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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Dia, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 44
1. Building STEAM with Dia

STEM/STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math for the uninitiated) has been the hot topic on many a librarian’s mind in 2014. ALSC’s Quicklists Consulting Committee has been working recently on creating a specific booklist that showcases the many, many books being published that have a STEAM connection. This STEAM list has a twist though! It focuses not only on STEAM but on another very important topic, Dia (diversity in action). Not only do these books provide a great look at STEAM ideas but they feature a wide array of multicultural backgrounds and experiences. Speaking as one of the members on the committee, this list was immensely fun to put together. It will be a handy collection development tool for anyone (librarian or not!) looking to diversify the STEAM experience for children. Here is a small preview of some of the titles on the list.

For the birth to Pre-K crowd, expect to see concepts set amidst different cultures and experiences.

  • In Round is a Tortilla: A Book of Shapes by Roseanne Thong and illustrated by John Parra, a little girl spends time in her neighborhood discovering shapes. This title is interspersed with Spanish words and a glossary at the end to help readers in their pronunciation.
  • Jennifer Vogel Bass’s Edible Colors will be a great jumping off point for children and caregivers to learn colors and talk about different food experiences.

For older readers, there is exploration and fun to be had in the titles the committee chose.

  • Yuyi Morales’ Viva Frida examines the artwork and creation process for Frida Kahlo in a kid-friendly story that will have readers itching to create art themselves.
  • In Rosie Revere, Engineer, by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts, failure seems like an all too scary proposition for this small girl. Will it put a halt on her creativity?
  • Patrick Dillon examines the engineering and history behind several famous buildings in The Story of Buildings: From the Pyramids to the Sydney Opera House and Beyond. Be sure to have some craft sticks and glue or Legos handy as children attempt to create their own building!

These titles are only the tip of the iceberg! The multicultural STEAM possibilities for programs, storytimes, outreach events, and passive programs will seem endless with this list. And if you are having trouble brainstorming a great activity, the Quicklists committee will provide a few ideas to get you started. Look for the complete Building STEAM with Dia booklist on the ALSC website soon!


Our guest blogger today is Sarah Wethern. Sarah is a Youth Librarian at the Douglas County Library in Alexandria, Minnesota. She is a member of ALSC’s Quicklists Consulting Committee and is an active YALSA member too. You can find her on Twitter (@whtabtpineapple).

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at alscblog@gmail.com.

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2. The 2015 Día National Program Registry #dia15alsc

Build STEAM with Día Mini-Grants

Register your program today! (image courtesy ALSC)

The 2015 Día National Program Registry is now open, and ALSC is inviting libraries to begin registering their upcoming programs. By using the national registry, libraries help build a searchable database that showcases all types and sizes of library programs that highlight Diversity In Action.

Each registered event is given its own unique webpage allowing for libraries to share information about their Día program on their own website and through their social media outlets. Families are able to use the searchable Día map to find programs to attend in their communities.

The national registry is also a great way for libraries to share diversity programming ideas and best practices with collogues across the country. To learn more about Día and to download free resources including booklists, coloring sheets, toolkits, book club curriculums and more; please visit http://dia.ala.org.

Last year alone, there were over 6,000 program searches completed within the national registry, make sure you register your programs today to share with your community how you celebrate diversity!

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3. Exciting Changes for ALSC on Pinterest

More links and pins are coming to the ALSC and Día Pinterest accounts!

Photo by Katie Salo

Photo by Katie Salo

In an effort to increase the material pinned to the Pinterest account, all ALSC committees will have the opportunity to maintain their own boards and content. ALSC committees will then be able to share relevant blog posts, links, and resources that relate to their committee’s work and charge. Committee chairs that are interested in using social media should contact Amy Koester, chair of Public Awareness Committee at amy(dot)e(dot)koester(at)gmail(dot)com.

ALSC’s Public Awareness Committee will continue to maintain the Día page, but with more regularly pinned content. Look for new ideas and inspiration to bring your Día programming up to the next level.

We’re looking forward to the changes that will be taking place and hope that members will find loads of useful information about the work that ALSC is doing! If you have any suggestions for boards or pins that should be on the ALSC Pinterest board, please feel free to leave those in the comments.

Katie Salo is an Early Literacy Librarian at Indian Prairie Public Library in Darien, IL and is writing this post for the Public Awareness Committee. You can reach her at simplykatie(at)gmail(dot)com.

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4. Sometimes things don’t work out…

As a result of my work with ALSC committee, Liaisons with National Orgs Serving Youth, I’d had high hopes that this year’s Dia Day celebrations would be well attended by Big Brothers Big Sisters “Bigs” and “Littles” across the country. I’d worked with my liaison at the org in the months and weeks leading up to Dia, our anticipation building, getting more and more excited as April wound slowly towards the end of the month.  I’d even anticipated writing a blog post for ALSC featuring happy photos of Bigs and Littles participating in joyful parties celebrating multicultural books.

Please note the absence of aforementioned photos in this blog post.

While it’s possible that some Bigs might have taken their Littles to a Dia Day event, it definitely didn’t happen on the scale I’d imagined possible.


