April 1, 2011

This Month's Día DynamoS

Double pleasure. As part of celebrating Día's 15th Anniversary, I've introduced you to 15 Día Dynamos that are archived on my site.

Our grand finale is a Día Dynamo Duo: Sara Howrey and Lise Tewes. These modest women each wanted to decline the recognition to focus attention on her Día colleague and friend. Symbolically, however, they are shining examples not only of their personal commitment and innovative strategies, but they show us how Día leaders create a literacy legacy.

What hope Sara gave me when I met her years ago in the Cincinnati/Northern KY area where I lived for a time. Sara was unstoppable in her determination to involve the public library in creating new partnerships. She also brought attention to Día within ALA nationally. Like all good Día leaders, she created a committee that she nurtured, so that when Sara retired, Lise was ready to bring her talents to assuming that leadership role. Día has grown thanks to these two amazing women who consistently teach and inspire me.

Sara Howrey
1. When and how did you become interested in sharing bookjoy?

SH: As a reluctant but competent reader, I didn’t think much about bookjoy until I attended a REFORMA meeting in San Francisco while I was still in library school (2001). At that meeting the REFORMA librarians said it was possible to do bilingual storytime without reading or speaking Spanish. What fun! What a challenge! And, believe me, those librarians demonstrated bookjoy that day as they read a picture book page by page in two languages (English and Spanish). The room was electric with enthusiasm for bilingual storytime. Then I met Pat Mora, and she convinced me we not only have the opportunity but the obligation to share the pleasure of reading with children and adults regardless of their native and home languages. For me, bookjoy began with bilingual picture books, and I still believe bilingual storytimes are the pinnacle of bookjoy today.

2. How did you first learn about Día and what has been your experience with Día?
SH: As soon as I was hired as a children’s librarian and allowed to write a grant for bilingual storytime, I was involved in celebrating El Día. For many years I enjoyed the indescribable rewards of planning and presenting El Día in our tri-state area, which is rich with many nationalities and languages. I treasure my ever-growing list of friends who are always willing to help with Día by reading in their home languages.

3.What are your hopes for Día 2011, Día’s 15th Anniversary?
SH: Wouldn’t it be grand if every single public library and school library in the United States celebrated Día? If not now, when?

4. What helpful tip(s) do you have for those organizing a Día event for the first time?
SH: Make certain your celebration features the joy of literacy in all the home languages of your community. Search for native speakers of foreign languages and select simple bilingual picture books for them to read . . . don’t be afraid to ask these willing and enthusiastic new friends to help with your event. (You can find new foreign language friends everywhere: ethnic bakeries and restaurants, universities, health care centers. Seek and you shall find!)

5.What is your favorite example of Bookjoy as either a child or an adult?
SH: I tutor children with dyslexia and experience bookjoy every time a once-struggling reader begins to read fluently. I’ll never forget the expression on a young man’s face as he truly experienced bookjoy for the first time while reading Heat by Mike Lupica. As he completed a particular passage, he stopped, looked up, and searched my face to see if I had noticed the critical and surprising turn of events in the story. I’m glad I was there to witness his miracle of reading with understanding and pleasure.

6. What are you reading now?
SH: In addition to the books my students are currently reading aloud (Granny Torrelli Makes Soup by Sharon Creech, Baseball Great by Tim Green, and Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien), I am reading:
Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1. Edited by Harriet Elinor Smith and the editors of the Mark Twain Project.
Rise to Rebellion: A Novel of the American Revolution by Jeff Shaara.

Lise Tewes
1. When and how did you become interested in sharing bookjoy?
LT: I have always been an avid reader, but I guess my first experience sharing bookjoy was as a mother reading with my 7 children. Reading together was part of our everyday activities, and my children, who now range in age from 26 to 16, still remember their favorite children’s books and the special closeness of those times spent reading together.

2. How did you first learn about Día and what has been your experience with Día?
LT: I first learned about Día through working at the Kenton County Public Library, from my colleague Sara Howrey. Sara was the driving force in the KCPL’s involvement with Día. She organized the first Día celebration at our Covington location in 2004, all on her own. In 2005, Sara joined forces with a neighboring library and the local Catholic Diocese Hispanic Ministry to present a joint Día celebration. I was part of that cooperative event. The partnership with other libraries grew through 2009, including up to 7 different libraries and a dozen community partners celebrating Día at one location together! This experience of networking and supporting each other, financially as well as emotionally, gave us all confidence and commitment to Día. While the partnership has dwindled in the past two years, each library is now offering its own Día event in its own community, so the presence of Día in the Greater Cincinnati area has actually grown.

3.What are your hopes for Día 2011, Día’s 15th Anniversary?
LT: I hope that there can be a greater awareness of the importance of reading with children, in all languages, and that public libraries will take the lead in using Día to promote that important literacy message.

4. What helpful tip(s) do you have for those organizing a Día event for the first time?
LT: Look around your own community. Identify the diverse populations that live in your area and reach out to them. Invite them into the Library and ask them to participate in Día. When people are personally invited they feel welcome and committed. Most people from other cultures and countries are pleased as punch to have an opportunity to share their culture and language with others, and Día can be the way to make that initial contact and let all your diverse populations know what the Library can offer. Find partners in your community who are already working with those target populations, and get them involved. Don’t forget to include your “regular” patrons, who may not represent diversity but who still need to be encouraged to share bookjoy with their children! And network, network, network!

5.What is your favorite example of Bookjoy as either a child or an adult?
LT: I still remember the sound of my first child, barely two years old, “reading” aloud to me! We had read the same book so many times that she had memorized it. She “read” it perfectly, without mistake, and I was the proudest mom on earth! Today, she is a high school English teacher, sharing bookjoy with her students, and I’m still the proudest mom on earth!

6. What are you reading now?
LT: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood. It’s the second book of a new series called “The Incorrigible Children of Aston Place.” It’s very clever and funny!

1 comment:

Descubriendo el mundo said...

I am a bilingual educator and what inspirations you are! I agree - it would be wonderful if all public libraries celebrated Día and I will encourage my local libraries to do so next year. I appreciate how thoughtful these suggestions are. If I forward this article to our local librarians, I have no doubt they will be convinced. Thank you!