The roots for this celebration can be found in other literary celebrations and programs, including Children’s Book Week and National Library Week as well as summer reading programs and programs like Every Child Ready to Read. Typically these programs seek to focus attention on the joy of reading, sharing books, and encouraging literacy.
In March 1996 during a radio interview in Tucson, Arizona, author and poet Pat Mora learned about a holiday celebrated in Mexico, as well as in other Latin American countries. El día de los niños, or the Day of the Child, has its roots in International Children’s Day, first celebrated in Turkey in 1920. In subsequent years, following the first World Conference for the Well-being of Children, held in Geneva in 1925, that celebration has evolved into a series of celebrations held in different countries throughout the world on various dates. These more generalized celebrations usually focus on issues related to child welfare. Pat Mora thought about this holiday and decided to expand it to promote the joy of books, adding the link to literacy, an essential issue for the well-being of children.
Faculty and staff at the University of Arizona, along with members of the Tucson Chapter of REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking, developed the concept with the hope of initiating planning the first celebration to be held on April 30th, 1997. Other organizations, including MANA del Norte, a women’s group in Santa Fe, NM, and librarians, including Oralia Garza de Cortés and Veronica Myers, quickly offered their support for the celebration. REFORMA voted to endorse the celebration of family literacy, and was an early lea...
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...h are mentioned elsewhere in this book that support local programs. ALSC also provides a database of local programs at http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/alsc/initiatives/diadelosninos/diacelebrations/diacelebrations.cfm so that librarians can see what their peers are doing and discover new ways to enhance local programs.
In 2007, Target became the first official national sponsor of Dia. Through their support Through their support, libraries received complimentary bilingual brochures about Dia. Funding also provided mini-grants to help establish or enhance local programs at eight libraries: El Paso (TX) Public Library, Hennepin County (MN) Library, Public Library of Charlotte-Mecklenburg County (NC), Queens (NY) Public Library, Riverside County (CA) Library System, Broward County (FL) Library System, Providence (RI) Public Library and Phoenix (AZ) Public Library.
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