Caldecott-winning children's author and illustrator Brian Selznick (The Invention of Hugo Cabret) has designed the poster for the 94th Children's Book Week from May 13-19. But what is it, and how did it begin?
Established in 1919, Children's Book Week is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country. Every year, commemorative events are held nationwide at schools, libraries, bookstores, homes -- wherever young readers and books connect.
The event originated in the belief that children's books and literacy are life-changers. In 1913, Franklin K. Matthiews, the librarian of the Boy Scouts of America, began touring the country to promote higher standards in children's books. He proposed creating a Children's Book Week, which would be supported by all interested groups: publishers, booksellers, and librarians. In the words of Frederic G. Melcher:
A Great Nation is a Reading Nation
Mathiews enlisted two important allies: Frederic G. Melcher, the visionary editor of Publishers Weekly, and Anne Carroll Moore, the Superintendent of Children's Works at the New York Public Library and a major figure in the library world. With the help of Melcher and Moore, in 1916, the American Booksellers Association and the American Library Association sponsored a Good Book Week with the Boy Scouts of America.
In 1944, the newly-established Children's Book Council assumed responsibility for administering Children's Book Week. In 2008, Children’s Book Week moved from November to May. At that time, administration of Children’s Book Week, including planning official events and creating original materials, was transferred to Every Child a Reader, the philanthropic arm of the children’s publishing industry, and the Children's Book Council became a CBW anchor sponsor.
Let's support our young people and their reading endeavors and achievements. Without the skill of reading, most children will not become all they can be. Their dreams can be come reality if they have the gift of reading.