Menendez Celebrates El Día de los Niños with Bilingual Kindergarten Students

Menendez Celebrates El Día de los Niños with Bilingual Kindergarten Students

Reintroduces Bipartisan Senate Resolution Designating April 30 as Day of the Children

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) marked “El Día de los Niños” by hosting members of the National Latino Children’s Institute (NLCI) and kindergarten students from D.C.’s Oyster-Adams Bilingual School in the U.S. Capitol. Adapted from a Mexican holiday and established in 1998 in the U.S., “El Día de los Niños” customarily recognizes the importance of investing in our nation's children and our country's future. In the U.S., the day is also tied to literacy and the encouragement of bicultural and bilingual literature. 

In observance of this special day, Senator Menendez reintroduced his yearly Congressional Resolution designating April 30 as “El Dia de los Ninos: Celebrating Young Americans.” This year’s bipartisan El Día de los Niños Resolution was co-sponsored by Sens. Harry Reid (D-NV), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Michael Bennet  (D-CO), Cory Booker (D-NJ) , Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jack Reed (D-RI), and Chuck Schumer (D-NY). The full text of the Resolution is available online HERE.

Menendez wants to improve the low reading proficiency scores of Latino youth and encourage literature that reflects all cultures and traditions in order to fully engage all children in the classroom. At today’s event, Menendez read Call me Tree: Llamame Arbol and Book Fiesta: Celebrate Children’s Day/Book Day, two bilingual children’s books by Latino authors and illustrators, to the group of local kindergarten students. 

“The faces of our children sitting here today are the faces of our leaders tomorrow. Their success is our nation’s success,” said Sen Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Democratic Hispanic Task Force. “It is a privilege to once again introduce a Congressional Resolution commemorating El Día de los Niños to honor our youth and to highlight the importance of nurturing our nation’s Latino students. I join New Jerseyans and millions across our nation in celebrating this important multi-cultural holiday, and pledge to continue fighting to improve educational opportunities so children from all backgrounds can reach their full potential.”

Early education programs have proven significant advantages for a child’s development, helping to close the achievement gap and ensure all children have the tools they need for success. Senator Menendez has long advocated for increased funding for programs like Head Start, Early Head Start, and Preschool Development Grants that provide critical early learning services and help put children on the right path to success. 

Senator Menendez’s “Día de los Niños” or “Day of the Children” Resolution honors children as the future of this country and brings together Latinos and other communities nationwide to recognize the importance of literacy and education for all children. This year’s Resolution highlights a lack of diversity in children’s literature and draws special attention to Latino reading proficiency rates.

In 2013, the Census Bureau estimated that approximately 18 million of the nearly 54 million individuals of Hispanic descent living in the United States are children under 18 years of age, representing 1/3 of the total Hispanic population and roughly a quarter of all children in the United States. The latest data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress indicates that Latino students continue to score lower than their white peers on reading assessments conducted at all levels of education—an achievement gap that has persisted for decades. Latino authors and Latino protagonists remain grossly underrepresented in literature for children: less than three percent of children’s books are written by Latino authors, illustrated by Latino book creators, or feature significant Latino cultural content, even though a quarter of all public school children today are Latino.

The Resolution calls on all people of the United States to observe Día de los Niños by joining with children, families, organizations, and communities to celebrate our nation’s youth through accessible and positive activities that seek to uplift our youth, to provide opportunities to learn about other cultures and to invest in the next generation.