On Friday, Sept. 15, millions of people in 169 countries will celebrate International Dot Day, and among them will be students and faculty members at William E. Russell Elementary School in Dorchester, Massachusetts — a historic neighborhood of Boston known locally as “Dot.”
Inspired by Peter H. Reynolds’s acclaimed picture book The Dot, in 2009 Iowa educator Terry Shay and his students decided to celebrate creativity and courage on Sept. 15. The Dot is the heartwarming story of a perceptive and caring teacher and a reluctant student who thinks she can’t draw. Vashti’s teacher encourages her to trust in her own abilities and be brave enough to “just make a mark and see where it takes you.”
Exploring the themes of creativity, bravery, and self-expression, The Dot has been translated into many languages, including Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, French, Spanish, and even braille. Since International Dot Day’s founding, over 9.5 million educators, schoolchildren, celebrities, and everyday readers have spread Reynolds’s message by creating their own dots and sharing them via Pinterest, Twitter, and classroom walls, among other outlets.
This year, Reynolds himself will celebrate Dot Day at Russell Elementary School with 375 students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
“Picture books can change lives, and The Dot is doing it around the world with children and adults who are being encouraged to make their mark. We’re proud to be able to take care of these awesome students right here in our own backyard,” said Karen Lotz, president of Candlewick Press, the publisher of The Dot.
Reynolds is expected to be joined by Boston Public Schools Superintendent of Schools, Tommy Chang. The guests will tour the school and enjoy presentations of the students’ work.
"We are very grateful for the gift of literacy, which Peter is providing to our students," said Russell Elementary Principal Tamara Blake-Canty. "We are incredibly proud of the rigorous academic scholarship we pursue at the Russell, and celebrating International Dot Day here not only gives us another occasion to highlight our students’ pursuits, it also fuels our teachers’ and students’ ingenuity to reach further heights."
Reynolds says he is especially pleased to be sharing his message in Dorchester, Boston’s largest neighborhood, often locally referred to as “Dot.”
“I like to choose a significant physical location to celebrate Dot Day each year,” Reynolds explains. “Besides, its an awesome nickname. Dorchester is just minutes from my educational media studio based in Boston’s Innovation District, where I hope Russell Elementary School students will one day be using their creativity to make their mark as innovators in tomorrow’s workforce.”
The Dot Day Celebration Continues
Where: at the Blue Bunny Bookstore in Dedham, Massachusetts
When: 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.
Children and adults can stop by to create their own DOTS! (Paper and art supplies provided)
- Enter to win a Dot Day basket, drawing at 6 p.m. – you do not have to be present to win!
- The first 50 people who purchase The Dot book get an art supply goody bag.
- Dot cookies by Ginger Betty and Dot Chocolate will be available for sale.
- Peter H. Reynolds joins the festivities in the afternoon.
Make Your Mark
#DotDay is right around the diameter (because dots don’t have corners). Sept. 15th is the day to celebrate. If you haven’t done so yet, register, and join the growing community and share your mark using #MakeYourMark and #DotDay!