Children's Book Week: Reading Is a Right!

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National Children's Book Week, which will be held from November 17 - 23, turns a venerable 84-years-old this year. Since 1919, booksellers, educators, librarians, and families have celebrated National Children's Book Week during the week before Thanksgiving to help bring more children in contact with quality children's literature. The theme of this year's celebration, which is sponsored by the Children's Book Council (CBC) and administered by the Children's Book Week Committee drawn from representatives of CBC member publishing houses, is "Free to Read."

Under the "Free to Read" banner, the celebration is encouraging children, and the adults who care for them, to exercise the right to read by spending some time with a book each day. Children's Book Week events will be held in schools, libraries, clubs, and bookstores -- any place where there are children and books.

Michelle Bayuk, marketing director for CBC, views Children's Book Week as another opportunity to bring kids and bookstores together. "Bookstores spend all year putting good books into the hands of children and their caretakers," Bayuk said. "This is a time to celebrate their success. The theme, 'Free to Read,' adds an extra layer of meaning to the celebration. We may love to read, but reading is not something that all children are able to do. Particularly this year, bookstores and libraries are facing issues of censorship, so we are celebrating both the love of reading and our freedom to read."

CBC has produced a host of materials for bookstores and others to promote, publicize, and celebrate the event. Special author events, reading marathons, and library membership drives are just a few of the suggestions CBC has outlined for stores to gain inspiration for book-related activities. A wide variety of Book Week 2003 materials are available from CBC's online catalog, including: the 2003 Book Week poster by David Wiesner; a frieze by Maira Kalman; streamers by Henry Cole, Marla Frazee, and Charles Santore; a bookmark with poem by bell hooks, illustrated by Chris Raschka; and much more. A selection of past Children's Book Week posters is also available. (For more information, click here.)

A printed catalog of 2003 Children's Book Week materials can be ordered by sending an e-mail to

More From CBC:
The Children's Book Council Web site now includes the newly revised "Suggested Symbols for Use in Publishers' Catalogs for Selected Lists and Review Sources for Books for Children and Young Adults." The result of the efforts of the ALA-CBC Joint Committee, the revised symbols clarify the listings used in many publishers' catalogs. Go to for the complete list.