So, why did I choose to write about the experience of working towards a partnership initiative that essentially flopped? Because I think it’s important for us to reflect when programs fail, when kids don’t show up, or when the perfect book you picked for storytime turns out to be a dud with the audience. Go ahead and be bummed out, but don’t dwell on it, and don’t let it discourage you from trying again. More importantly, try to figure out what went wrong, and what you might do differently in the future.

In trying to identify why this flopped, here’s what I came up with:

  • I’d counted on most public libraries holding Dia Day events, and registering them with the Dia Day Event finder.  They didn’t.
  • Dia Day events were scheduled for a variety of dates over a two-three week period, making it challenging to message (nationally) where/when events were scheduled (locally).

I definitely want to try again to get Bigs to take their Littles to Dia events in future years, and I think with some effort it’s possible that it can happen.

We spend a lot of time celebrating our successes – Let’s remember that we can celebrate our failures, too, as long as we learn from them!

What have you learned from programs or initiatives that didn’t go off quite as planned or expected? Did you revamp and try again? Please share in the comments!


Sylvie Shaffer is the Middle and Upper School Librarian at Maret School in Washington DC. In addition to her work with ALSC’s Liaisons with National Organizations Serving Youth, she is also a member of DC area notable book selection committee Capitol Choices and has enjoyed serving in its 10-14 reading group since 2009.

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5. 2015 Building STEAM with Día Mini-Grants Available

Build STEAM with Día Mini-Grants

Build STEAM with Día Mini-Grants (image courtesy ALSC)

ALSC is now accepting mini-grant applications for libraries through the Día initiative. Mini-grants will be used to initiate a Building STEAM with Día program in libraries. Programs will focus on bringing culturally diverse and appropriate STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) activities to awarded communities. Up to 20 mini-grants will be awarded at $1,500 each.

Mini-grant awardees will also be invited to attend ALSC’s Diversity Forum which will be held at the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting on Friday, January 30, 2015 in Chicago. Awardees will receive a $500 travel stipend to attend.

Intended as an expansion of El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Día), the mini-grants will be awarded to libraries that demonstrate a need to better address the diverse backgrounds within their communities and demonstrate interest in hosting culturally diverse and appropriate STEAM programs.

The mini-grants are part of the Everyone Reads @ your library grant awarded to ALSC from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. In addition to these mini-grants, funding from this grant will also allow ALSC to host a National Diversity Forum and create additional resources including a Building STEAM with Día Booklist and Toolkit.

The application deadline is 5pm CST on Wednesday, October 17, 2014.

Please review the below documents prior to applying to this grant.

Grant Fact Sheet
Grant Requirements and Guidelines
Grant Application

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6. Día Planning Starts Now!

The National Program Registry opens for Día on November 1st, so make sure to mark your calendars! The registry serves two purposes. First, your library will be recognized as participating in the El día de los niños/El día de los libros events on April 30, 2015. Additionally, by joining the registry, your library’s program will be part of a national searchable database in which other librarians can peruse your program ideas, get inspired, and hopefully design their own programs around diversity in literature. As a bonus, the registry also increases your library’s publicity and gives you some bragging rights.

I regularly check ALA’s Día website for program ideas, book lists, book club kit ideas, and free downloads. It’s where you can register your 2015 program and become part of the growing Día community. The Día booklist this year will have a STEAM focus, providing enticing possibilities of integrating STEAM content into your programs, displays, or book clubs. The booklist will be out in December, and I’m already anticipating it. I have in mind several STEAM-related programs or displays, including a scientist display honoring minorities in the field; a program on using technology to discover your own unique background and heritage (genealogy); and a program using blown-up prints of various engineering feats for children to guess which counties or persons designed them. The possibilities are endless!

Build STEAM with Día Mini-Grants

Build STEAM with Día Mini-Grants (image courtesy ALSC)

Don’t forget that there are mini-grants available this year. You can check out more information on how to apply for one, and the approaching deadline, via the Día website or the Día Facebook Page. In previous years, libraries across the country have hosted everything from poetry readings, border dances, festivals and food tastings as Día events. We can’t wait to see what you all come up with for 2015! Start thinking about Día now. Remember to put your program in the database so we can all be amazed at what you’re doing for your diverse and dynamic communities!

Reminder! ALSC is now accepting mini-grant applications for libraries through the Día initiative. Mini-grants will be used to initiate a Building STEAM with Día program in libraries. Up to 20 mini-grants will be awarded at $1,500 each. Applications are due Friday, October 17 at 5pm Central.


Emily Scherrer is the Library Administrator for Sierra Vista Public Library, Arizona and is writing this post for the Public Awareness Committee. As a librarian living and working in a “border town,” she is a big advocate for diverse programming and collections.  You can contact her at mlescherrer@gmail.com

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7. A wonderful Día for everyone!

El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day), commonly known as Día, brings together the two things nearest and dearest to the hearts of youth services librarians.  This annual celebration which culminates on April 30th each year provides recognition of the importance and joy of the work we do every day to bring the two together.

Día offers an opportunity to shine a light on what we do and the rich cultural treasures and textures in our communities and our collections.  We know the importance for children of seeing both oneself and the bigger world reflected in the books we share with them.  Access and engagement with a broad array of materials and languages provide both a mirror and a window to extend vision, awareness and understanding of diverse cultures.

