Week-long initiative prompts children to celebrate reading

The 88th annual Children's Book Week (CBW), November 12 to 18, is a time when educators, librarians, booksellers, and families celebrate reading with the theme: "Rise Up Reading!"

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The 88th annual Children's Book Week (CBW), November 12 to 18, is a time when educators, librarians, booksellers, and families celebrate reading with the theme: "Rise Up Reading!"

Since 1919, CBW has been observed the week before Thanksgiving. Starting next year, however, it will be scheduled for the month of May, with new programs slated for the move.

The Children's Book Council works with both traditional and new media to promote CBW. "The school and library media cover it very well, and the event receives a great deal of attention in local newspapers," says Michelle Bayuk, Council MD.

Some parenting publications also note it in their calendar sections. Last year, a number of literature bloggers and others spent time during CBW talking about their favorite children's books. Authors and illustrators of children's books also promote it during their public appearances.

Why does it matter?

"It's the longest-running literacy program in the country," says Bayuk. The Council hopes non-book companies who want to promote literacy would get involved in CBW efforts.

For example, Cheerios is launching its "Spoonful of Stories" program during CBW, in which it is providing more than 5 million free books hidden inside Cheerios boxes.

"We know that parents really care about helping their children develop a strong foundation for life, and we know that a love of reading is an important part of that," notes Cheerios' PR manager Shelly Dvorak, who adds that getting award-winning, high-quality books into the hands of kids that might not have access to books is one of the goals of the program.

The company has donated more than $2.5 million to support the nonprofit group First Book and its mission of getting new books to children from low-income families.

Five facts:

1. Scholastic launched an "Internet Field Trip" on its Web site, posting lots of ways to celebrate for kids and adults - such as a stop at Internet Public Library's KidSpace.

2. The Library of Congress and the Children's Book Council have joined together to create the post of National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, to recognize an author or illustrator who has fostered reading among the young.

3. Cheerios is sponsoring the National Ambassador program, with financial help also coming from HarperCollins Children's Books, Penguin Young Readers Group, and others.

4. The "Spoonful of Cheerios" Children's Book Contest in September invited previously unpublished writers to enter their children's book manuscript, with the grand prize of a potential deal with Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing.

5. The Children's Book Council works with the Build-A-Bear Workshop to create Bearemy's Book Club, which encourages children of all ages to read, and also reviews books.



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