Saturday, April 30, 2011

30th April Children's Day/Book Day

Today is my daughter's birthday and she is visiting America. I hope she visits a bookshop or library and gets involved in activities designed to celebrate Children's Day/Book Day, also known as El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Día). It is an American celebration of children, families, and reading held annually on April 30. The celebration emphasizes the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds. This is in America, but there is no reason why we could not adopt aims such as these in multicultural Australia and have an annual, special celebration linking children to books, home languages and cultures around the country in schools, libraries, and bookstores. Days such as Día provide a wonderful opportunity for parents to promote the power of books by reading to their own children. Every day of the year can be “Día,” a day for linking all children and books!

The number of bilingual and foreign language books in my library is small, but growing. Of course we have more French and Spanish books because they are the foreign languages taught at the school, but we also have some books written in indigenous Aboriginal languages as well as in English.

Having a day such as this, especially if we celebrated it alongside or together with World Mother Tongue Day/ International Mother Language Day (21st February) would mean that schools would put more effort into the parent/child/reading relationship and themes such as this year's Book Week one, One World, Many Stories would be easier to make meaningful at a school where these ideas can become quite tokenistic.

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