Día has grown in leaps and bounds since first proposed by author and poet Pat Mora, developed in partnership with REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking, and combined efforts with ALSC.  While referred to by its Spanish name, celebrations have expanded to embrace all cultures. The Día 2013 season saw a record breaking 527 libraries in 40 states hosting Día programs, representing 25 different languages. Celebrations and observances gain momentum every year, supported by ever increasing resources and opportunities available.

There is a tremendous wealth of resources available at http://dia.ala.org/, including a practical toolkit for forming a Día book club, a resource guide, booklists and success stories.  After you are inspired to stage your own event be sure to register it at http://cs.ala.org/websurvey/alsc/dia/index.cfm so we can continue to grow Día together.

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8. The Importance of Día

2014 Día Map

To find a celebration near you, check out the awesome Día map! (image courtesy of ALSC)

With the population of the United States becoming more diverse each year, working to connect children and their families to books that celebrate our diverse country has never been more important. The Día celebration (El día de los niños/El día de los libros Children’s Day/Book Day) works to do just that.

As the 2014 Día celebration approaches the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) is inviting librarians to register their 2014 Día programs in the Día National Program Registry. By registering their Día programs held throughout the year in the national registry, libraries build a searchable database that showcases all types and sizes of Día programming allowing families to find programs near them. Libraries that register will also receive Día stickers, buttons and bookmarks (while supplies last).

Once you’ve registered your program be sure to look through the new Día website which is packed full of free resources to help you as you plan your program.

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9. Get Ready for Día!

What celebration are children’s librarians across the United State getting ready for on April 30th that involves families, fun, food and of course, books? Although every day is an opportunity to celebrate the joy of reading, El día de los niños/ El día de los libros (Children’s Day/ Book Day), founded in 1996 by Latino children’s author Pat Mora, “Día” is a wonderful way for libraries to reach out to their community and emphasize the importance of advocating literacy to children of all backgrounds. In addition, Día connects them to different cultures through books, craft activities and recipes.

 Your celebration can be as small as promotingDía at a storytime with a bookmark making craft or as large as an evening event with a special guest such as an author or storyteller. To get started with some excellent ideas, check out the Día Facebook page or the Día Pinterest account.Register your program on the Día Registry and receive special bookmarks, stickers, and posters. Don’t forget about the wonderful Día Family Book Club Toolkit available for free download! A special bonus offered this month only to help you prepare and incorporate Día into your library programming are the four free webinars offered through ALSC. What are you planning for Día?


Debra S. Gold is blogging on behalf of the Public Awareness Committee and has been a Children’s Librarian for Cuyahoga County Public Library (Cleveland, Ohio)  for the past thirty years.  She served on the Newbery Committee in 1996, the Caldecott Committee in 2004, and the Coretta Scott Book Award Committee in 2011 and 2012.

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10. Video Sunday: Met the ghost of David Wiesner at the Hotel Paradise . . .

Here we are in the glory of spring.  With all the beauty just ah-popping outdoors, what better time to sequester ourselves inside to watch mad videos about children’s literature related affairs?

So first and foremost, you may have seen me make mention of the fact that I had a podcasting-related Children’s Literary Salon last weekend.  My Lit Salons are monthly gatherings of children’s literature enthusiasts who come to the main branch of NYPL to watch me finagle different topics out of incredibly interesting people.  People often ask me to record these, but at this time there is no place online for such talks to live.  Happily, that problem was solved recently when Katie Davis (Brain Burps About Books) , John Sellers (PW KidsCast), and Matthew Winner (Let’s Get Busy) came over and Matthew recorded the whole dang thing.  This is, insofar as I know, the very FIRST time a moderated event has covered this particular topic (children’s literature podcasts).  With that in mind, enjoy!

PodcastingLitSalon Video Sunday: Met the ghost of David Wiesner at the Hotel Paradise  . . .

“John Newbery ate every single book he ever read”.  That was going to be my subtitle for today’s blog post.  I may still have to use it at some point because it’s one of the highlights of this James Kennedy / Libba Bray interaction at the recent 90-Second Newbery show here in NYC.  For years, I’ve been sitting on my laurels with my Randolph Caldecott music video.  Now I’ve been royally trumped and it’s all thanks to the song “What Would John Newbery Do?”  I can’t top this.

And now, with the approach of the Children’s Book Week Awards, time to break out the big guns.  And these, ladies and gents, are some SERIOUSLY big guns!

Turns out the CBC collected a whole CHUNK of these videos and they’re just out there!  Like this one starring two of my favorite author/illustrators, Amy Ignatow and Brian Biggs.  You must be SURE to stick around for the ghost of David Wiesner.  And it backs up my theory that every person in my generation has one rap song memorized.  Mine’s “Shoop”.

Nice use of “Rock Lobster” too.

We’re about three days away from El día del niño, otherwise known as the day of the child.  Unfamiliar with Dia?  Not anymore.  Here’s a quickie recap for those of you who are curious:

Día means “day” in Spanish. In 1996, author Pat Mora learned about the Mexican tradition of celebrating April 30th as El día del niño, the day of the child. Pat thought, “We have Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Yes! We need kids’ day too, but I want to connect all children with bookjoy, the pleasure of reading.”  Pat was enthusiastically assisted to start this community-based, family literacy initiative by REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library & Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking. El día de los niños, El día de los libros/Children’s Day, Book Day, also known as Día, is a daily commitment to link all children to books, languages and cultures, day by day, día por día. Many resources and an annual registry are available at the Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). Every year, across the country, libraries, schools, and community organizations, etc. plan culminating book fiestas creating April Children’s Day, Book Day celebrations that unite communities.
Join us!

