What is Día de los Niños?
Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros – or Children’s Day/Book Day – is a nationally recognized initiative that is celebrated every year on April 30. Schools, libraries and other groups across the country have scheduled events to celebrate this holiday throughout the month. Families attend these events or host their own.
The focus of Día (as it is frequently called) is to celebrate children, literacy, and diversity. The initiative promotes the idea that ALL children should be celebrated EVERY day, not just on April 30th. Their official motto is “Día! Today and Every Day of the Year.”
History of Día
The idea of establishing this holiday here in the United States began in 1996 during a radio interview in which poet Pat Mora learned about Mexico’s El día del Niño holiday. Fascinated, Mora was inspired to merge the idea of celebrating children with the act of literacy, and the following year, she started a movement to celebrate Día de los Niños, Día de los Libros on April 30. Since then, she has championed the holiday everywhere she goes and has become the unofficial face of the celebration.
In 2001, the American Library Association became an official partner and began supporting the holiday by helping to create the official website, and also by overseeing Día events at libraries across the country.
While the holiday has a Spanish name, an important part of the initiative is celebrating diversity. Children of all backgrounds, linguistic skills, and literacy levels are honored and encouraged to explore other cultures.
To raise children who can think globally and get along with everyone, it is important to expose them to different people and cultures early on. The Latino culture alone is a diverse group of people with many traditions, and even differences in languages. Reading books and attending events that celebrate culture and diversity are great ways to broaden your child’s or students’ knowledge of the unique world in which we live.
Children’s Day Around the World
A lot of countries have a holiday for celebrating children, including Japan, Bolivia, Brazil, Egypt, and many more. In fact, Japan has two days: one for girls and one for boys! But each country observes the holiday in their own way and usually on a different day.
Celebrate Dia de los Ninos Printable Activities
Woo! Jr. Kids Activities has quite a few resources to celebrate children and books! And we have plenty of lesson plans and book guides to teach about diversity.
Celebrate Día in your home or classroom with these fun activities:
Host a book drive
Enlist your students, family, and friends – or local bookstores! – to donate books for children. Schools, cultural centers, after-school programs, doctor’s offices, foster agencies, and family or women’s shelters can always use storybooks for the children that pass through their doors.
And if you have hard-to-find bilingual books, consider donating them to bilingual preschools and immersion schools who would certainly be very appreciative!
Volunteer to read aloud
Schools, nursing homes, and hospitals (especially children’s hospitals!) may be open to having a volunteer come and do story time with their students or patients. You can also check with your local library or bookstore and ask them if they accept volunteers to read during a scheduled or impromptu story time.
Start a book club
What’s better than reading a book? Reading it with friends! Who doesn’t love getting together to talk about unexpected plot twists or hilarious moments in a character’s life? And since it is your book club, you get to set the rules! Meet as often or as little as you want and make it extra fun by including an activity related to the book.
Find a Día event near you
Check out the ALA website for Día. There, you can download free materials, print reading lists, and even find Día-related events in your area with their online event finder.
Get the official book
Book Fiesta!: Celebrate Children’s Day/Book Day; Celebremos El día de los ninos/El día de los libros by Pat Mora and Rafael Lopez. This bilingual book is Pat Mora’s official tribute to the holiday she founded.