Celebrating 25 Years of Children’s Day, Book Day

This week we mark an important milestone in efforts to encourage young people to read. April 30 is the 25th anniversary of Children’s Day, Book Day (in Spanish, El día de los niños, el día de los libros), an annual celebration of the power of books and reading to shape the lives of children of all cultures and backgrounds. But this day is more than an annual observation, it is a year-long commitment to encouraging literacy and a lifelong love of books and reading for children of all backgrounds. As we say, “every day is book day.”

At the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, through our Lone Star Día program, a project of the Texas Center for the Book, we encourage libraries to celebrate Children’s Day, Book Day with local celebrations of this important national program. 

This celebration is the brainchild of Pat Mora, the noted author of dozens of books for children, young adults, and adults, who in 1996 proposed the idea of a day to celebrate literacy for children of all cultures, based on the Mexican tradition of El día del niño, celebrated every year on April 30. Over the last quarter century, with Pat’s dedication and motivation and support from organizations such as REFORMA and the Association for Library Services for Children of the American Library Association, Día (as the observance is informally known) has grown to be observed by thousands of libraries and schools in communities large and small across the U.S. 

Why is this important? There is much research supporting the fact that early literacy has many well-proven advantages for the child, the family, and society. Children who enter school reading or ready to read are more successful in school and later life. Studies by the National Endowment for the Arts and other researchers have found that readers tend to be more engaged participants in democratic institutions like voting, volunteerism, and community service. And it is important for children of differing cultures to experience books that are both mirrors of their own experience and windows into the experiences of other people. 

For years Pat Mora has talked about “Bookjoy,” a term that needs no explanation for anyone who has found in books a launching pad to a world of discovery, reflection, learning, and shared experience. Each year, Children’s Day, Book Day helps many thousands of children across the United States come into contact with the world of books and reading that has the potential to change their lives. You can find many great resources on our Lone Star Día page (such as this Día Resource Guide) and on Pat Mora’s website for how you can plan Children’s Day, Book Day celebrations in your library. 

There is nothing more satisfying than reading a book with a child. I hope for this year’s Children’s Day, Book Day, Lone Star Día you are able to do that either in your personal life or via your library work. And thank you to the many librarians who nurture Bookjoy every day. 

Links in this article:

Texas Center for the Book Lone Star Día page: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/lonestardia

Pat Mora’s website: https://www.patmora.com/#

More about REFORMA: http://www.ala.org/aboutala/affiliates/affiliates/reforma

More about ALSC: http://www.ala.org/alsc/

CDBD resources on Pat’s website: https://www.patmora.com/dia-resources-to-share/

Día Resource Guide: http://dia.ala.org/sites/default/files/resources/DiaResourceGuide.pdf

Example of research regarding the impact of the arts, including reading and library use on student achievement: https://www.arts.gov/impact/research/publications/arts-and-achievement-risk-youth-findings-four-longitudinal-studies 

Virtual Programming at TSLAC and a Library Near You

Ethan Wang, National Student Poet of the Southwest.

Tomorrow, April 15, at 11 a.m. Central, TSLAC and the Texas Center for the Book will be presenting an exciting virtual program—the latest episode of #TXBookChat—featuring a reading and discussion with National Student Poet of the Southwest, Ethan Wang. Ethan, a junior in high school who has published a poetry collection titled Cloudy Skies, was raised by a family with a literary background in China. The National Student Poets Program is a joint project of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers. Five young poets in grades 10 and 11 are selected for a year of service to represent various geographic regions of the U.S.

To register for this program, visit this link on our website: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/txbookchat

This program is our latest venture into the world of virtual programming. Like hundreds of libraries across Texas, TSLAC has pivoted to providing the public a range of opportunities to engage with library services while on-site access is restricted due to COVID concerns. The #TXBookChats presented by the Texas Center for the Book are half-hour programs designed to fit in anyone’s busy schedule and provide an opportunity to learn about Texas books and authors.

TSLAC has also begun offering practical online programming about Archival practices. Our Archives and Information Services team are presenting 20-minute Zoom-based webinars every fourth Friday of the month. The next research webinar will be held Friday, April 23 at 1:00 on the topic of “Locating County Records.” To register for this session, visit this link on our website: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/arc/workshops. This topic will be presented again on October 22. Future sessions include “Locating Texas Documents” on May 28 and November 19, and “Locating US Documents” on June 25 and December 17. Previous sessions are archived on our website and include an “Introduction to the Texas state Archives” and an “Introduction to Photographic Resources at the Texas State Archives.”

These programs join TSLAC’s long tradition of offering a wide variety of online training programs for libraries (https://www.tsl.texas.gov/ld/librarydevelopments/ce-calendar/) and for records managers (https://www.tsl.texas.gov/slrm/training).

Staff of the Plano Public Library recording a virtual story hour. (Photo provided courtesy of the Texas Library Association)

Throughout the pandemic, libraries across Texas have conducted a wide variety of virtual library programming. The lockdown began last March just as libraries were gearing up for summer reading, the most intense library programming period of the year. Librarians in hundreds of locations quickly regrouped to offer online summer reading programs along with other programs for all ages. This could not have come at a more important time as parents and children were sheltering in place to stay safe and healthy.

I hope you can join us for to hear Ethan Wang, National Student Poet for the Southwest tomorrow at the #TXBookChat, and at all our online programs.