Interested in participating? It’s not too late.  Best of all, here’s a video from previous years of what folks have done in their libraries.  Viva Dia!

We’ve sort of an embarrassment of riches this year in terms of trans boy picture books (see the 7-Imp recap of this very thing here).  Now one of those books, Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress, has a book trailer that hits on the tone about right.  Let’s put it up on the big board!

Thanks to Fred Horler for the link.

This next one is a fictional tie-in to a nonfiction subject.  Which is to say, a CCSS dream.  I’m not usually on board with rhyming picture books, but this one actually gets away with it!

And for the off-topic video of the day, we all love Neil deGrasse Tyson.  This is the video of him slowed down ever so slightly.  He loves it.  Shows it at his talks sometimes.

And for fun, you can watch the original here:

share save 171 16 Video Sunday: Met the ghost of David Wiesner at the Hotel Paradise  . . .

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11. It’s Día!

Celebrate Dia!

Image courtesy of ALSC

Today libraries, schools and community groups all across the country are celebrating El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day). Commonly known as Día, this national initiative works to emphasize the importance of literacy for all children from all backgrounds.

Today children and families in Omaha, Nebraska will receive free bilingual books to take home and will make their own. In Parma Heights, Ohio children will “travel” around the world while listening to stories from a children’s book author. And in Tucson, Arizona a hand puppet show and live music will bring old-world storytelling to audiences at the Pima County Public Library.

Check out all the great programs happening through the National Program Registry.

Are you celebrating Día this year? Make sure you share your stories and pictures on the Día Facebook page. Or tweet them using the official hashtag (#dia14alsc).

And don’t worry if you don’t have anything planned for today! Día can be celebrated throughout the year with the great resources ALSC has to offer including family book club lesson plans, book lists, coloring sheets and more. Download your free resources TODAY and celebrate Diversity In Action all year @ your library!

Learn more about Día and access all of the free resources at: http://dia.ala.org

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12. What a Wonderful Week!

We have seen a whirlwind of activity, attention, activism and acclaim for children and their books this week.

The opportunities to celebrate diversity every day in libraries culminated in the officially designated day for El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day) on April 30.  Communities came together to explore and appreciate the rich texture that plurality contributes to their world.  As the Día movement has grown, so has its recognition including the publication of an op-ed in this week’s Huffington Post which highlighted the paper The Importance of Diversity in Library Programs and Materials Collections for Children authored by Jamie Campbell Naidoo, PhD and recently adopted by the ALSC Board of Directors.

That importance was expressed exponentially this week when Twitter resounded with #WeNeedDiverseBooks though thoughtful, poignant, articulate posts by parents, teachers, librarians, book creators, and most effectively, children themselves. The groundswell of images, emotion and exuberance continue to resonate.

The perfect crescendo to this momentum occurred last night with Andrea Davis Pinkney’s stellar presentation of the May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture. As the audience followed her journey into reading and writing we were regaled with the family stories recorded in her “colorful notebooks”, awed by the “thin black line” of her literary influences, moved by her connections between the past and the present, and inspired by her commitment to a “rescue squad” for global literacy.  The glory of the evening truly cannot be captured by my words. Luckily, it was recorded and the video will be available soon on the ALSC website.  I invite you to savor every moment of the presentation and continue the fine work of this wonderful profession with renewed conviction.






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13. ALSC Celebrates #Diversity at #alaac14

ALSC invites you to celebrate diversity in children’s books and library programs at ALA Annual Conference.  Learn more about the Día initiative and how to incorporate diversity into your library programs and collections for children.

On Sunday, June 29th stop by the How do YOU Día?: An Interactive Showcase of Culturally Diverse Children’s Library Programsposter on the Exhibit Hall floor between 12:30-2pm PT. ALSC’s Public Awareness Committee members will be showcasing successful a variety of successful Día programs and will be sharing materials and ideas to help you get started in your own community.

Continue to learn more about how to incorporate Día into your programming at Dynamic Digital Día: Promoting Cultural Competence in Digital Storytimes. The program will be held at the Las Vegas Hotel in Pavilion 11 on Sunday, June 29th from 3-4pm. Speakers will discuss ways in which librarians can provide broader access to culturally responsive materials. The program will provide selection criteria and suggestions for using apps to promote cultural competence in children’s library programs.

Be sure to also celebrate this year’s Pura Belpré Medal winners and honorees at the 18th Annual Pura Belpré Award Celebración. Enjoy live entertainment and a book signing by the winning authors and illustrators on Sunday, June 29th from 1-3pm PT at Caesars Palace.

Learn more about this important topic by downloading ALSC’s The Importance of Diversity in Library Programs and Material Collections for Children white paper. This white paper, written for the Association for Library Service to Children by Jamie Campbell Naidoo, PhD, was adopted by ALSC’s Board of Directors on April 5, 2014.

