Observed since 1919, Children's Book Week will be celebrated this year on May 10-16. Administrated by Every Child a Reader and sponsored by the Children's Book Council, 2010's CBW includes several brand-new events and initiatives as well as the third annual Children's Choice Book Awards Gala, at which this year's awards will be presented. Here's a preview of some of the week's highlights.
The Gala will be held Tuesday, May 11 at Guastavino's in Manhattan. Mo Willems, winner of the 2009 K-2 Children's Choice Book Award for The Pigeon Wants a Puppy, will serve as master of ceremonies. Katherine Paterson and Jon Scieszka, the current and inaugural National Ambassadors for Young People's Literature, will present the 2010 awards. That evening, Kyle Zimmer, cofounder and president of First Book, will receive the 2010 Impact Award, recognizing her efforts on behalf of children and reading.
For the first time this year, the CBC is partnering with a bookstore in at least 10 cities to stage CBW events.Stores in Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Minneapolis, San Jose, and Philadelphia are among the participants. The New York City event, scheduled for May 10 at the Barnes & Noble store at 86th St. and Lexington Ave., will feature appearances by Scieszka and Paterson.
One of these CBW events has a slightly different thrust and venue. In St. Louis, the CBC's partner is Onesto Trattoria, which will hold a week-long children's book drive. On Saturday, May 15, the restaurant will take part in the city-wide Macklind Days Festival, where staffers will hold story hours and host author readings and signings at its booth.
Also new for 2010's CBW is the advance promo it is currently receiving from Toys 'R' Us in Manhattan's Times Square. It's a big promotion—literally. The store's outdoor JumboTron intermittently displays the address of and banner art from the CBW Web site.
Another novel CBW initiative is a writing contest launched in conjunction with Tikatok, the Barnes & Noble company that provides online book creation tools. Until April 25, kids can visit Tikatok.com and write and illustrate stories to enter in the contest, which will be judged by Scieszka and Paterson. The winning author will receive a $100 Tikatok.com gift card, 25 free hardcover copies of his or her story, and a poster signed by the judges. The winner, whose victory will be announced on the Tikatok and CBW Web sites, will receive a congratulatory phone call from the two Ambassadors during CBW.
CBW will also get a promotional boost from a first-time TV partnership. Lifetime's The Balancing Act will host a different author every morning from May 10-14. The week's lineup includes Scieszka, Johnette Downing, Barbara Bottner, Jo Nobisso, and Carol Nevius.
"We have been very, very busy this year," says Rebecca Miller, the CBC's communications manager, about the staff's CBW preparations. "We want to do everything we can to help teachers, librarians, booksellers, and parents focus on the young readers in their lives and all the wonderful book selections available to kids. Of course we hope this happens all year round, but Children's Book Week marks a very special time to concentrate on kids and books."