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Celebrating & Reading Together with Día

Posted on April 12, 2018 at 6:00 am

By Gwendolyn Haley

For Christmas, my youngest daughter received a doll that looked like her. This seems like a small thing, but I watched her study the doll’s face very closely and then beam up at the gathered family to announce, “Her eyes look like mine!”

Our older daughters are blond and blue-eyed, like their father. Our youngest was born in China and is the lone Chinese American in a sea of blond relatives. For her, the doll was a connection to the place of her birth. Here’s why I think that connection is important.

I have been explaining the importance of “window” and “mirror” books to my family. Windows are books that provide a view into different cultures and experiences. Mirrors are books that reflect a child’s own culture and experiences. I want my daughter to have the opportunity to connect with both her adopted culture and the culture and language of her birth. It’s important for our whole family.

We have shared wonderful stories together, including Grace Lin’s beautiful picture books celebrating Chinese culture and Beverly Cleary’s relatable stories about Ramona. I love watching my youngest daughter’s eyes light up as she connects with characters who look like her, and I love it when we giggle together over Ramona’s frustrations with being a younger sister (something she relates to all too well!).

Now that it’s April, we are getting ready to celebrate Together with Día at the library. Día is the shortened name for El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day). It is a nationally recognized initiative that emphasizes the importance of literacy for all children from all backgrounds. It is also a daily commitment to linking children and their families to diverse books, languages, and cultures that culminates yearly on April 30.

I invite you to find your own windows and mirrors in the books we’ll read at the Together with Día programs. We’re celebrating at the following libraries:

Monday, April 30, 3:30–5:30pm

Monday, April 30, 2–4pm

Monday, April 30, 3–5pm

Monday, April 30, 4–6pm

Tuesday, May 1, 3:30–5:30pm

Gwendolyn Haley

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