Unplug the TV and open a book. That’s the directive at the core of a new partnership between Campaign for Commercial Free Childhood and Every Child a Reader, sponsors, respectively, of Screen-Free Week and Children’s Book Week, which will both take place May 1–7, 2017. Screen-Free Week underscores the CCFC’s goal of encouraging families, schools, libraries, bookstores, and communities to pledge to turn off screen-based entertainment and make more time for creative play, outdoor activities, and reading. This mission dovetails well with that of Children’s Book Week, the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country, for which ECAR provides promotional materials to help booksellers, librarians, and teachers host events and activities celebrating books, authors, and the joy of reading.
Founded in 2000, CCFC is a leading force in national efforts to end the exploitive practice of child-targeted marketing, and to promote a childhood lifestyle shaped by what is best for kids, not for corporate profits. The group has organized an extensive coalition of professional and advocacy organizations that work to reduce children’s screen time and provide them with time and space for alternative and enriching activities.
Every Child a Reader, the charitable arm of the Children’s Book Council, is expanding Children’s Book Week in 2017 with an increased number of events, an enhanced online presence, and additional promotional materials for participants. These include an activity-filled poster featuring the art of Christian Robinson, downloadable voting kits to encourage kids to cast ballots for the Children’s Choice Book Awards, and a Spanish-English first-words coloring book and a graphic novel-like comic book based on CBW’s 2017 theme: One World, Many Stories.
“We were so excited to discover that Screen-Free Week coincided with Children’s Book Week in 2017,” said Shaina Birkhead, programming and strategic partnerships director of the CBC and ECAR. “Connecting is at the core of both of these celebrations, and we found a passionate and like-minded partner in Campaign for Commercial Free Childhood. Working with them to promote our complementary initiatives continues to be fun and rewarding.” Birkhead added that the websites of both organizations will provide tie-in event kits and downloadable activities for their weeklong events.
Jean Rogers, CCFC’s screen time program manager, expressed similar enthusiasm for the new partnership. “Reading is one of the very best ways to unplug during Screen-Free Week and throughout the year,” she noted. “We are delighted to partner with Every Child a Reader to introduce our combined celebrations. We know that reading together increases family bonds, encourages language development, and prepares children for success in school and life.”