Tuesday, April 30, is El día de los niños.
El día was nearly three-quarters of a century old in Mexico, when, in 1996, it was appropriated in the United States and coupled with the name “El día de los libros” to promote the celebration of literacy.
It is fitting to characterize this day as a day for reading. The creation of the original Mexican holiday in 1924 followed two key events. In 1922, the Mexican government invited the poet Gabriela Mistral to Mexico to establish rural public schools and libraries. The goal was to bring access to literacy to the Mexican countryside. The completion of Mistral’s project in 1924 coincided with the League of Nations’ World Conference for the Well-Being of Children. The Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child was adopted at that conference, calling for, among other things, a reassessment of the way that children were being educated.
El día de los niños was thus born during a Mexican (and international) movement to promote access to books and to literacy; a movement that began decades ago and has been rediscovered and reinvented in the modern conception of “El día de los niños /El día de los libros.” April 30 is an opportunity for teachers, students, and parents to connect with this movement by creating a reading list for the summer.
I’ll be honest here. I’m no expert on children’s books. But I do work with some fantastic people who spend a healthy amount of time reading and critiquing the genre. I’m told that Diversity in Action (Día) has crafted an excellent list of books promoting bilingualism for all ages.
You can download the booklist by clicking here, and you can scroll down to the age group that you’re interested in. Many of these books can probably be found in your public library, and many are available in Spanish. The list also includes a printable reading logbook.
I hope this is helpful,