Arte Público Press, Houston Public Library Shine Light on 'Bookjoy'

Houston’s Celebration of 16th El Día de los Niños/Libros Focuses on Family Literacy and Culture

April celebrates spring, books and children.  The University of Houston’s Arte Público Press (APP) and the Houston Public Library, are celebrating the 16th anniversary of El Día de los Niños/El Día de los Libros (Children’s Day/Book Day) with a day of storytelling, crafts, music and food.

“Día at Discovery – A Sweet 16 Celebration of Children’s Day, Book Day” is planned from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, April 21 at Discovery Green in downtown Houston.  There is no charge to attend.  Families can learn about Children’s Day/Book Day, while children sample pan dulce (Mexican sweet bread), create lucha libre (wrestling) masks and take home books and other treats.   

El Día de los Niños/El Día de los Libros is the brainchild of author Pat Mora, an El Paso native who got her publishing start at APP in 1985. Today, Mora is recognized as an award-winning author of more than 40 volumes of poetry, nonfiction and children's picture books.

Día, as it’s affectionately referred to, is an initiative to focus children and families on literacy, culture and language.  Housed at the American Library Association, Día began in 1996 and is celebrated across the country. 

“Pat has been a trailblazing emissary to what she calls ‘bookjoy,’ a pure love of what reading brings, which, at its purest, is a connection, an exchange, an enrichment,” said Marina Tristán at APP.  “This year’s Día celebration comes on the heels of the controversial removal of ethnic studies books from Arizona classrooms, many of which were written by Hispanic authors.  Now more than ever we need ‘bookjoy.’”

The “Dia at Discovery” event will feature Houston author Gwendolyn Zepeda, Xavier Garza and Mora. Children can participate in a gardening activity (as illustrated in Zepeda’s bilingual picture book, “Sunflowers”/ “Girasoles”) and cheer for Mexican wrestlers (as portrayed in Garza’s book, “Kid Cyclone Fights the Devil and Other Stories”).  Mora will be on hand to discuss the literacy initiative and talk about “The Desert is My Mother”/“El desierto es mi madre,” her first children’s book published by APP’s, Piñata Books. 

For information on author Pat Mora and a complete schedule of Día events, visit

For more information on Arte Público Press, visit

WHAT: Día at Discovery – A Sweet 16 Celebration of Children’s Day, Book Day

WHEN: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., Saturday, April 21

WHERE:  Houston Public Library at Discovery Green in downtown Houston