In addition, join the conversation at the ALSC Membership Meeting on the importance of diversity in children’s librarianship. The meeting will be held Monday, June 30th from 10:00am – 11:30am at LVCC-N252.

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14. Sharing iDías : Diverse Programming at Your Library

One great initiative that the Public Awareness Committee works to promote is El día de los niños/ El día de los libros (Children’s Day/ Book Day), which was founded in 1996 by Latino children’s author Pat Mora. Día is a special way for libraries to emphasize the importance of advocating literacy to children of all backgrounds while also encouraging Dia_Hi_Colorfamilies and children to connect with multicultural books, cultures and languages. Exposure to diversity on a regular basis is very important for children and the public library is poised as the perfect space to provide diverse encounters. You can read more about why nurturing cultural diversity in your library is important by reading Jamie Campbell Naidoo’s wonderful ALSC white paper The Importance of Diversity in Library Programs and Material Collections for Children.

At the recent ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas, Naidoo and Debby Gold of the Cuyahoga County Public Library presented a poster session titled “How Do You Día?”on behalf of the Public Awareness Committee. They invited all who visited the poster session to submit and share their own Día success stories into their iDía jar.

Seven awesome iDías were submitted and here they are!

* A public library donates a book for every child to celebrate Día and partners with other organizations to donate goods for diverse programming.

* At the Salt Lake County Public Library four people demonstrated science experiments in four difference languages to introduce diversity into the community.

* Dallas Public Library offers bilingual Día storytimes and crafts.

* A library shares Spanish language uses for materials and provides multicultural book talks.

* Each New Orleans Public Library branch hosts a yearly program geared towards Día  programming. Themes may focus on different countries and their cultures, such as Africa, China, India and Italy. Local authors are also brought in.

* A libraDia bookmarks, etc.ry in Commerce, CA invited author Antonio Sacre to read during a storytime program.

* A library holds multicultural craft events, including creating Native American dream catchers, basket weaving and Egyptian vases. They also invited an Indian dance troupe to perform.

What stellar iDías! I especially love the iDía to hold a science program in various languages. Thanks to everyone who stopped by the poster session and shared their success stories! Do you have an iDía that you would like to share? Tell us! Better yet, show us! Share photos from your diverse library program by posting on the Día Facebook page.


Nicole Lee Martin is a Children’s Librarian at the Grafton-Midview Public Library in Grafton, OH and is writing this post for the Public Awareness Committee. You can reach her at nicolemartin@oplin.org.

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15. Celebrating Las Posadas

When we talk about winter holiday celebrations we usually think about Christmas and Hanukkah and maybe Kwanzaa. Often library programs and storytimes center on one or more of these festivities. Libraries that support El día de los niños/El día de los libros might want to add another celebration that is becoming popular in school and public libraries.

Las Posadas (December 16-24), celebrated throughout Latin America and in the Phillipines, re-enacts Joseph and Mary’s journey to Bethlehem and their search for shelter. Both a religious and a cultural event, community celebrations usually include a procession, followed by music and food.

In the library, share books like The Night of Las Posadas by Tomie DePaola, Uno, Dos, Tres, Posada! by Virginia Kroll, or The Gift of the Poinsettia: El regalo de la flor de nochebuena by Pat Mora. Serve Mexican pastries and hot chocolate and provide materials for a simple craft, such as making mock luminaries (also called farolitos) with paper bags and inexpensive mock tea lights. Sometimes a piñata will be available; a star shaped piñata is appropriate and generally easy to find. Instead of having children hit the piñata with a stick, use a pull-string piñata or, alternatively, keep the piñata for decoration only and provide a small zip-lock bag of treats for each child.  Fill the bags with stickers, wrapped candies, and small toys.

Las Posadas is a great way to expand holiday programming and invite families to find their way to the library.


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16. One Día to Change the World

Children’s Day/Book Day. For those of us serving children in libraries, that’s every day. We know first-hand the power of the right book at the right time in the hands of a child. We know that reading changes lives. We just need to keep reminding everyone else!

Luckily, we have Día to help us. El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day) is one of those robust, flexible campaigns that provides resources without prescribing activities.  I first learned about Día shortly after ALSC became the home for Día in 2007. I had begun service on theALSCBoard and was asked to be the Board liaison to the committee developing Día.

It was – and is – an exciting project to learn about. Día grew out of Children’s Day, a concept instituted throughout the world in 1925 with the goal of bringing attention to the importance and well-being of children.  Author Pat Mora revived the concept in the U.S., and carried it a crucial step further, linking children’s well-being to books and literacy.

While it is commonly referred to by its Spanish name, our Children’s Day/Book Day is a celebration emphasizing the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Do you have a strong Russian community in your city? Celebrate Children’s Day/Book Day with a Russian flair. (There’s a Día booklist in Russian – and booklists in 8 other languages too.) How about Vietnamese, Afghan, or French culture? TheALSC Día site has resources. Although April 30 is the day many celebrations happen, Children’s Day/Book Day can happen on any day or on multiple days, at any time of year.

I’ve always maintained that we do storytimes on themes primarily because it makes our planning easier. El día de los niños/El día de los libros is a perfect opporunity to plan a community celebration of reading with a theme – and resources – already in place.  Why not use it? And be part of persuading the world of what we know to our core – that books and reading change children’s lives.

