El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day) is a celebration of childhood and literature, and it’s no wonder that the two go hand-in-hand given the importance of early literacy development in young children.
Children’s Day began in 1925 during the “World Conference for the Well-being of Children” in Geneva, Switzerland. After the conference, Mexico and many other Latin American countries began celebrating El día de los niños, or Children’s Day, every year on April 30th.
In 1996, children’s author Pat Mora helped to bring El día de los niños to the United States. Mora wanted to celebrate the well-being of children everywhere, while highlighting the importance of multiculturalism and bilingualism, thus El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day) was born!
With support from organizations such as REFORMA, as well as enthusiastic librarians and teachers, the first El día de los niños/El día de los libros celebrations were held in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Tucson, Arizona, and El Paso and Austin, Texas on April 30, 1997. By 2004, El día de los niños/El día de los libros was embraced by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and became Día! Diversity in Action.
Día is a national initiative committed to connecting children and their families to books and programs featuring a diversity of people, languages, and cultures. The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) offers a variety of information and resources to promote Día in libraries, classrooms, and homes across the country. For free bilingual booklists and activities you can visit their website.
In an ever growing and changing world, libraries continue to play a vital role in advocating literacy and multicultural awareness. The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh offers books in a wide array of languages, as well as programs and other resources for children and adults to learn new languages.
This summer several Carnegie Library locations will begin a pilot program featuring bilingual storytimes in a variety of languages. During storytime, children, parents, and caregivers will celebrate our city’s diverse culture while exploring books, songs, and action rhymes in English and one other language. Stay tuned for more information about this exciting new program!
by Jessica, CLP – Squirrel Hill