About the Holiday
The radio has provided entertainment, news, comfort, and information and has united people both near and far ever since Guglielmo Marconi invented it in 1895. Today, radio continues to be an important part of people’s lives around the world. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization established February 13 as World Radio Day “to celebrate radio as a medium, to improve international cooperation among broadcasters, and to encourage both major networks and community radio to promote access to information, freedom of expression and gender equality across the airwaves.” This year’s UNESCO theme is “Radio is You” and focuses on ensuring that all radio stations from personal to commercial have the tools they need to provide the best service they can.
Radio Man/Don Radio
By Arthur Dorros | Translated by Sandra Marulanda Dorros
“Radio man” is Diego, a boy in a family of migrant workers who pick fruit and vegetables from the Southwest to as far north as Washington state. Although his family moves frequently, Diego has close relationships with his parents, sister, grandparents, cousins, and especially a friend named David.
As his family moves from town to town searching for work, Diego listens to the radio. Stations broadcasting in both English and Spanish keep the family company, and Diego measures the distance of upcoming towns along their route by the clarity of the DJs’ voices. The radio also provides entertainment for end-of-picking season parties among the workers and serves as a catalyst for the grandfather’s stories of growing up in Mexico.
While Diego’s family is close-knit, their nomadic lifestyle separates Diego from his best friend, David, who is also the son of migrant workers. As the story begins Diego and David are leaving Texas and know they won’t see each other for a while. Traveling north, Diego’s family stops in different towns. In each Diego goes to school during the day and picks crops in the afternoon. He meets up with his cousins and other friends, along the way, but never finds David. When the family reaches Sunnyside, Washington, Diego discovers that radio station KMPO allows people to send messages to others. Diego calls the station and sends a message: “Hello, David! This is Diego. Are you here?”
David, missing Diego and listening to his own radio, is there! David smiles, happy to be reconnected with his best friend.
Arthur Dorros’s story reflects not only the life of migrant workers but also the universal feelings of children separated from friends. Through Dorros’s honest and moving descriptions, readers discover the importance of communication, whether it be through shared history and stories or through technology, in keeping relationships strong. When Diego and David finally find each other again, children will identify with their happiness.
Through vivid illustrations, Dorros depicts the landscape and farms of the American southwest, the festive celebrations held by workers at the end of picking seasons, the reality of driving from town to town, and the tight relationships among family members, giving children a glimpse into the life of migrant workers as well as the heart of friendship.
Each page of Radio Man is presented in English and Spanish, with translation by Sandra Marulanda Dorros. It has become a classic multicultural story, and one that is a wonderful read for all kids.
Ages 4 – 8
Trophy Picture Books, HarperCollins, 1997 | ISBN 978-0064434829
Discover more about Arthur Dorros and his books as well as fun activities on his website!
World Radio Day Activity
Box Radio Desk OrganizerMau
With a recycled box and the provided printable templates you can make a desk organizer that looks like a radio with this fun craft!
- Cardboard box – Use an empty cube-shaped tissue box, pasta box, or any small box
- Wooden chopstick
- Printable Radio Face Template
- Aluminum foil
- Glue – a hot-glue gun works well on the cardboard; regular glue for the buttons and tape for the station tuner window
- Paint – any color you like
- Paint brush
1. Prepare the box:
- Choose a box to be your radio. In the pictures I used a cube-shaped tissue box and a penne pasta box with a cellophane window in it.
- If you are using a box without an opening in the top, cut the top or bottom flaps off of one end of the box, depending on where you want the station tuner window to go.
2. Paint the box:
- You can paint the printed front, back and sides of the box.
- OR if you want a plain box to use “as-is” or to paint: take the recycled box apart at the seams and turn it “inside out.”
- If you are using a pasta box with a window in it, tape the stations tuner template to the cellophane window before gluing the seams
- Glue the original seam and flaps (a hot-glue gun works well). Let the glue dry. Then paint.
3. Let the box dry
4. Cut out the radio dials, speaker, and stations tuner window
5. Glue the parts of the radio to the box
6. To make the antenna, wrap the wooden chopstick in a strip of aluminum foil: lay the stick on the foil and fold a foil flap (about 1 inch long) over each end of the stick. Roll the foil around the stick and press gently to close seam.
7. Attach the antenna to your box:
- For pasta boxes tape the antenna to the inside corner of the box
- For cube tissue boxes, make a hole in the right hand corner and push antenna in
8. Use your Radio Desk Organizer to hold pencils, rulers, bookmarks, anything!
Picture Book Review