With its centennial anniversary just one year away, the annual Children’s Book Week celebration is ready to kick off. From April 30 to May 6, bookstores, libraries, and schools across the country will take part in a busy week-long event, as they commemorate children’s books and the joy of reading.
Looking ahead, here is what’s on tap for this year’s CBW festivities:
Participants, Events Aplenty. To help generate more interest for CBW, the Children’s Book Council and its non-profit charitable arm, Every Child a Reader, primarily focused this year’s outreach efforts on expanding overall involvement, while maintaining previous programming initiatives. “We happily increased the participating school, libraries and bookstores to 801 [up from 701 last year],” said Shaina Birkhead, program and partnership director at the CBC. “Going to 1,000 locations was not a goal for this year but will be for next year.” Current participants include independent bookstores (269), public libraries (348), and schools/school libraries (167), with museums, military bases, college bookstores, and comic book stores rounding out the lineup of venues. An interactive map highlights events taking place throughout the week and is being updated regularly.
Shining a Light on Reading. One of the major program additions for 2018 is a variety of Spotlight Events, including more than 40 authors and illustrators on tour that week. A special “It’s Children’s Book Week” announcement will be read at each event, and authors will sign copies of their latest books. Among those featured are: Katherine Applegate at the Downtown Central Library in Montrose, Calif., on May 1; Philip Stead at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., on May 3; Megan McDonald at Copperfield’s in Petaluma, Calif., on May 5; and Juana Martinez-Neal at Bank Street Bookstore in New York City, on May 5.
Partners in Reading. New this year is a joint effort between First Book and the CBC/Every Child a Reader to provide resources for teachers and promote in-school voting for the 11th annual Children’s and Teen Choice Book Awards, which will take place through May 6—the final day of Book Week. “It was an effort to get the award finalists in front of as many educators as possible and to encourage classroom voting for the awards,” said Carl Lennertz, executive director at the CBC and Every Child a Reader. Following up on last year’s promotional video, in which Elmo encouraged kids to vote, Sesame Workshop has partnered with Random House and Brightly, a parenting resource, on a video starring Abby Cadabby (the video will debut online on April 30). In addition, the second annual Anna Dewdney Read Together Award will recognize an outstanding picture book, in honor of the late author-illustrator of the Llama Llama picture books.
2018 CBW Poster and Bookmark Illustrators. The CBC and Every Child a Reader commissioned five bookmark designs (up from four last year), by children’s book illustrators Sophie Blackhall, Leo Espinosa, Vashti Harrison, Felicita Sala, and Don Tate. Approximately 125,000 posters, designed by Jillian Tamaki, have been distributed to registered participants. Reprising last year’s theme, “One World, Many Stories,” the 2018 bookmarks and posters are available online.