Two-time Caldecott Medalist Sophie Blackall has a new title to add to her pedigree: poster artist and official spokesperson for the 2024 Children’s Book Week. The Children’s Book Council and Every Child a Reader, along with Random House Children’s Books, shared the exclusive announcement with PW, recognizing the book creator’s latest achievement and marking the 105th anniversary of the annual literacy event.
Slated for May 6–12, the 2024 Children’s Book Week will feature the theme “No Rules. Just Read,” which is showcased in Blackall’s poster art, seen here for the first time. “Sophie Blackall has been a longtime supporter of Children’s Book Week, and we are so thrilled that she has now joined the pantheon of poster illustrators for this beloved program,” said Shaina Birkhead, associate executive director of Every Child a Reader. “Her visual interpretation perfectly captures the joy in reading what you want, when you want, and however you want.”
The Perfect Poster Child
Blackall, who grew up in Australia and currently resides in Upstate New York, has fond memories of reading outdoors with her brother and swapping her copy of A Little Princess for his Hardy Boys mysteries. She also recalls her fifth-grade classroom’s reading rocket—fashioned from cardboard boxes and tinfoil—as a place where she indulged her love of books. “I’m a firm believer in reading wherever we can and reading whatever sparks our curiosity,” Blackall told PW. “Kids should have access to as many kinds of books as possible: books to reflect the farthest reaches of imagination and human experience. A great deal of our childhood is spent following rules, but reading should be liberating.”
In addition to creating the poster, Blackall will serve as Book Week’s official spokesperson, appearing in a live-streamed event and launching a social media campaign. “Sharing books with friends is one of the great joys of reading, and spending time with kids talking about stories is one of the best parts of my job,” she said.
Anne Schwartz, v-p and publisher of Anne Schwartz Books, an imprint of Random House, who is publishing Blackall’s forthcoming picture book, said, “I can’t think of anyone whose work better speaks to kids than Sophie’s. What child can resist the world she brings to life in Farmhouse or the question she poses in If I Was a Horse or the game of imaginative play she celebrates in her upcoming AHOY!?”
Interested schools, libraries, bookstores, and parents of home-based students are invited to sign up for Book Week online from now through March 1. Registered participants will each receive two free posters in English. A Spanish poster will be available online to print as an 8 ½ x 11 bulletin board-sized version.
Posters will be distributed in April, along with links to download bookmarks and activity pages. Further details about author-illustrator readings and other events, which will be added to an interactive map, will be rolled out in March. For more information, visit the Every Child a Reader website.