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17. A Great Día in Farmington, NM

One of the most energetic celebrations of El día de los niños/El día de los libros has to be the celebration hosted by the Farmington (NM) Public Library. Since 1997 this library has celebrated bilingual literacy. The Farmington Public Library does many things that other libraries do, like bilingual book readings and author programs. For several years they have also hosted a tailgate party in the library’s parking lot as part of a day-long celebration with vendors and partner organizations. Community groups and organizations are able to distribute information about their programs for youth while also offering educational activities, games, and crafts for families. I love the idea of a tailgate party because it takes any mess out of the library while still keeping the celebration at the library. It’s also a great way to handle limited meeting room space and supplements what staff can do by having partner organizations provide activities and games. Check out the library’s website for a diagram showing how the parking lot was organized and photographs from past tailgate parties.

Not every library will be able to pull off a big event like this but Farmington includes some other activities in their programming that is easily emulated elsewhere. For example, the April 30th celebration of El da de los niños/El día de los libros also serves as the kick-off for summer reading registrations. One of my favorite ideas is the poetry garden. Children and teens are encouraged to write their own bilingual poetry or copy a favorite poem onto a paper flower. The flowers are then shared in the Poetry Garden/Poesia Jardín. Children are encouraged to bring a book wrapped as a gift. In a literary version of musical chairs, books are handed around until the music stops. Each participant then leaves for the day with a new book. Donations ensure that every child has a book.

Located in the Four Corners region of New Mexico, it is natural that Farmington’s celebration would include the Navajo language (Ałchíní Baa Hózhóogo Bee E’e'aah Naaltsoos Wólta’ Bee E’e'aah is Dia in Navajo). Although you may not have Navajo speakers in your community, you can share this beautiful language and culture through books like The Navajo Year, Walk Through Many Seasons by Nancy Bo Flood. The text includes many words in Navajo with pronunciation assistance provided in the back matter and the book is beautifully illustrated by Navajo artist Billy Whitethorne. Salina Bookshelf, Inc. is the publisher of this and many other culturally authentic books, a number of them with accompanying CDs with both English and Navajo narration. There are other books that feature Navajo stories but Salina Bookshelf is the only bilingual English-Navajo publisher so check out their other titles.

Don’t forget that you can get ideas from other Día celebrations, register and share your own

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18. April Means Día!

Happy Día month! April is here and that means libraries around the country are getting ready to celebrate on April 30th!

For Día, ALSC is proud to offer participants a beautiful new website that features all the information and resources that your library needs.

Want some ideas? Download the gorgeous 78-page resource guide that includes games, activities, and program models. Download the bilingual (English/Spanish) book list which was recently updated for 2012. Check the Día map for events being held in your area and peruse past years to find new ideas from around the country. Register your events and receive free stickers and buttons.

Looking for some Día-related professional development? Take the Making Every Day a Día Day: Incorporating Día into Current Youth Programming webinar on Thursday, April 12 @ 1 PM CT. This one-hour webinar will help you discover opportunities for including bilingual literacy into library programs.

You can also interact with other participating libraries on Dia’s Facebook page. Join the hundreds of libraries across the country in celebrating on April 30th!

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19. Sweet 16

My family moved a lot and we moved right before my 16th birthday so I don’t recall ever having a sweet sixteen  party.  We had just moved a few weeks before my birthday and I didn’t know many people. Maybe that explains why I’m so excited about the 16th birthday of El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day). I was there as this Día child was born and have been a loving aunt all of these years. What makes this birthday so sweet? So many exciting things are happening for the 16th birthday and Día has so many friends at the party!

Recently Pat Mora, Día’s founder, invited authors and illustrators to become Día Ambassadors. Check out the fabulous list at http://www.patmora.com/dia/dia_ambassadors.htm for some of the wonderful people who are adding their voices, in many languages, to Día. Books by people like George Ancona (¡Ole! flamenco), Jacqueline Jules (Zapato Power: Freddie Ramos Takes Off),
and Uma Krishnaswami (Chachaji’s Cup) provide fabulous books to use during Dia programming throughout the year. Throughout April to celebrate Día, these ambassadors will be blogging, tweeting, speaking, presenting, reading, and talking about Dia! Many will be reading their stories as part of the 2011 Díapalooza (a month of Día posts) on Pat Mora’s blog, Bookjoy. These readings can be shared with children at your library. The first, by Margarita Engle reading from The Wild Book, can be viewed now with more to come throughout the month.

The Día Every Day concept is kicking into high gear with more and more schools and libraries including bilingual literacy into everyday, ongoing programs, storytimes, and displays. More school libraries are celebrating Día this year and have registered their programs on the ALSC map. (There is still time to add your celebration to the map!)  ALSC has also released the newly updated Día brochure, and it is available in Spanish and Chinese versions. The Día booklist includes a wide range of great books, with some suggestions for books that are bilingual in a variety of languages. The celebration of languages is growing…and that is very sweet!


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20. One Week Til Día!

In one week, on April 30th, libraries all over the country will be participating in El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day), the annual celebration of children, books, and culture.

