Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ways To Celebrate Día de los Niños, Día de los Libros/Children's Day, Book Day

I don't remember ever celebrating Día de los niños when I was a child. Probably because we didn't really have this holiday back then - at least not here in the United States.

But for years now, my family has been celebrating Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros, otherwise known as Children's Day/Book Day. This holiday finds its roots in the 1925 "World Conference for the Well-being of Children" held in Geneva, Switzerland. Countries all over the world, like Japan, Turkey and India, have adopted their own versions of Children's Day. But the holiday didn't blossom here in America until 1996, when author Pat Mora became inspired by the Mexican holiday, Día de los niños, and thought to combine the holiday with literacy for children. A year later, Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros was born in the United States and Mora soon found support from across the country.

This holiday was created for the honoring of our children, who represent the hopes and dreams of every family and community. They are our future. And the path that our history will take, depends upon their choices and actions. It advocates literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds, as essential to their mental development and well-being.

Since discovering this holiday, I have been developing ways to celebrate it with my family. But if you are looking for ways to honor this holiday, here are a few of our better ideas:

• Donate books. Do you have gently used books that you’d be willing to give to a child in need? Or do you have a discount or used bookstore in your area that sells gently used books at affordable prices? Schools, cultural centers, after-school programs, and family or women’s shelters can always use story books for the children that pass through their doors. Bilingual preschools and immersion schools are especially good places to donate hard-to-find bilingual books. Or you can have a greater impact by purchasing and donating Spanish-language books to children who have crossed the border seeking asylum or those whose parents have been deported.

• Make your own book! Better yet, make it bilingual! It's easy if you follow these simple instructions

• Take a family trip to your local bookstore and splurge on one book for each member of your family.

• Throw your own Día Party! Invite all of your friends (or your child's friends) over for book party and take turns reading passages from your favorite books. Or throw a Book Swap Party where each person brings some gently used books that they are ready to trade out. 

• Go to the park and read poetry out loud. You can either take your favorite book of poems or write your own!

• Read Book Fiesta! written by Pat Mora and illustrated by Rafael López.

• Volunteer to read aloud. Ask your local library or bookstore if they accept volunteers to read during a scheduled or impromptu story time. They sometimes don’t offer these activities simply because they are short-staffed, so a volunteer reader is a treasure they can’t refuse. Other possible venues include nursing homes and rehab centers.

Do some Día-inspired crafts like this DIY book-themed sports ID tag, or DIY book tutorial. (Scroll down to the bottom of this post for additional links to Día craft tutorials.)

• Download a Día "Toolkit." There are quite a few of these tool kits now available online. I like this toolkit from the official Día website.

• Learn the official Día song!

• Look for a Día celebration near you! The Día website hosted by the American Library Association has a search page for Día events across the country.

• Read to your pet! In fact, some pet shelters have programs in which students come and read to pets that are waiting to be adopted. Who doesn't love reading to an animal? It helps develop literacy in children and provides companionship to an adoptable pet!

• Find some fun printables online that promote literacy. You can create flip-books, monthly activity calendars (in Spanish and English), and even your own Lotería game boards!

• Download my Día de los Niños Activity PacketIt comes with 7 reading activities to celebrate Día with your children or students, such as a poster describing what Día is all about; bookmarks for your kids to color, cut, paste, and laminate; What book am I? headbands; Book Bucks; Roll-a-Story game; and more!

• Start a book club. If you have children, why not have your child start a book club with their friends? Meet once or twice a month to discuss a new book and make it extra fun by including an activity related to the book or to reading, such as making your own bookmarks or binding your own books. Think outside the box and have all the kids read a kids’ cookbook, then have everyone make and bring one of the recipes they’ve read about.

• And lastly, run by your local library and check out a whole pile of books that celebrate diversity. Then go back home AND READ!

Other Posts About Día You May Enjoy:


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