There’s no need for kids to don a cape or leap tall buildings in a single bound to take part in the 2021 Children Book Week festivities, but a passion for reading surely helps. This year’s celebration, hosted by Every Child a Reader and the Children’s Book Council, will follow the theme “Reading Is a Superpower,” as a nod to the educators, librarians, booksellers, and caregivers who have encouraged kids to continue reading during the pandemic. The biannual event will take place May 3–9 and November 8–14 and will include a brand-new initiative, the Superpower Challenge, to drive further interest in this program.

To help kids discover their own superpowers and tap into their interests, the CBC will offer a variety of themed activities in different categories during Children’s Book Week, such as STEM, the arts, and community engagement. Participants who complete these activities and decide on a superpower that best suits them will be added to an interactive map, featuring their first names, ages, towns, and states. This visual will be promoted via the hashtag #BookWeekSuperpower.

“The CBC team debated many [themes], as we always do, and felt that ‘Reading Is a Superpower’ is an inspiring message for 2021,” said associate executive director Shaina Birkhead. “With the Superpower Challenge, we want to empower kids and teens, working with their teachers, parents and librarians, to participate in fun activities and discussions about their own superpowers.”

Poster and Bookmark Illustrators Named

Adding further momentum to CBW is the announcement of the annual poster and bookmarks artists. For 2021, Bryan Collier is the official illustrator of a superpower-themed poster, which will be revealed in late February or early March. Two posters per registrant will be mailed to teachers and parents at home—a Book Week first—along with schools, libraries, and bookstores. “Our goal is over 5,000 mailings versus our usual 1,500, in addition to our usual abundance of great online materials designed by CBC’s Laura Peraza,” said executive director Carl Lennertz.

QMC Group will reprise its role as the official CBW poster sponsor and, this year, the organization will help underwrite the printing and mailing costs. “We are very grateful to them for enabling us to triple our poster outreach, and we know they do quality work for many CBC member publishers,” Birkhead noted.

The 2021 bookmarks will be illustrated by Angela Dominguez, Paola Escobar, Ebony Glenn, Oliver Jeffers, and Aram Kim. Available via download, the five bookmarks will be unveiled in March. The poster and bookmark artists were chosen by an independent panel of judges made up of Dahyna Garcia, James Jeske, Stephanie Seales, Rocco Staino, Shadra Strickland, and Sugene Yang-Kelly.

CBW will also include the announcement of the winner of the Anna Dewdney Read Together Award in May. Voting for the annual Children’s & Teen Choice Book Awards will take place during the fall segment of the celebration.

Registration has already begun for Children’s Book Week in May. Interested schools, bookstores, educators, and parents can complete and submit the entry form. By pledging to participate, they will receive two of Collier’s posters, as well as updates on all downloadable materials as they become available.