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A Special Guest Post with Robin from The Children’s Book Council

April 27, 2012

Today we are joined by Robin Adelson, Executive Director of the Children’s Book Council, who is here to tell us about her organization and what they do to foster reading, and she’ll also be talking about Children’s Book Week and The Children’s Choice Book Awards, an exciting and friendly competition in which KIDS vote for their favorite books. Read on to find out all of this and how you can participate in the voting!

The Children’s Book Council is the national trade association for children’s book publishers. Every Child a Reader is a charitable organization committed to instilling a lifelong love of reading in children. These organizations work together to conceive and implement programs that promote the joy of reading; programs like the Children’s Choice Book Awards, which is the only national awards program in books where the winners are selected by children and teens of all ages. Every Child a Reader administers Children’s Book Week and the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. The Children’s Book Council is the main sponsor of these programs.

 Can you give our readers a little background on Children’s Book Week?

Children’s Book Week, the longest running national literacy initiative in the country, was founded in 1919.

Children’s Book Week originated in the belief that children’s books and literacy are life-changers. As early as 1913, Franklin K. Matthiews, the librarian of the Boy Scouts of America, Frederic Melcher, editor of Publisher’s 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,  began laying the groundwork to create a Children’s Book Week, which would be supported by all interested groups: publishers, booksellers, and librarians.

In 1944, the newly-established Children’s Book Council assumed responsibility for administering Children’s Book Week. That responsibility transferred to Every Child a Reader in 2008.

Children’s Book Week is celebrated the first or second full week of May each year. A poster is commissioned each year by a well-known children’s book illustrator and distributed to schools and libraries across the country, free of charge. A downloadable bookmark, available at BookWeekOnline.com is commissioned by a well-known children’s book illustrator as well. Official events bringing children’s books, their creators and the children they write for together will take place in more than 40 cities in 2012 and local events in countless others.

The need for Children’s Book Week today is as essential today as it was in 1919, and the task remains the realization of Frederic Melcher’s fundamental declaration: “A great nation is a reading nation.”

What are Children’s Choice Book Awards and when were they introduced?

The Children’s Choice Book Awards were created in 2008. This is only national book awards program in the country where the winners are selected by children and teens of all ages. In fact, the finalists in 4 of the 6 categories are selected by children and teens.

Awards are given for Kindergarten to 2nd Grade Book of the Year, 3rd Grade to 4th Grade Book of the Year, 5th Grade to 6th Grade Book of the Year, Teen Book of the Year, Author of the Year and Illustrator of the Year. The finalists for the Kindergarten through 6th Grade Book of the Year categories are determined by 15,000 kids across the country that participate in a program co-sponsored by the Children’s Book Council and the International Reading Association. The finalists for Teen Book of the Year are determined through a contest run by www.teenreads.com. More than 7000 teen votes were submitted to determine this year’s finalists.

How can kids vote and when is the deadline?

Kids can vote by visiting www.BookWeekOnline.com/voting and submitting a ballot. They can also encourage their schools and libraries to participate. Teachers and librarians are encouraged to introduce the program to their students and the children in their care, to collect votes and submit bulk ballots at www.BookWeekOnline.com/voting/teachers.  

Voting will remain open through May 3.

What are some of the events that take place during the week?

We will kick the week off with a weekend full of activities, like the Hudson Children’s Book Festival  on Saturday, May 5 and the Books for Kids Read Every Day event in New York City. The week officially kicks off with a gala event where the winners of the Children’s Choice Book Awards will be announced live, to benefit Every Child a Reader.  

Wellesley Books in the Boston area has events scheduled throughout the week. Brilliant authors like Ridley Pearson and Sara Pennypacker will be visiting Book & Books in Coral Gables, Florida. And there’s so much more. A full listing of official events and details can be found by clicking here.

Can you tell us a bit about the award ceremony – who will be presenting the awards?

Jarrett J. Krosoczka & The Lunch Lady

This fabulous event will be hosted by the amazing Jarrett Krosoczka, Third Grade to Fourth Grade Book of the Year winner in 2010 and 2011 for books in his popular Lunch Lady series. Our roster of presenters includes the esteemed  Marc Brown (creator of the bestselling Arthur Adventure book series and creative producer of the #1 children’s PBS series Arthur), Mary Pope Osborne (author of highly acclaimed and internationally beloved Magic Tree House series), Andrew Clements (best-selling author of Frindle), S.E. Hinton (author of The Outsiders, the best-selling young adult novel of all time), Jack Gantos (winner of the 2012 Newbery Medal for Dead End in Norvelt), and Chris Raschka (winner of the 2012 Caldecott Medal for A Ball for Daisy).

The gala program will culminate in the presentation of the annual Impact Award, which pays tribute to an individual whose actions or programs have creatively and significantly moved forward our collective mission of promoting the joy of reading and encouraging a love of books among our nation’s youth. Walter Dean Myers, iconic author of over 100 books and the reigning National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, will present this year’s Impact Award to Justin Tuck, co-founder of Tuck’s R.U.S.H. for Literacy and New York Giants defensive end. Through the efforts of Tuck’s R.U.S.H. for Literacy, Justin has donated tens of thousands of books and raised funds to support children in the New York City, Central Alabama, and other underserved communities. We applaud his initiatives to help encourage all children to embrace reading and literacy.

One great thing about this year’s ceremony is that it will be videotaped and available for viewing the next day. We hope teachers, librarians, booksellers and caregivers will plan events around viewing the show. And it’s sure to be a great show!

Any fun stories from last year’s award ceremony?

We did have a surprise visit from “Snooki” last year. (a spray-tanned Jon Scieszka). And Jarrett Krosoczka and special guest LeVar Burton led the book-loving crowd in a rousing rendition of the Reading Rainbow theme song.

The ceremony is always great fun and full of surprises.

How many kids do you expect to vote this year?

We have already exceeded 850,000 votes and there’s a little more than a week of voting to go.

What were last year’s winners?

Kindergarten to Second Grade Book of the Year: Little Pink Pup by Johanna Kerby

Third Grade to Fourth Grade Book of the year: Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Fifth Grade to Sixth Grade Book of the year: The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles, Book 1) by Rick Riordan

Teen Book of the Year: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Author of the Year: Rick Riordan for The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, Book 1)

Illustrator of the Year:  David Wiesner for Art & Max

Many Thanks to Robin Adelson for joining us today and giving us all a look inside the Children’s Book Council and all they do for books and reading.

Good luck to all of our author and illustrator friends at The Children’s Choice  Book Awards, and don’t forget to VOTE!

Your comments are always welcome.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 27, 2012 8:32 am

    This so great that your putting this out, it is so important to get our kids reading early to instill the love of reading in them. I feel it is so important that I have written my own Children’s book, and my favorite book is still Where the wild things are and I am now 43.

  2. May 23, 2014 4:51 pm

    Hey there just wanted to give you a brief
    heads up and let you know a few of the images aren’t loading properly.
    I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue.
    I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same
    outcome.

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