ASU's El Día event brings together Ariz. youth, renowned authors

Baile Folklórico, Agua Fria High School

Nationally known authors, poets and performers will come together with 500 Arizona middle and high school students from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., May 12, in the Memorial Union on Arizona State University’s Tempe campus to observe El Día de los Niños, El Día de los Libros (Children’s Day, Book Day). The event is a national celebration of young people, literacy and cultural heritage.

This is the fourth annual El Día event at ASU. In 2014, local students will enjoy performances by poets, novelists, playwrights, dancers, artists and actors – including emcee Alberto Ríos (ASU Regents’ Professor of English and Arizona’s inaugural poet laureate), Gary Soto (author and keynote speaker), Xavier Garza (children’s author), Myrlin Hepworth (poet) and Aprilynne Pike, Tom Leveen, Bill Konigsberg and Janette Rallison (young adult authors). Following the performances, local professors and teachers will conduct workshops in which students can create and perform their own works. All students in attendance receive a book and an opportunity to meet that book’s author for an autograph.

ASU’s El Día is the winner of the 2013 Estela and Raúl Mora Award for the best event of its kind in the nation. ASU doctoral student Tracey Flores directs El Día de los Niños, under the mentorship of associate professor of English James Blasingame. Additional information is available at 480-965-3224 or online at

Made possible through a major grant from the Arizona Humanities Council, El Día is free of charge for participants. Additional support is provided by the Agua Fria Union High School District, the ASU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, ASU Project Humanities, the ASU Department of English, Phoenix Book Company, Reforma and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Founded in 1973, the Arizona Humanities Council is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and the Arizona affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. AHC supports public programming in the humanities that promotes understanding of human thoughts, actions, creations and values. AHC works with museums, libraries and other cultural and educational organizations to bring humanities programs to residents throughout Arizona.

The Department of English is an academic unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at ASU.

Pictures and news from previous El Día de los Niños events are available online.

Tracey Flores,
Department of English, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences