Celebrating Children’s Book Week 2013

| August 19, 2013

Australia is celebrating Children’s Book Week with events in local and school libraries. Children’s writer Susan Stephenson encourages families to get involved with books and book-related activities and help kids love reading.

What will you be doing between 17 and 25 August 2013? That’s Children’s Book Week in Australia, a wonderful time to celebrate with books, reading and reading-related activities.

Australia has many of the best children’s writers in the world, and each year the Children’s Book Council of Australia chooses a short list of recent children’s titles in different categories. This year, on 17 August, the winners and honour books will be announced. There’s lots of excitement building in communities all around Australia.

Your own local and school libraries are likely to display short-listed books prominently, so it’s a great opportunity for kids to find new titles that grab their interest. Don’t despair if the short-listed books have already been borrowed. Ask your friendly librarian for advice, and kids are sure to discover some new favourites.

Children’s Book Week is also an excellent time for families to get involved with books and book-related activities generally. Lots of parents I know love to discover ways to sneak a little learning into their children’s lives. Why not throw a book party or book picnic this week, and have your kids’ friends bring books to swap or donate to a worthy charity? Children might like to dress as a favourite book character, or make cupcakes that represent a loved children’s classic. Kids will love putting a bookish spin on party games!

Think about extending the literature experience with your children. How? Here are some popular book-related activities that encourage kids to create and express themselves:

* Do your children like collecting trading cards? They can create their own cards about favourite book characters via an app from Read Write Think called Trading Card. It’s available online, or as a free iPad app. Cards are created by following a kind of wizard, with questions that help hone in on key information.

* As a follow-up to a shared read-aloud or current chapter book your child is reading, why not encourage your kids to act out scenes they liked? They might decide to write a script, or even video themselves performing. (Such videos make great artefacts for future 21st birthday parties!)

* Young artists will relish the chance to draw or paint scenes or characters from their favourite books. If you scan their art work into your computer or tablet, kids can further their visual literacy skills by adding captions, applying filters and editing to make something new.

* Another fun challenge for children is the five-frame story. Have them choose simple story lines, perhaps from nursery rhymes or fairy tale excerpts. Then they need to work out how to tell that simple story in five photographs. They might decide to use craft to design their five scenes, or set up toys for their cameras. Here’s an example: decorate an egg to look like Humpty, build a wall with blocks, gather toys for King’s horses and men. First shot has Humpty on a wall; second shot has him falling or fallen; third shot has the King’s horses examining him; fourth has King’s men examining him; fifth has the whole group giving up on Humpty. Kids can add captions to digital images if they want.

Enjoy Children’s Book Week as a family! Children have amazing imaginations and will come up with wonderful ideas of their own. Why not use Book Week as your jumping-off point, and make it the start of a much longer celebration of children’s literature and learning? By emphasising the enjoyment literature provides, we’re helping kids love reading, and setting them up for happy and successful lives.