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Author outlines importance of childhood reading at SBCC

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Author outlines importance of childhood reading at SBCC

Pat Mora gave the 47th annual May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture that she titled “Book Joy! ¡Alegria en los libros!” on Friday evening, April 15, in the Garvin Theatre at Santa Barbara City College. Mora is an award-winning author of dozens of award winning children’s books, many of which represent the Mexican-American experience.

Pat Mora gave the 47th annual May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture that she titled “Book Joy! ¡Alegria en los libros!” on Friday evening, April 15, in the Garvin Theatre at Santa Barbara City College. Mora is an award-winning author of dozens of award winning children’s books, many of which represent the Mexican-American experience.

Ryan Cullom

Pat Mora gave the 47th annual May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture that she titled “Book Joy! ¡Alegria en los libros!” on Friday evening, April 15, in the Garvin Theatre at Santa Barbara City College. Mora is an award-winning author of dozens of award winning children’s books, many of which represent the Mexican-American experience.

Ryan Cullom

Ryan Cullom

Pat Mora gave the 47th annual May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture that she titled “Book Joy! ¡Alegria en los libros!” on Friday evening, April 15, in the Garvin Theatre at Santa Barbara City College. Mora is an award-winning author of dozens of award winning children’s books, many of which represent the Mexican-American experience.

DANI LAVI, Channels Staff

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Pat Mora, bilingual children’s fiction author and poet, discussed the concept of “bookjoy” during her Arbuthnot Honor Lecture given in the Garvin Theater at City College on Friday, April 15.

“Presentations like this are opportunities, opportunities to meditate, reflect, ponder,” Mora said, as she thanked the Association for Library Service to Children. The association provides the Newbery and Caldecott medals every year to various authors.

During her speech Mora talked about her idea of multiculturalism.

“We are all mutts, if you know what I mean…” she said. “We are all multicultural.”

The lecture emphasized the “importance of children… bundles of promise who all deserve and need to become readers for their sake and ours,” as Mora put it.

Pat Mora gave the 47th annual May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture that she titled “Book Joy! ¡Alegria en los libros!” on Friday evening, April 15, in the Garvin Theatre at Santa Barbara City College. Before Mora started writing children’s books, she was a teacher and a university administrator.

Ryan Cullom
Pat Mora gave the 47th annual May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture that she titled “Book Joy! ¡Alegria en los libros!” on Friday evening, April 15, in the Garvin Theatre at Santa Barbara City College. Before Mora started writing children’s books, she was a teacher and a university administrator.

Mora is the creator of “Dia,” a day for children to enjoy reading, which will be celebrated on Saturday, April 16, at the Central Library in Santa Barbara. She called Dia “the bookjoy bridge,” that engages readers in a community which is united in celebration.

Believing in the importance of reading during childhood, she took inspiration from “El dia de los ninos” which translates from Spanish to children’s day. She added a literary element and turned this day into “El dia de los ninos, El dia de los libros,” meaning the day of children and books.

Mora’s speech was preceded by Andrew Medlar, president of the association for library service to children, who explained the significance of May Hill Arbuthnot’s many contributions to children’s literature.

Julie Corasan introduced Mora, calling her a “brilliant poet, tireless literacy advocate and inspirational educator” and her books, “a celebration of Spanish and English language.”

Mora explained that not only does she want people to read more, but she wants it to become a movement, much like the environmental or health movements that have been popularized recently.

“In the spirit of Dia we need an exciting and excited reading movement in the United states today…” she said. “A bookjoy movement or initiative with compelling vision and action.”

Mora also discussed her Hispanic heritage, a theme in many of her books.

“[I have] never been asked to be ashamed of speaking English,” said Mora. “But in subtle and not so subtle ways I have been nudged to be ashamed of speaking Spanish, of being of Mexican descent.”

A statistic Mora shared with her audience explained that in 2015 about 3,400 children’s books were published by U.S publishers and only 58 were by Latinos.
“It breaks my heart,” she said.

Mora said it is impossible to help build a nation of avid reading lovers without the proper resources for everyone, even those with a lower income.

Jessica Cadiente, director of the Santa Barbara public library system, conducted the question and answer session and closed for Mora, saying that after listening to the speech, “All of us are ready to have a collective impact.”

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Author outlines importance of childhood reading at SBCC