The 100th anniversary of Children’s Book Week is shaping up to be a momentous occasion. Numerous participants, partnerships, and interactive opportunities are in the works, all designed to pay tribute to the artists and illustrators who have left an indelible mark on children’s literature.
With brainstorming sessions that began early last year, the Every Child a Reader board and staff decided on a two-part goal for the 100th anniversary: to create a yearlong celebration and to honor the past with an eye toward the future. “We almost bit off more than we could chew,” said Shaina Birkhead, associate executive director of the Children’s Book Council and Every Child a Reader. “But thanks to our member publishers, an awesome lineup of book creators, our literacy partners and, as always, America’s teachers, librarians, and booksellers, we’re already on our way to a fun-packed year and a vibrant future.” Below are some of the highlights marking the centennial celebration, which will take place April 29–May 5.
Partners aplenty. According to Birkhead, the agenda was designed to “build excitement all winter and spring, have a huge Book Week in May, and then continue into the fall with another Book Week in November and a steady release of art resources and events.” Another major component focused on securing new partnerships and a spokesperson to further drive marketing efforts. Reed Exhibitions/BookCon, KidLit TV, Rabbit hOle, and Parents magazine have signed on to promote CBW, joining established partners Sesame Workshop, Screen Free Week, and First Book. Actor and cookbook author Ayesha Curry, chosen for her background as a “passionate advocate of reading to kids,” has been named CBW spokesperson.
Uptick in participation. More than 1,300 participating schools, libraries, and bookstores are scheduled to participate in CBW—up 62% from last year. Birkhead attributes the increase in school participation to the council’s extensive communication with hundreds of schools during the relaunch of the Get Caught Reading program last fall. “For the second year in a row, we are in all 50 states, plus Puerto Rico,” she added. Registration is currently closed, and the online map can be viewed on the Every Child a Reader website.
All-encompassing theme. Following last year’s “One World, Many Stories” focus, the CBW team wanted to create an anniversary theme that would emphasize the present as well as the future. The chosen slogan “Read Now, Read Forever” is designed to honor that sentiment. “There’s still so much to be done in every community to promote a love of reading, and Yuyi Morales’s beautiful and touching poster shows kids sharing books with each other, now and forever,” Birkhead said. Approximately 125,000 copies of the official 2019 CBW poster will be distributed.
Collaborative poster. In addition to Morales’s poster, a special poster featuring artwork by 12 illustrators will pay tribute to the 100th anniversary. The featured dozen includes Sophie Blackall, Eric Carle, Bryan Collier, Grace Lin, Juana Martinez-Neal, Barbara McClintock, Frank Morrison, LeUyen Pham, James E. Ransome, Erin Stead, Melissa Sweet, and Raina Telgemeier. Individual panels are being released online, with the last panel to be shared at the end of the second week-long celebration in November. “We hope to do a limited print run of the full poster in 2020 after all the panels have been revealed,” Birkhead added.
100 Videos, Spotlight Events. One hundred KidLit TV videos will air from mid-April to December, and individual videos are being released two to three times a week. Each two- to three-minute video will feature book creators discussing their favorite children’s book characters. “Our goal is to connect kids with creators and make a series of videos that honors the 100th anniversary, but will remain an evergreen resource for teachers, librarians, and parents,” Birkhead noted.
In addition, 100 authors and illustrators—up from 50 last year—will be showcased during Spotlight Events at bookstores and libraries across the country. On April 29, Books of Wonder’s Peter Glassman will host a 100 Years of Children’s Book Week Posters event with author and historian Leonard S. Marcus and six Book Week illustrators. (Random House’s Knopf imprint recently issued an updated version of Marcus’s book on Children’s Book Week posters.) Three major book festivals, taking place on May 5, will add to the festivities: OMG in St. Louis, the Hudson Book Festival in Hudson, N.Y., and the Bay Area Book Festival in San Francisco.
Commemorative comics; posters on parade. In a CBW first, comic-based activity pages will be available for download. Featuring the work of Jed Alexander, Morgan Clement, Gale Gilligan, Kazu Kibuishi, Yehudi Mercado, Chad Sell, and Judd Winick, the activities can be accessed here.
At the Rabbit hOle museum in Kansas City, Mo., a centennial anniversary-themed display will include Bruno Munari’s 1964 poster and Ezra Jack Keats’s 1965 poster. More details on the fall opening will be released in the coming months.
Awards alert. This year’s Anna Dewdney Read Together Award will be presented during CBW. Birkhead said the exact date will be disclosed once voting closes and a venue has been secured for a related Spotlight Event. Voting for the Children’s and Teen Choice Book Awards will extend to BookCon this year, and winners will be announced over the summer.