In 1913, Franklin K. Matthiews, the librarian of the Boy Scouts of America, began touring the country to promote higher standards in children’s books. He proposed creating a Children’s Book Week, to be supported by publishers, booksellers and librarians.
He enlisted Frederic G. Melcher, the editor of Publishers Weekly, and Anne Carroll Moore, the superintendent of children’s works at the New York Public Library.
With their help, the Good Book Week was created in 1916 through the American Booksellers Association and the American Library Association, in cooperation with the Boy Scouts.
At the 1919 ABA convention, a commitment was procured for an annual Children’s Book Week. A few months later, the official approval of the ALA was also secured during its first Children’s Librarians session.
In 1944, the newly established Children’s Book Council assumed responsibility for administering Children’s Book Week. Last year, it was moved from November to May and responsibility was transferred to Every Child a Reader, the philanthropic arm of the children’s publishing industry.
Children’s Book Week is celebrated in school, libraries, bookstores, clubs, homes … any place where they are children and books. In some areas, the week includes storytelling, parties, author and illustrator appearances and other book-related events.
“The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats is one of the books I regularly shared with my children when they were little. In fact, I think they all eventually knew it word for word without even looking at the book.
It features a little boy named Peter who is exploring his neighborhood after the first snowfall of the season. With wonderful illustrations and a simple storyline, it’s a treat not only for children but also for the adult reading it to them.
In 1963, “The Snowy Day” received the Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished picture book for children in 1963.
Do you remember a special book you read as a child or one you shared with your own children?
To learn more about Children's Book Week, visit the official Web site at www.bookweekonline.com.