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Children’s books offer incredible insight into the world, from fiction and fantasy books that inspire the imagination to non-fiction books that help children get more information about historical figures or glean a new skill. 

Books act as an entry point into so much learning for children of all ages. And Children’s Book Week is here to celebrate all of the elements surrounding books for children!

History of Children’s Book Week

Children’s Book Week has a long and rich background which can trace its roots all the way back to 1913. This was when a man named Franklin K. Matthiews started touring the country to promote higher standards for the books provided for children. His position as the librarian for the Boy Scouts gave him the motivation and access he needed to try to make reformations in the children’s book industry.

Out of the passion for books and reading that Matthiews had, Children’s Book Week was born in 1919. It has been celebrated over the years as a way to help people of all ages get excited about the possibility of reading books. Bookstores, libraries, schools, families and communities all over the country enjoy and get involved with this important week. By 1944, the Children’s Book Council had taken on the responsibility of organizing and arranging the event, with the hope of following along with their motto: Every Child a Reader. 

Children’s Book Week originally started holding its celebrations in the month of November but, in 2008, the date was changed from November to a week in May. But, very quickly the organizers realized that, because children can never really read enough, it would be great to have two occurrences of this event each year. So in 2018, Children’s Book Week became doubly good – now celebrated for a week in May and for a week in November. There’s so much love for children’s books that it needs to be spread around!

Each year, the organizers at Children’s Book Week supply a different theme that encourages supporters of the event to get the kids excited about it. Past themes have included slogans such as these:

  • Read Books. Spark Change. (2023)
  • How Do You Book? (2022)
  • Reading is a Superpower (2021)
  • Read. Dream. Share (2020)

How to Celebrate Children’s Book Week

Join in on the fun, fantasy, fiction and facts that can come from reading books. And have some delightful times celebration Children’s Book Week with creative ideas like some of these and more:

Read a Children’s Book

Have a book from childhood that brings back joy and nostalgia? Perhaps it would be fun to pick up a copy at a public library or a locally run bookstore and read it again. Maybe it will contain the same magic that it had many years ago. Or, even better, parents or grandparents can pick up a copy of that favorite book and read it to one of their children, grandchildren, or another child in their life in celebration of Children’s Book Week.

Check out one of these most popular children’s books of all time in honor of the day:

  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (1963)
  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1911)
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (1964)
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (1868)

Host a Children’s Book Event

Children’s Book Week offers an excellent opportunity for parents, educators, youth workers and other community members to work together toward the goal of putting more books into children’s hands. Perhaps school teachers and administrators could host a children’s book drive in honor of the week, asking members of the community to donate their unwanted and gently loved books. Or maybe this would be a good time for the school or local library to host various activities and events that encourage children of all ages to attend and become more comfortable with books.

Learn Some Benefits of Reading for Children

Those who are in need of a reminder about how important reading is for children might want to browse through some statistics about the importance of books and reading for kids. Consider a few of these and then perhaps share some to raise awareness for Children’s Book Week:

  • Books create warm emotional bonds between kids and their parents, teachers, grandparents or other adults who read to them.

  • Reading books help children develop basic language skills and expand their vocabulary.

  • Books offer kids an opportunity to identify feelings, contextualize circumstances and find connection with certain challenges they are facing.

  • Children’s books help to promote brain development in kids while encouraging imaginative thinking.

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