I’ll never forget when I was eight years old and I asked my mom, “Why is there a Mother’s Day and a Father’s Day, but no Children’s Day?” Her answer was priceless; “That’s because every other day of the year is a Children’s Day!” Those of you that are parents can probably relate. However, that was in the dark ages when there was no internet. Had she been able to do a quick google search, she would have learned that there is some type of “Children’s Day,” or other holiday honoring children in many places around the world. The United States has observed Children’s Day, or National Child’s Day, for longer than Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, in fact. This year, it will be celebrated on November 20th, but the date has changed numerous times since its inception. Perhaps my mother knew all this, she just did not want to give me any ideas. 

Jackson County Library services (JCLS) will be celebrating a book-themed version of Children’s Day called El día de los niños/El día de los Libros (Children’s Day/Book Day). Día is an annual celebration sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and the Association for Library Service for Children (ALSC.) The holiday was founded in 1996 by author Pat Mora. Mora learned about the annual Mexican tradition of celebrating El día del Niño, the Day of the Child, each year on April 30th. She proposed starting an annual celebration in the U.S. of El día de los Niños, El día de los Libros. The purpose was to honor children and connect them to literacy, which is essential in a democracy. The day is now known simply as Día, because over the years, it has grown from an event featuring Latin American languages and culture, to one that recognizes children, books, languages, and traditions from cultures around the world. Día emphasizes the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds. 

Megan Pinder, JCLS’s Bilingual Library Specialist in Outreach to Child Care, is behind the library’s Día event at the Medford Library, on Saturday, April 30th from 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm. Activities and special performances will be held throughout the day. According to Pinder, “For a while now, we have wanted to make Día an annual celebration at our libraries, but the pandemic forced us to postpone that goal. This year we are excited to launch our first in-person Día event that honors children from all linguistic and cultural backgrounds. It is so important for each and every child to see themselves reflected in the books they read, and to learn about the languages and cultures of other families as well! I hope our community can come together to have fun, support early literacy, and celebrate diversity.”  

The performance schedule for the day is as follows: 

  • 12:10 – Opening Program 
  • 12:15 – Hula Dance Performance by North Medford High School Pacific Islander Student Association    
  • 12:55 – Storytelling and Puppets by North Medford Latino Leadership  
  • 1:35 – Belly Dancing Performance by Sunstone Tribal Dance (Belly dancing)  
  • 2:15 – Japanese language lesson and bilingual storytime by Southern Oregon Japanese Association 
  • 3:00 – Ballet Folklorico Ritmo Alegre 

We will also have crafts and activities, book giveaways, and a food truck featuring international food to round out this multicultural celebration! 

Leading up to the event, families are encouraged to stop by any JCLS library to pick up a Día “Take & Make” Kit with art supplies. We are asking children to create something with the supplies provided, and anything else they’d like to use, that ties into one of the prompts: 

  • Paint yourself in your favorite book 
  • Paint a self portrait 
  • Paint yourself in a place you’d like to visit 

Drop off artwork at your closest branch by April 20. Then, come see it on full display at the Día event in the Medford Library on April 30! We invite you all to join the fun at this tribute to community, diversity, and literacy. And, of course, to celebrate children and to connect them to the world of learning through books, stories and libraries.