Children’s booksellers, authors, and readers are gearing up for the 95th annual Children’s Book Week, the country’s longest running national literacy initiative. This year’s celebration, to be held May 12–18, will be the largest in the program’s history, with representation in every state. Below is a sampling of this year’s highlights:
All Hands on Deck: For the first time since its inception, all 50 states will host official CBW events. Among the featured authors: YA novelists Jenny Han and Morgan Matson will be at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Ariz.; Kwame Alexander, Chris Van Dusen, and Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki will all visit Washington, D.C.’s Politics and Prose; and author-illustrator Jon J. Muth will read and sign at the Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne, Vt.
Virtual Excitement: To help generate buzz, a number of children’s book authors were invited to record Children’s Book Week Champion videos aimed at readers of all ages. “We reached out to our community of children’s book publishers to ask them to share the call with authors and illustrators who would create fun, share-able videos,” said Nicole Deming, senior communications manager for the Children’s Book Council and Every Child a Reader. Participants include Jeff Kinney, Lauren Kate, Jon Scieszka, Joelle Charbonneau, Cat Winters, Jarrett J. Krosoczka, and Lisa Yee; new videos are being released weekly until May 18, and are promoted on the CBC’s YouTube channel, and the CBW website.
Vote Here: Kids can vote for their favorite authors for the annual Children’s and Teen Choice Book Awards on a newly launched website. The polls are open from now until May 12. Winners will be announced at the Children’s Choice Book Awards Gala, which National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Kate DiCamillo will host in New York City on May 14. LeVar Burton will receive this year’s Impact Award in recognition of his work with the Reading Rainbow television series and app.
2014 CBW Poster, Bookmark Illustrators: This year’s official Children’s Book Week poster was created by Robin Preiss Glasser, 2013 Children’s Choice Illustrator of the Year Award winner for Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet. Her poster depicts a group of children reading together on a chair quilted with the covers of classic children’s books, including Eloise, Goodnight Moon, Harold and the Purple Crayon, The Call of the Wild, Charlotte’s Web, and others. 175,000 copies of the poster will be distributed nationwide. Steve Jenkins, who has written and illustrated more than 30 nonfiction picture books about the natural world, created an animal-themed bookmark for the occasion.
Capturing Little Readers: This year also marks the first time that the CBC is partnering with Pubslush, a global crowdfunding platform for authors and readers, on the Little Reader Snapshot Contest. Parents and educators may submit photos of children reading their favorite books via Instagram and Twitter. The winner will receive a complete set of books from the Children’s Choice Book Awards finalists for 2014. In addition, the CBC will donate a second set of books in the winner’s name to LitWorld, a nonprofit literacy organization.
Eye-catching Displays Wanted: Booksellers incorporating Glasser’s poster and the books featured on it will be awarded bonus points in the second annual Children’s Book Week display contest. Retail displays must remain up for the duration of Children’s Book Week.Prizes include a visit from a 2014 Children’s Choice Book Awards winning author or illustrator, coverage in the ABA’s Bookselling This Week newsletter and the CBC’s Update Newsletter, and social media coverage from the CBC and ABA. Entries must be submitted by May 18, and the winner will be announced on May 27.
A Piece of History: The Children’s Book Week store features reproductions of more than three dozen CBW posters dating back to 1921. All proceeds benefit Every Child a Reader, the nonprofit that administers Children's Book Week.