My Dream for El Día de los Libros
El Día de los Niños also known as El Día de los Libros, is a big celebration in Hispanic culture, that to my surprise is also becoming a popular celebration amongst young Americans.
Growing up in South America I remember how important this day was. We had a special celebration that was anxiously awaited for weeks!
The schools had big signs, bookstores had special books on sale, there were giveaways, and TV news covered stories related to literacy amongst youngsters and how important this day was.
El Día de los Libros in the U.S.
We celebrate El Día de los Niños on April 30 and it is a common tradition that started in Mexico in 1925. Its origins were at the first “World Conference for the Well-being of Children” held in Geneva, Switzerland in August 1925, where several countries chose days to celebrate childhood and children.
The U.S. celebrated the first Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros in April 30, 1997. Pat Mora a literacy advocate and award winning author, was the person who thought of celebrating this holiday in the U.S. like many Latin American countries do.
With compelling data coming from reliable sources like the PEW showing higher numbers amongst “Hispanics who cut their education short during or right after high school” in comparison to other groups, I had no other feeling but concern.
Yet once again, I believe the solution is in part in the hands of Hispanic parents…
Why am I mentioning Hispanic high school dropouts? Because I firmly believe these numbers can be tremendously improved by showing our little ones the love for reading, books and leading by example.
El Día de los Niños equates to El Día de los Libros, and since I strongly believe love for reading and books overall can increase love of learning, I suspect there is a strong connection between high school dropouts and love of learning that can be inspired by reading.
It is very hard not to sound preachy, but it is simple…you and me as parents have the power in our hands to infuse this love of learning in our children through simple actions like reading together, visiting bookstores, making it a must to visit your local library at least once a week with your child, rewarding good actions with books or simply creating a special library for our children to enjoy at home.
My Big Dream of El Día de los Niños
El Día de los Niños doesn’t have to be just one day when we celebrate books and reading, it can be present in our lives almost every day.
Just 20 minutes of reading together with our niños help us bond with them and teaches love for books, thirst for learning, and plants the seed of curiosity in their brains.
Call me a dreamer or naive for believing the love for books and reading can help change the outcome of high school dropouts amongst Hispanics in the U.S., but I do believe so.
I can share with you that my son can remember vividly the early days when we started to read to him in Spanish and English.
He also has memories of being in diapers in his room opening his books and spending sometimes 45 minutes by himself looking and passing the pages of books that he used to touch and enjoy. I am happy, the seed is planted!
Have these experiences changed his love for books and reading? You bet. Will this experiences change his love for learning and the persistence one needs to pound the road when feeling overwhelmed with school in his teenage years? I don’t know…But I don’t want to wait to find out. I want to make sure he develops passion for books and enjoys the immense possibilities that they can offer.
The Challenge that Starts with El Día de los Libros
Yes, Hispanic Culture Online is inviting you to take the challenge of reading to your children at least 20 minutes per day from their OWN library.
This means you start claiming a place for your little one in your home where she can go and relax by reading, a place that maybe close to her bed so when she wakes up the first thing she reaches for is a book, a place where she can dream by traveling through the stories and teachings of books, a place that she can call her own and feel connected to the world… all through books.