Monday, April 30, 2012

Three Books by Pat Mora in Honor of El día de los niños/El día de los libros

Today is Children's (Book) Day. Sponsored each year on April 30 by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC, a division of the American Library Association) Children's Day ("Día") celebrates reading and multicultural children's literature. Although many other countries have been celebrating Children's Day since as early as 1925, it was not recognized in the United States until the 1990s, and even so, is not celebrated widely outside of libraries.

Children's author, Pat Mora, originally proposed linking Children's Day with literacy. Her brightly illustrated book Book Fiesta celebrates children, books, imagination, and reading, in two languages (English and Spanish). Children in the work read to each other in cars, planes, trains and "la biblioteca también" (the library too). This work was the 2010 the winner of the Pura Belpre Award.

Tomás  y la señora de la biblioteca (Tomas and the Library Lady) tells the true story of Tomas Rivera. Rivera grew up in a family of migrant workers and loved listening to his grandfather tell stories. When he discovers the public library his love for books and reading is fostered by the librarian. Eventually earning his Ph.D., Rivera became a leader in education. This is a truly an inspirational story about how librarians can change lives.

Sor Juana Ines was a mystic, nun, and poet who lived in Mexico during the 17th century. In Una biblioteca para Juana: el mundo de Sor Juana Inés, (A Library for Juana: the world of Sor Juana Ines) we learn about young Juana who was so fascinated with books and reading from a very young age, that she followed her sister to school before she was old enough, and told her mother that she wanted to attend the University in Mexico City when she grew up because "alli hay una universidad muy grande que tiene una biblioteca con miles de libros" (there is a great big university there that has a library with thousands of books). Unable to attend the university because only men could study there, she became the personal assistant of the viceroy where she had access to the palace library. Recognizing that becoming a nun was the only way for a woman of her time to continue studying she entered the convent where she built "una de las mas grandes bibliotecas de las Americas" (one of the largest libraries in the Americas). This book is a testament to the love of lifelong  learning.

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