Children's Book Week takes place November 14-20. "Says who?" you may ask, since if you're reading this blog, chances are high that every week is children's book week at your home or place of work. So, in answer to the question, the week is sponsored by the Children's Book Council, a nonprofit association of publishers and packagers of children's trade books. Publishers and packagers, of course, are in the business of selling books. Nothing wrong with that.
At any rate, I've been thinking of some ways to celebrate children's books, and here is my list so far. If you want to add to it, please do leave a comment.
1. Write a fan letter to an author whose work has meant something to you or your child. Send it in care of the publisher.
2. Share a favorite book from your childhood with a kid you know.
3. Contact the children's wing of your local hospital and see if it has a library to which you can contribute a book. Don't forget Goodwill and other thrift shops often carry almost-new books for very low prices. If the hospital doesn't have a children's library, maybe you can start one.
4. Play Lamar J. Spurgle and the Cut-Ups (or any other favorite characters) in the front yard. (See James Marshall's Cut-Ups series.) Miss Viola Swamp, the dreaded substitute teacher, is another fun Marshall person to pretend to be; she's so bossy.
5. Attend a kids' program at the library with your son, daughter, niece, nephew, or young friend.
6. Help a child create a fun book journal using an inexpensive paper folder, stickers, markers, notebook paper, and if you really want to go crazy, use a stapler! and glue! Making the journal might be as far as some children want to go with the project, while others will want to write down book lists. It's all good.
7. Read a book that takes place in another country or another culture. Have you read Alison Lester's picture book Are We There Yet?, about a family's journey around Australia? Great place to start. Sosu's Call, set in Ghana, is another good one.
8. Check out from the library and listen to a book on CD such as master storyteller Jim Weiss's recording of The Jungle Book. Wonderful re-telling of Kipling's stories.
9. Contact the local Head Start or another nursery school to see if the organization needs any books or a Story Lady or Story Guy to read to the children. (If budget cuts pass the House of Representatives, Head Start will be hard hit.)
10. Contribute used books to the library sale.
11. Write a story in a 32-page format (the standard length for picture books) for a small person near and dear.
12. Read a children's book aloud at breakfast or while waiting for the school bus.
13. Register a book at BookCrossing and see where it goes.