Celebrating its 98th anniversary, this year’s Children’s Book Week is jam-packed with plenty of events and excitement taking place at bookstores, schools, and libraries across the country. The 2017 week-long initiative, which will run from May 1–7, includes a bevy of new promotional partnerships, an extended voting period for the Children’s and Teen Choice Book Awards, and a themed graphic novel to commemorate this year’s event.
To help build momentum for CBW, a new online registration process debuted earlier this year. “[This way,] we could invite more bookstores and libraries to be a part of our celebrations, as well as include schools for the first time as official event hosts,” said Shaina Birkhead, programming and strategic partnerships director for the Children’s Book Council and Every Child a Reader. While registration for CBW has closed, the CBC reports 701 participating host locations, up from 125 last year.
Looking ahead, here is an overview of this year’s CBW highlights:
Events Galore. In a departure from previous years, the CBC will not be hosting any specific kick-off events. “Everything is of equal importance in terms of promoting the joy of reading,” Birkhead noted. Nationwide events include the Children’s History Library at the New-York Historical Society’s reading of Cinco de Mouse-o! by Judy Cox, and a fifth-grade student production of original skits based on some of the award finalists at the University School of Jackson, Tenn. A new, interactive map features links to listed events, with over 100 locations hosting two to five events throughout the week..
Commemorative Comics. Tapping into the rising graphic novel trend, a special comic anthology will be released in conjunction with CBW and made available for teachers to print and distribute. “Given the popularity of children’s graphic novels, this anthology supports visual literacy and furthers Every Child a Reader’s goal of inspiring a lifelong love of reading,” said Matthew Poulter, director of membership and marketing. Designed under this year’s CBW theme, “One World, Many Stories,” the 36-page book will contain works from over a dozen illustrators, including Gene Luen Yang, John Patrick Green, Charise Mericle Harper, Tillie Walden, and Jeffrey Brown.
Extended Voting. While voting for the Children’s Choice Book Awards traditionally concludes the week before CBW, it will now last through May 7 on the Every Child a Reader site. “Locations can host events specifically about voting and then enter collected votes into our group ballot online,” Birkhead said. Also a departure from past Book Weeks, winners will be announced on May 31 at BookExpo, emceed by Gene Luen Yang, the current National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.
Partners in Reading. A slew of organizations have signed on to promote CBW this year, including Sesame Workshop—which recorded a special video with Elmo encouraging kids to vote for the awards—Little Free Library and First Book, with details to be announced. For the third consecutive year, United for Libraries has joined forces with Every Child a Reader to dedicate three new Literary Landmarks during CBW: the Edinboro (Pa.) Branch Library and Bookmobile on May 1, Quarry Farm in Elmira, N.Y., on May 3, and the Cherokee Elementary School in Paradise Valley, Ariz., on May 5. The first annual Anna Dewdney Read Together Award, co-sponsored by Penguin Young Readers, will be announced during Book Week. The award is given to an outstanding read-aloud picture book, in honor of the late author-illustrator Anna Dewdney.
2017 CBW Poster and Bookmark Illustrators. This year the CBC and Every Child a Reader have commissioned four illustrators—Ekua Homes, Yuyi Morales, LeUyen Pham, and Sonja Wimmer—to design the official bookmarks, available for download online. Christian Robinson has designed the 2017 poster, with more than 100,000 copies distributed to schools, libraries, and independent bookstores.