received my first public library card at age 11, a new world opened up for me. I experienced true bookjoy, as books became the friends I didn’t have and the one constant in my life. As a school librarian I love sharing bookjoy with students, watching books and children connect.
2.How did you first learn about Día and what has been your experience with Día?
AR: I first learned about Día 2 years ago. I have a student population made up of non-Hispanics, and wanted them to be aware of the availability of Latino literature, as well as learn about the Latino culture, using literature to bridge that gap. I have enjoyed teaching students about the importance of literacy through Día activities, and the students/teachers have enjoyed learning/participating in Día
3.What are your hopes for Día 2011, Día’s 15th Anniversary?
AR: I am hoping Día 2011 will be the beginning of great collaboration between school librarians in the United States. As a teacher and school librarian, I see the literacy gap that exists in many schools and know that participating in Día can help bridge that gap. A Quinceañera is a “coming of age” time, and I feel it’s time for Día to “come of age” with school librarians.
4. What helpful tip(s) do you have for those organizing a Día event for the first time?
AR: Tip number one is don’t worry if you can’t speak Spanish. Día is not just for Hispanics – it’s a Literacy Bridging event. Tip #2 would be to think of a way to bring literacy to your school or public library. Tip #3 is to just go out there and do it! Día events can range from the extremely elaborate, which involve hundreds, to something as simple as sharing puppet stories to a small group of children. Your only limitation is you, so “go for it!”
5.What is your favorite example of Bookjoy as either a child or an adult?
AR: My favorite example happened last year when I connected an 8th grade reluctant reader with a book. Previous to that, she’d only read Manga. That book about someone who liked Manga led to another book. Over the summer, she became a reader. In September, I met up with her in the hallway, during passing time, and gave her part two of a book she’d just finished reading. She jumped up in the air – in front of her classmates, and shouted “Yes! That’s just what I like to hear!” To that, I respond “Me too!”
6. What are you reading now?
AR: I just finished reading Three Black Swans by Caroline B. Cooney, and am starting Sweet Treats & Secret Crushes by Lisa Greenwald. Two days ago I read Starlighter by Bryan Davis and two days before that I read A Million Miles from Boston by Karen Day. With a personal stack of 250 ARC’s and 44 bound books waiting to be read, I’ll be reading something else by the time you read this. Suffice to say I’m never without a tween/YA book in my hand.
Visit Alma's blog (http://yourschoollibrary.wordpress.com/) about her Middle School Library Teacher position at Pollard Middle School in Needham, MA.
"Books and Authors: Talking with Pat Mora" is a feature interview by Jeanette Larson in the January 2011 issue of Book Links and available online. Pat talks about her work, bookjoy, and Día’s fifteenth birthday.