The Santa Monica Public Library system is one of many public and school libraries celebrating multiculturalism in April leading up to the official celebration on April. 30.
This is the second-year SMPL will be presenting their 2nd Annual Día Celebration with events throughout the month. The Children’s Day/Book Day, is celebrated on the last day of the month and emphasizes the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds.
“This is the second year this event has taken place in Santa Monica,” said Jennifer Boyce, a Youth Services Librarian in Santa Monica. “We want to celebrate this initiative and highlight different cultures through books and children.”
The program tries to link children and their families to diverse books, languages and cultures. The event has become a tradition in many schools and libraries throughout the country. Organizers said it is important for children to understand there are various cultures and ethnicities and the goal is to teach them and have respect for each culture.
SMPL invites children grades Pre-K through 3rd grade to attend multicultural children’s author and illustrator programs staggered throughout April.
April 1 was the first day of the month long program and an estimated 50 people showed up, eager to learn and hear the multicultural stories.
“I am really excited about all the authors that will be working with us this month,” said Boyce. “I am especially excited about the author we are bringing to the Pico library. Rene Colato Lainez, has written many books and the book he is presenting is a very timely story and is a light hearted immigration tale.”
Authors will read from their books and share how they were created. Programs at Fairview and Pico Branch Library will be bilingual, in English and Spanish.
The remaining schedule is as follows.
Fairview Branch/ Laura Lacamara : Thursday, April 6 at 4 p.m.
Author Laura Lacamara presents her book, Dalia’s Wondrous Hair/ El cabello maravilloso de Dalia, about how a Cuban girl transforms her long, unruly hair into a garden.
Ocean Park Branch/ Leslie Ryan : Tuesday, April 11 at 3:30 p.m.
Author Leslie Ryan presents her book, I Am Flippish!, a book about her son’s experience when his classmates discover he is mixed race, Filipino and Irish.
Montana Branch/ Michael Bandy and Eric Stein : Wednesday, April 19 at 3:30 p.m.
Authors Michael Bandy and Eric Stein present their book, White Water, tells the story of the segregated south through a child’s eyes.
Pico Branch/ Rene Colato Lainez : Saturday, April 29 at 12:15 p.m.
Author Rene Colato Lainez presents his book, Mama the Alien, Mama la extraterrestre, about how a young girl misunderstands the world alien on her mother’s Resident Alien Card and questions if she is from outer space.
Children are encouraged to attend multiple Día events, and for those who attend three or more they will be entered into a prize drawing for a chance to win a bike. In order to track attendance; ask for your Día Passport at any location. Passports must be turned in at the Arts & Literacy Festival on Sat., April 29, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
“I hope that participating in this celebration children see themselves reflected in these books,” said Boyce. “Diversity in a book is both a mirror and a window, and I believe this is a timely celebration to do in Santa Monica.”