This year, over 400 libraries will be celebrating across the country. Here at the ALSC office, we’ve heard from a lot of libraries that are doing some fun things. Here are a few examples below:

  • On Saturday, April 28, the Harrington Library of the Plano (Texas) Public Library System will be hosting an event with crafts, stories and an “Manana Iguana” puppet show!
  • On Tuesday, April 24, the Buckhead Branch of the Atlanta Fulton (Ga.) Public Library System will be be hosting even featuring Pura Belpré award-winning books, books authored by Pura Belpré, and a display about her life and career.
  • On Tuesday, May 6, the Brentwood (N.Y.) Public Library will be celebrating their 6th Día celebration with a storyteller/singer who will present “stories and songs of Latin America.”
  • On Monday, April 30, the Buhl (Idaho) Public Library’s afterschool elementary-age book club will host as many as 6 countries featuring books, posters, foods, and a talk about their country.

These are just a few of the great examples of celebrations around the country. Are you hosting an event at your library? What kinds of things are you doing? We’d love to hear from you. Have fun in your 2012 Día event. Thanks for participating!

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21. Music Makes the World Go Round

There has been a lot of conversation on listservs and social media recently about using music in programming, especially bilingual or multicultural programming. Music plays a big role in early literacy and language development and studies have shown that music activates a number of parts of the brain. It’s easier to learn some things when they are set to music–many of us learned the alphabet singing The Alphabet Song and to this day I sometimes find myself singing it when I need to remember whether Q comes before or after R.

While most of us recognize the importance of including music in our programs and storytimes, finding appropriate songs and music in other languages can be a real challenge. Some libraries bring in performers as part of their programming for El día de los niños/El día de los libros or another special event but of course that may be affordable only once or twice a year. To include music in everyday programs and storytimes librarians usually will have to do it themselves. There are not many songbooks available that include songs from other cultures and in languages other than English but there are a few. It’s a little easier to find  books with songs in Spanish, like De Colores and Other Latin American Folksongs for Children by Jose-Luis Orozco or The Bilingual Book of Rhymes, Songs, Stories, and Fingerplays: Over 450 Spanish/English Selections by Pam Schiller. For other languages try Skip Across the Ocean: Nursery Rhymes from Around the World collected by Floella Benjamin. In spite of the title, the book includes some songs and lullabies in English and the original languages. Unfortunately there is no music provided so librarians still have to find another source to get the melody.

Websites like Songs for Teaching provide a nice selection of songs in French, German, Spanish, and Chinese as well as songs from around the world (in the multicultural and diversity section) like Hello ‘Round the World, that teaches singers how to say hello in languages ranging from Hawaiian to Finnish and more. You can view the lyrics and listen to a clip of music or purchase downloads or printed material. Mama Lisa’s World is the mother lode for international music. Lyrics are provided in English and the original language and many songs have MP3 files or sheet music. Songs are available from every continent (except Antarctica). Even if you don’t speak the language, you may be able to learn the words through practice and add to your bilingual programming.

Burnaby Public Library in British Columbia, Canada has started collecting songs and
rhymes in many languages as part of their project, Embracing Diversity: Sharing
Our Songs and Rhymes
. This project includes videos created by native speakers of songs and rhymes in 15 languages. Often the singer or singers (which sometimes includes children) are in traditional or ceremonial dress so showing the videos during a program can provide a more authentic experience. The lyrics and other printed material and links to additional resources are included along with the video. The site is growing and the library is inviting people to add to the collection by creating their own videos so the selection and languages will continue to grow. (Instructions for submitting a video are available at http://www.bpl.bc.ca/kids/embracing-diversity/add-your-own-video.)

If you know of other resources please share them. We can all help keep music — and languages –alive!


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22. Polyglot Books

For years librarians have sought out bilingual books–books that included both English and another language. We continue to do so and, in fact, several recent posts on listservs have asked for potential sources for these bilingual books. They are seen as important tools in the development of literacy and are aides in learning a second language. Reading skills transfer across languages and if you can read in one language you can read in another as you learn another language. What I’m finding interesting now is the increasing availability of polyglot, or trilingual, books. Yes, we’ve had a few books in the past that include rhymes, phrases, or songs in multiple languages, but each entry has usually been in English and one other language. I’m curious whether the increase in polyglot books is a trend that will continue and I’m also interested in how the books are being used in storytimes and with young children.

The Little Pim book series by Julia Pinsleur Levine recently released several board books with different sections of the text in English, Spanish, and French so that the child being read to can learn words in all three languages. Little Pim, the trademark panda, is featured in stories that showcase colors, feelings, animals, and numbers. Each page has some task for him, such as finding the red item or identifying the happy face, and pull tabs or flaps that reveal the answer or the correct item.

Another concept book, Counting With Cats Who Dream by Cara Armstrong was originally going to be published only in English and French. The story features short vignettes about different cats, where they live, and what they dream about as the reader counts cats from one to ten. I was asked to read an advance copy of the book and comment on it. Part of my feedback was that the book would be even more useful for a bilingual/multicultural storytime if it were also available in Spanish.  Sometimes publishers do listen and the story is now to be released in the three languages.

So how are librarians using books with multiple languages? Do they work for storytimes? Are parents who want their child to be able to speak more than one –or even two– languages finding them? What other languages will we start to see mixed in with English and Spanish? Are young children learning to count cats in multiple languages? What other titles are out there? Please share your experiences.


