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Book Fiesta! - A Children's Day / Book Day Celebration

El dia de los ninos / El dia de los libres

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Book Fiesta! by Pat Mora - cover art of bilingual children's picture book
HarperCollins
The subtitle of Book Fiesta! is Celebrate Children’s Day / Book Day - Celebremos El dia de los niños / El da de los libros, and this bilingual picture book is indeed a celebration. Book Fiesta! is a celebration of the joy of reading for children of all cultures and languages. This celebration culminates in Children’s Day / Book Day - El dia de los niños / El da de los libros (also known as Dia), an annual family literacy initiative. Dia has been celebrated in libraries, schools, homes, and other locations on or about April 30 since 1996.

Book Fiesta!: The Story

An ever-changing multicultural group of children celebrates Children’s Day / Book Day - El dia de los niños / El da de los libros by telling and showing readers all of the different places they like to read books. Despite the fact that Book Fiesta! is a bilingual book in English and Spanish, both the illustrations and the text make it clear that both the book and the celebration are for all children, not just those who speak English and Spanish. As the children in the story say, “We read in English and Spanish, in Chinese and Navajo, too. We read by ourselves, we read with a friend.” In fact, in this book, children read everywhere – at the library, in cars, planes, and train, in their yards, and, with a little imagination, on an elephant, when “sailing with a whale,” and riding in a hot-air balloon with a giraffe. In addition, their parents share stories with the children. At night, the children say, “we read to the moon and fly away in our books,” which is a wonderful way of describing how books can pique readers’ imaginations, taking them on flights to other places and experiences.

Book Fiesta!: Extras

At the end of the book, there is a letter from Pat Mora about the origin of Children’s Day / Book Day - El dia de los niños / El da de los libros and suggestions of ways in which families, schools and libraries, museums, community organizations, and bookstores can celebrate Dia.

Book Fiesta!: The Author, Pat Mora

Pat Mora is not only an award-winning author, she is also the literacy advocate who founded Children’s Day / Book Day - El dia de los niños / El da de los libros. Her children’s books include: Love to Mamá: A Tribute to Mothers, a poetry book she edited and to which she also contributed, Confetti: Poems for Children, Tomás and the Library Lady and Doña Flor: A Tall Tale About A Giant Woman With A Great Big Heart. Pat Mora has written books for children, teens, and adults. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Book Fiesta!: The Illustrator, Rafael López

Artist Rafael López grew up in Mexico City. His work “is a fusion of strong graphic style and magical symbolism.” (Rafael López biography) His joyous celebration of books and the joy of reading fills the pages with brightly colored double-page illustrations showing all kinds of children in all kinds of situations reading books. His use of color and stippled backgrounds is particularly effective.

Book Fiesta!: My Recommendation

When I first saw Book Fiesta!, I thought it might appeal to someone looking for a book to use for a Dia celebration in a school or library but that it might not have a wider appeal. However, after reading the book and enjoying its vibrant text and illustrations, I think that it’s a book that many 3- to 6-year-olds will enjoy any time. It’s hard to resist a book that is so joyful, and I think some little ones will want to hear it (and pore over the pictures) more than once. (rayo, An Imprint of HarperCollins, 2009. ISBN: 9780061288777)
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