Children’s booksellers and authors are currently gearing up for the 96th annual Children’s Book Week, the longest running national literacy initiative in the United States. The 2015 celebration, which will take place May 4–10, features a variety of events across the country. Here is an overview of this year’s highlights.
Comics for All: For the first time in Children’s Book Week history, the Children’s Book Council and Every Child a Reader are joining forces with Diamond Comic Distributors and Comic Book Legal Defense Fund to declare Free Comic Book Day (May 2) as the official kick-off event. “We wanted to expand our Children’s Book Week offerings to share the joy of comics and graphic novels, which are wonderful tools to help kids learn to love reading,” said Nicole Deming, communications director for CBC and ECAR. Over two million comics will be distributed for free at more than 2,000 comic book specialty stores to young readers throughout the U.S.
Tweet-worthy: This year marks the launch of the Children’s Book Week #storylines campaign on Twitter. From now through Book Week, inspiring quotations from both classic and new children’s literature will be tweeted and also posted to the Children Book Week’s Kid Lit News page.
Author, Author: Children’s authors will appear in select bookstores nationwide for book signings and meet-and-greet sessions. Among the featured authors: humorist Dave Barry will be at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C.; illustrator R.W. Alley will visit Books on the Square in Providence, R.I.; and a middle-grade author panel made up of Julie Mata, Sandy Brehl, and Emily Demuth will all be at Boswell Book Company in Milwaukee, Wis.
Literary Landmarks: The ALA-CBC joint committee is teaming up with United for Libraries to designate Literary Landmarks for each day of Children’s Book Week 2015. Each location is tied to a deceased children’s literary figure, author, or their work. Confirmed sites include New York City’s George Bruce Branch Library (Walter Dean Myers), Hamilton Lane Library in Ohio (Robert McCloskey), and Westerly Library and Wilcox Park in Rhode Island (Margaret Wise Brown).
Polls Are Now Open: Kids can vote online for their favorite authors for the eighth annual Children’s Choice Book Awards, from now until May 3. Winners will be announced at the Children’s Choice Book Awards Ceremony, which will be hosted by Jon Scieszka and Oliver Jeffers on May 4. Last year, over 1.2 million kids and teens voted and this year, six of the 35 finalists are graphic novels.
2015 CBW Poster, Bookmark Illustrators: This year’s official Children’s Book Week poster was designed by Grace Lee, who won the 2014 Children’s Choice Illustrator of the Year Award for Sophia the First. Her poster depicts a girl and boy reading together inside a cardboard hideaway, with Mickey Mouse, Sophia the First and Winnie the Pooh watching from the outside. 85,000 copies of the poster will be distributed nationwide. Picture book illustrator Raúl Colón created a themed bookmark for the occasion.
Bonding Over Books: In honor of Mother’s Day, which falls on May 10, the final day of Children’s Book Week, the Children’s Book Council is partnering with the unPrison Project, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering and mentoring women in prison, to create new libraries of books for incarcerated mothers. The CBC has invited all of its 80+ member publishers to submit books for consideration that are appropriate for children ages 0-18 months. Selected books will be made available for mothers to read to their babies in prison nurseries in 10 states: California, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Nebraska, New York, South Dakota, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.