Children of many cultures giggled as storyteller Barry Stewart Mann described the adventures of Juan Bobo, whether he was speaking in English or Español.
Mann’s gestures, props and emotions brought the bilingual telling to life Tuesday night during a celebration of both Children’s Book Day and Children’s Day at the Cumming library.
Known as Día, the event emphasizes the importance of advocating literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds. A couple dozen kids made crafts, read books and listened to stories.
Mariana Loredo said her bilingual children looked forward to the library’s program.
“They were very excited to come here and do the crafts and hear stories in both English and Spanish,” Loredo said.
She also spent part of the day reading to her daughter’s kindergarten class and teaching the students about El Día Del Niño, or Children’s Day, in Mexico.
Also on Tuesday, the day honors the nation’s children with treats and games. The library recognized both days.
A group of students from the Forsyth Christian Home Educators may have picked up some Spanish while they volunteered at the event.
Aurora Konicshek said the student government wanted to do a service project and asked the Cumming library for ways to help.
The group often uses the branch’s meeting room, said Colm Wykoff.
“We thought it would be a good way to give back,” he said, while helping 5-year-old Yahir Morales roll paper strips into beads for a necklace.
Maddie Bouma spent her time sitting in a rocking chair and reading to children who selected English library books for storytime.
Children read books to the adults too, and library staff member Holly Raus was impressed with the language skills of an 8-year-old.
“He started reading in English, and I said, ‘Can you read it in Spanish?’” Raus said. “He just switched right over.”
The program was an inaugural event for the library, which hopes to make the celebration an annual one.