In March 1996, while being interviewed in Tucson, Arizona, the author and poet Pat Mora learned about the holiday celebrated in Mexico. Realizing that the United States had nothing similar, Pat proposed linking Children's Day, the celebration of childhood and children, with literacy and bilingualism, creating a new holiday: El día de los niños/El día de los libros.
For a comprehensive book list of culturally authentic books you can read to your children this week, (remember Cinco de Mayo is on Saturday), check out this website: http://dia.ala.org/sites/default/files/Spanish%20brochure%20-%20FINAL3-28-12.pdf
I have a soft spot in my heart for the Hispanic culture and people. I lived the first 15 years of my life in south Texas, right on the Mexican/American border. I then moved to Chile with my family for two years and at the age of 16, moved to Mexico City, until I graduated from High School. I speak Spanish and have enjoyed teaching it at our charter school for two years. We have a nice selection of Spanish/English books in our library. Here are some of my favorites:
Book Fiesta by Pat Mora, illustrated by Rafael Lopez - This book has become one of my favorite children's books of all time! The full title of the book is Book Fiesta! Celebrate Children's Day / Book Day - Celebremos El dia de los niños / El dia de los libros, and this bilingual picture book is indeed a celebration. Rafael López, the illustrator of Book Fiesta! received a Pura Belpré Award for the book's festive illustrations, the 2010 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award.The illustrations are enchanting and the text is inviting for both English and Spanish readers. Book Fiesta! is a colorful, vibrant, lively, and appealing for young readers whether they speak English or Spanish! The illustrations by Lopez invites the reader's mind to use their imagination to really bring the story to life! Book Fiesta! is a true depiction of Children's Day/Book Day and unites children all around the globe to celebrate! The book even includes some suggestions of how the community can celebrate this wonderful day! I love all the books that Pat Mora has authored, so I don't believe you can go wrong with any of her books.
What Can You Do With a Palet? Que puedes hacer con una paleta? by Carmen Tafolla and Magaly Morales - Everyone has heard about the ice-cream truck. But this book introduces the paleta (popsicle treat) sold by wagon vendors in Latino neighborhoods. Coming from south Texas, I have had a few paletas myself. But for someone who isn't familiar with the Latino culture, this book brings a fun insight that children and adults can enjoy reading about. The colorful and creative artwork shows how you can lick, slurp, and gobble down paletas of all different flavors and colors on a hot summer day. The English text introduces readers to some easy Spanish words. Children will love this juicy treat of a book, and will probably want a popsicle or paleta after reading it.