In response to the coronavirus outbreak that has forced bookstores, libraries, and schools to close their doors for the foreseeable future, next month’s Children's Book Week is being reconfigured into a virtual celebration. “As we all take the recommended measures to keep ourselves and love ones safe, we are adjusting the traditional celebration this spring,” said Shaina Birkhead, associate executive director at the Children’s Book Council and Every Child a Reader. “We invite everyone to celebrate with us online—using #BookWeek2020atHome—and at home May 4–10.”
In spite of the public health crisis that continues to wreak havoc across the globe, the Children’s Book Council and Every Child a Reader quickly took action to adapt the annual week-long event for their 1,200 registered participants at home. We’ve gathered details on the programming highlights that have been repackaged for next month’s 101st anniversary:
Extended Registration. Sign-ups for the spring celebration have been extended beyond the original February deadline for an additional two weeks. Interested participants can register online here.
Posters, Bookmarks Available Online. In addition to the CBW poster designed by author-illustrator Carin Berger that can be downloaded and printed, six new bookmarks for 2020 are available to print. Created by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, the Fan Brothers, Michaela Goade, John Parra, Sydney Smith, and Duncan Tonatiuh, each bookmark includes a different activity component.
Virtual Readings. The CBC is working with member publishers by inviting authors and illustrators to connect with CBW participants online. Assorted activities include reading from their books, conducting live Q&A sessions, hosting drawing demonstrations, discussing their writing process, and creating videos about what books mean to them. “Creators can tag these events and other content with #BookWeek2020atHome, so readers everywhere can follow along and tune in to live virtual author events during the week,” Birkhead said.
Video Stars. Throughout Book Week, the CBC will be posting videos from current and past National Ambassadors for Young People’s Literature. A compilation of 100 videos created by KidLit TV for last year’s centennial anniversary will also be shared online.
Global Literary Activities; Writers in Residence. The 2020 CBW theme, ‘Read. Dream. Share,’ will be expanded into a global effort known as ‘Read. Dream. Share in Translation.’ Activity pages featuring this year’s slogan will be available in 12 languages. In addition, aspiring authors working at home will have access to book creation tips from the 2020 Kweli Conference panelists.
Anna Dewdney Award Tie-In. The fourth annual Anna Dewdney Read Together Award winner will be announced just prior to the CBW kick-off on May 1, which Penguin Young Readers has dubbed Llama Llama Day in honor of the late author-illustrator’s picture book series. “It is our hope that the award recipient can do a live online read-aloud of their winning book during Children’s Book Week,” Birkhead said.
Looking Ahead to Fall. Promising a full-fledged celebration later in the year, the CBC will reprise CBW on November 9–15. Although the fall initiative was originally slated to focus on attracting educators, participants from all venues (bookstores, schools, and libraries)—especially those who had to postpone their events—are encouraged to take part in this real-time initiative. “We will still create our Educator Kit and support schools in participating but we will give equal focus on bookstore and library participation,” Birkhead noted. “This year, we have already seen teachers, librarians, booksellers, publishers, parents, and book creators doing extraordinary things to connect with and support their communities, and it was extremely important for us to do the same by maintaining spring Children’s Book Week and making it accessible to everyone, everywhere.”