Why do we celebrate Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros?

At the San Diego County Library, we celebrate literacy year-round, but the festivities around books are even bigger in April. For decades, we have celebrated Día de los Niños / El Dia de los Libros, scheduling events during the month of April to promote reading in children of all ages.

The idea of celebrating books together with Children's Day was suggested by Pat Mora, author and poet, in 1996, with the intention of linking the concept of reading to the celebration of childhood. Pat was inspired by the Mexican celebration of Dia del Niño and adopted the date of April 30, the date on which Dia del Niño is celebrated in that country.

The Mexican celebration of Children's Day originated as a resolution of the United Nations (UN) in 1954, and in 1959 this institution adopted the Declaration of the Rights of Children. Since then, UNICEF, an agency part of the UN, declared November 20 as World Children's Day.

Currently, childhood is also celebrated globally on different dates according to each country’s custom. In Latin America, several countries commemorate it in the month of April.

Children's Day in Mexico is celebrated on April 30 and is a very special day on which parties and school events are held. Festivals with games and other fun activities are organized in neighborhoods and government centers. There are also cultural and dance presentations, and treats and food are shared. Some communities plan street fairs, and many groups and organizations conduct toy and clothing drives for shelters and low-income families.

Several of these traditions have migrated to the United States over the years, such as the inclusion of Dia de los Niños in public libraries. However, this date is not only dedicated to celebration, but it is also a time to evaluate the social conditions of children, of a country, or a specific region, and thus address the physical, emotional, and educational needs of children.

Public libraries in the United States have also joined in these festivities, with the purpose of supporting the educational needs, specifically around literacy, of the children in our communities.

From San Diego to New York, in the library world we now often just refer to Día de los Niños/Dia de los Libros as “Dia,” even though it’s not just a one-day celebration. At the San Diego County Library, our 33 branches organize programs and events throughout the month of April with the purpose of promoting library resources and welcoming families to all the fun and books their library has to offer.

Celebrate with us Children's Day / El Dia de los Libros in your library! Visit our events calendar for more information about the events we offer in your community.