GRADE LEVEL: 2nd-3rd

AUTHOR: Kim Gregson



National Children's Book Week is celebrated nationally in schools, libraries, bookstores, and homes around the country during the week before Thanksgiving in November. All kinds of people are involved (librarians, teachers, parents, booksellers, artists, authors, publishers) and they devote a great deal of time and energy to making Book Week an exciting and happy period of discovery for children.

The beginning of Book Week can be traced to the 1912 American Booksellers Association Convention. E.W. Mumford, of the Penn Publishing Company delivered a paper entitled "Juvenile Readers as an Asset." This speech was then summarized in the New York Times, where it caught the attention of James West, director of the Boy Scouts of America. He then asked the librarian of the scouts, Franklin K. Mathiews, to consider the organization of Scouts to take initiative in giving new direction to boy's reading.

Mr. Mathiews strongly believed that good reading was important in a boy's life. So from 1913 to 1915 he toured the country to promote higher standards in children's books.

In 1915, Mr. Mathiews appeared at the Booksellers Convention where he delivered a speech entitled "Books as Merchandise and Something More." In his speech he warned publishers and booksellers of their responsibilities. It was then that he proposed having a Children's Book Week and because of his enthusiasm he convinced many booksellers that it would be a good service and good for their business.

In 1916, a Good Book Week with the slogan, "The Best Books for your Child" was sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, the American Library Association and the Boy Scouts.

World War I delayed further development of Book Week, but many librarians, scout leaders, and book sellers continued to encourage fine children's literature.

In 1919, Fredric Melcher, the secretary of the American Booksellers Association invited Mr. Mathiews to again present his plan for a Children's Book Week at the annual ABA meeting. At the end of the meeting the ABA committed to the organization of Book Week in November.

The first Book Week was organized by Mr. Melcher and included librarians, scout leaders, booksellers, and publishers. They selected for their slogan "More Books in the Home."

The National Association of Book Publishers took over the organization and prepared the second annual Book Week. In 1934 this organization went out of existence so the R.R. Bowker Company took on the administration responsibilities. But as the years passed they found they could not keep up with the mail, bookkeeping, and promotional detail.

The growth of this organization is the reason it got its own council in 1945. Now everything is handled by the Book Week Committee.

The need for Book Week is as essential today as it was in 1919. More and more people become involved each year, but there is still a lot more to be done. Book Week brings everybody together to talk about and enjoy the importance of books. It puts the responsibility for our nations children right in our hands.

Fredric Melcher said, "A great nation is a reading nation, and in this broad country of ours, books should be freely available for every boy and girl. Until they are freely available we have a great task." So the need for Book Week continues.

The Children's Book Council is a non-profit organization encouraging the reading and enjoyment of books for young children.



C.B.C. (1996) Children's Book Week. [On-line]. Available: http:/

Low, A. (1991). The Family Read-Aloud Holiday Treasury. Boston Massachusetts: Little, Brown Company.

The Children's Book Council, Inc.

568 Broadway, Suite 404 New York, NY 10012

(212) 966-1990



* Students will recognize the importance of reading.

* Students will recognize the importance of good books.

* Students will participate in the school book fair.


TIME ALLOTMENT: Approximately one week doing an activity or two per day.



* Paper for covering books

* Plastic

* Markers

* People to share books

* Tape

* Scissors

* Old Books

* Boxes for donations

* Poster board for posters

* Poems on reading and Book Week



A. FAVORITE BOOKS: Ask the students if they have a favorite book or if they remember a book that was read to them often. Have a few of the children share their favorite book or story with the class by telling the class about it.

B. HISTORY: Talk to the children about how Book Week got started. Explain to them how many children don't have any good books to read. This is the main reason that Book Week was started. Ask them for suggestions on what they could do to celebrate Book Week and show their appreciation for books.Write their suggestions down and follow some. But also incorporate the following that they do not suggest.

C. NEW COVERS: Talk to the librarian and explain to her that your class would like to put new covers on some of the older more frequently used books that are in the school library. Have the librarian select the books that they think need new covers and bring them down to your class. If possible have the librarian also come and talk about the importance of taking care of the books so that all of the children will have the same opportunity to read the children's books.

D. BOOK COLLECTION: Have the children bring old books from home that they could donate to a local children's center. They could also make boxes to put around in the school and the community for other people to put books in them to donate. After the collection of the books. Have the children possibly make covers for the books that need them. Then have a class field trip to the center that you have chosen to donate these books to. The students could even read some of the books to the children at the center.

E. POEMS: Read some poems that others have written about books, reading and book week. Then the children can write poems about what books and reading mean to them. These poems could be placed in the hallway for others to read and enjoy. Or the class poems could be placed in a book and put at the book fair for other children to read.

F. POSTERS: To help in the advertisement of Book Week. The books for the fair can be ordered through different organizations. Have the students make posters telling people the time and place of the Book Fair at the school. The children could include in their posters some of the books that will be at the book fair. These posters should get other people excited to come to the book fair and inform them about Book Week.

G. EXPERTS: Have the children read one or more of the books that will be at the Book Fair and become experts on that book. Then have tables at the Book Fair so these students can sit there and answer questions that other children have about the book that they are an expert on. This way the other students will know a little about the books before they decide to buy them.

F. PARENT AND COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Send a note home to the families or caregivers of your students explaining to them that you would like them to come and read a book to your class that they read as a child. These people don't have to be only parents, but could be brothers or sisters or grandparents or anyone that has a book from their childhood to share with the class. If the book was an older book you could discuss the differences in that book and the books that the children now have. Such parts of the books as the pictures, author, and other parts.

G. READ-A-THON: For the ending of the Book Week have a read-a-thon where the children have a large part of the day to bring a book or books that they want to silently read. The children could bring pillows and blankets so that they will be the most comfortable as they read. This activity also shows them that we also realize the importance of reading and good books.



* Posters made by the children will be assessed.

* Children as experts on the various books they choose will be assessed.

* Poems written about the importance of books will be assessed.

* Sharing of their favorite book will be assessed.



Dear Parents or Caregivers,

We are going to emphasize the importance of good children's books and reading. This emphasis is being done at this time because of the upcoming Book Week (the week before Thanksgiving). As a school we will be having a book fair that we encourage you to attend. There will be many good children's books that you might want to purchase for your child. We want you to also be a part of our exciting class time. We would like you, if possible, to come and share a book or books from your childhood with our class, or if you wish to help us in any other way please call me. We are doing many other activities that we could use some extra help. We are excited for this time and hope you will come and share it with us.

Thank you for all your help!!!



Your Child's Teacher


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