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Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros Celebrated on Capitol Hill

Rep. Michael Honda at Dia eventYesterday, several U.S. Senators and Representatives celebrated Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill.

From the Democratic Steering & Outreach Committee press release:

Democrats Celebrate Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros with Local Children

Washington, D.C. — Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO), Congressman Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX-15), and Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA-15) celebrated Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros along with local school children. Pat Mora, award winning children’s author and founder of the celebration, joined them for today’s event in the U.S. Capitol. The Congressional Democrats discussed the importance of strengthening literacy programs for young children as they celebrated literature and the joy of teaching children to read. Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros, also known as Day of the Child/Day of the Book, is an annual celebration of children, families, culture, and literacy.

Sen. Stabenow at Dia eventSenator Stabenow said, “Reading opens doors to a child’s imagination and paves the way for success in school. We must do everything we can to engage our children and encourage their joy of reading. Today’s celebration provides young people the encouragement they need to develop the habit of reading which will serve them for a lifetime.”

“As we come together to celebrate Día de los Niños, we should renew our commitment to investing in our next generation of leaders. The best way we can honor our children is to get serious about improving their educational attainment. Imagine what a difference it would make if instead of having half our students dropping out of high school, we have half our students earning college degrees,” said Congressman Hinojosa.

Today’s celebration was one of many taking place across the country to promote literacy, bridge cultures and highlight the vital role of our nation’s libraries in helping Americans find the resources they need to their lives. After the press conference, Senator Salazar and Congressman Honda each read a book to children from Centro Nía, Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Care, and the Oyster Bilingual School.

Dia creator Pat Mora“I want to thank Pat Mora, for this wonderful idea called “Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros” to promote early child literacy,” said Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA-15). He continued, “As an educator for more than 30 years, one of the most satisfying experiences in my life was seeing a child’s face light up when he or she would unlock a book’s secrets. That expression, told me that a big battle had been won. Pat’s ideas and the work of the American Library Association ensure that this joy of discovery happens every day in every corner of America, to children of all cultural backgrounds.”

El día de los niños/El día de los libros is an enhancement of Children’s Day, which began in 1925. Children’s Day was designated as a day to bring attention to the importance and well-being of children. In 1996, children’s book author Pat Mora proposed linking the celebration of childhood and children with literacy.

More pictures of the event available at the Washington Office Flickr page.

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Jacob Roberts is the communications specialist for the ALA Washington Office.

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