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23. Making Every Day a Día Day on Wed., Oct. 23

Celebrate Dia in 2014Día season is right around the corner and it’s time to start your preparations! Learn how to make Día (El día de los niños/El día de los libros–Children’s Day/Book Day) a part of your library programming throughout the year!

On Wednesday, October 23 at 2pm Central, ALSC offers Making Every Day a Día Day: Incorporating Día into Current Youth Programming with instructor, Jeanette Larson. An effective way to really make Día (El día de los niños/El día de los libros–Children’s Day/Book Day) a part of library programming throughout the year is to introduce multicultural literature and bilingual literacy into any and all programs and events at the library where it might apply. Learn more about these programs in this one-hour webinar.

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24. Tools for Advocacy

Hows does the Public Awareness Committee help to promote library services and cultural diversity in programs to children? As youth services librarians, we are busy with the day to day task of providing wonderful reference service, homework help, book recommendations, and planning early literacy programs. At time we all feel overwhelmed and think, “How can we ever juggle one more responsibility?”. This is where the PAC come in with lots of ready-made ideas that an individual can evaluate and curtail to their unique library and community needs. Several of the tools shared below will be great jumping off points that are very accessible and will get your creative juices flowing!

One main initiative that PAC extends support for is the celebrating of El Día de los niños/El día de los libros, Children’s Book Day, which is traditionally celebrated on April 30. Founded by the children’s book author Pat Mora in 1996, Día honors the power and pleasure of books and reading all year long by promoting programs that honor multiculturalism, often culminating in a spring fiesta! As an expansion of this, libraries have an opportunity to participate in the Día Family Book Club. Up to 15 mini-grants of $2000 will be awarded by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation to public libraries who demonstrate a need to better address diversity within their community. For more information and the application form, visit our grant page here. The deadline for grant applications is November 30, 2013.

Whether you plan a big community extravaganza or just a small branch program, Día involves beginning somewhere! Here are a few places to look that would be most helpful in getting started. The very detailed ALSC Día website provides a wonderful booklist and lots of other great resources for programming.  The PAC is maintaining a great Pinterest presence with various boards categorized by country which provide suggestions for wonderful cultural crafts and cooking activities. Follow our pins on the Día: Diversity in Action page. Día also has a Facebook page which promotes multicultural book titles, extension activities and author interviews. Be sure to like us on Facebook here! Now all you have to do is get started!


Debby Gold is a Librarian at the Parma Heights Branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library in Ohio and is writing this post for the Public Awareness Committee. She is also the Public Awareness Commitee Chair. You can reach her at dgold@cuyahogalibrary.org.


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25. Multicultural Holiday Books

It’s that time of year again, when we gather around our families and friends to observe the various winter holidays. Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and Christmas are important holidays that are marked during the month of December. The Public Awareness Committee makes a special effort to promote programs and books that celebrate multiculturalism through promotion of El día de los niños/ El día de los libros, commonly known as Día, and below you will find some of my favorite multicultural holiday picture books. What better way to honor and educate others about these festivities than with a fun holiday book? Little ones and adults alike are sure to enjoy sharing these stories. Any of these titles would make a great gift as well!

Hanukkah Bear by Eric A. Kimmel; Illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka. Holiday House, 2013. Old Bear is mistaken to be the rabbi by Bubba Brayna on the first night of Hannukkah.

Sadie’s Almost Marvelous Menorah by Jamie Korngold; Illustrated by Julie Fortenberry. Kar-Ben, 2013. After Sadie breaks the menorah she made at her Jewish school, her mom helps to convert it into a shammash holder to light the family’s other menorahs.

Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama by Selina Alko. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2012. Every December, a young girl enjoys celebrating the uniqueness of two winter holidays with her family.

The Christmas Coat: Memories of my Sioux Childhood by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve; Illustrated by Ellen Beier. Holiday House, 2011. In this winner of the American Indian Library Association’s 2011 Youth Literature Award,  Virginia dreams of the perfect coat that will keep her warm during the harsh South Dakota winter.

Pablo’s Christmas by Hugo C. Martin; Illustrated by Lee Chapman. Sterling, 2006. When Pablo’s father leaves him in charge of the small, rural farm in Mexico, Pablo does his best to make Christmas special.

The Legend of the Poinsettia retold and illustrated by Tomie dePaola. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1994. This retelling of a Mexican legend explains the meaning of the beautiful flower and how it served as a significant gift.

Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story by Angela Shelf Medearis; Illustrated by Daniel Minter. Albert Whitman & Company, 2000. This original African folktale tells the plight of many brothers who are constantly fighting while cleverly outlining the seven principles of the holiday.

My First Kwanzaa by Deborah Chocolate; Illustrated by Cal Massey. Scholastic, 1999. Lovely illustrations and simple text serve as an excellent introduction to the Kwanzaa holiday as we see one family celebrate their heritage.

What are some of your favorite multicultural holiday books to share during December?


Nicole Lee Martin is a Children’s Librarian at the Grafton-Midview Public Library in Grafton, OH and is writing this post for the Public Awareness Committee. You can reach her at nicolemartin@oplin.org.



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