Friday, August 5, 2011

How to Celebrate Book Week

One World, Many Stories
Do you love to read? I do! Each day I'm grateful for the gift of reading. I read to learn, to explore new worlds and to enjoy myself. When I imagine a life without reading, all the colour seems to drain out of my day.

Children's Book Week is a special time we Australians have when we celebrate books and the gift of reading with kids. It's later this month, August 20 - 26. The theme of Children's Book Week 2011 is One World, Many Stories. This is a great theme to introduce your children to literature from other cultures. I thought I'd help you get organized ahead this year, so you can plunder the library and plan your celebrations!

Ideas for celebrating Children's Book Week

We had some great ideas in a guest post from Nicole Avery from Planning with Kids for Book Week last year, and be sure to check out Nicole's 2011 post on ideas for using CBCA short-listed books. Here are some Book Chook ideas for ways to make Children's Book Week special, both with individual kids and with groups:
  • Revisit a selection of books you and your kids/students have enjoyed. Sometimes kids just need to re-find old favourites to fall in love with a book all over again.
  • Have a teddy bears picnic in the park and read some books to the bear friends. Honey sandwiches and fairy cakes might be a good start to the picnic!
  • Write to your favourite authors and let them know how much you enjoy their books. Don't be disappointed if they don't have time to write back - it takes ages to write a really good book.
  • Discuss: what makes us like a book? Ask everyone to write down their favourite book and why they like it. Do all the books have something in common?
  • Choose a favourite book and act it out. Or choose just one scene and make a still picture of it with a group of classmates, using your bodies as the people and props from that scene.
  • Pretend to be one a favourite character and make up some more stories for him/her to star in.
  • Create a comic about a favourite book character or book world.
  • Go through your books and see whether some books can go to younger kids. Recycling is good for the environment, it's a way of helping others, and it makes space for new books - win/win/win!
  • Use YouTube to find some videos related to great children's books, then track down the ones kids enjoy at the library or book store. Here's a lovely video narrated by Alison Lester, author of Noni the Pony.  And here's another of my favourites, Owl Babies
  • Listen to and learn this great song, One World Many Stories, on YouTube. How many stories from across the world do you/your kids know? Can you find some in books? 
  • When you've found some books based on stories from other countries, read them, then discover more about that country. Can you learn some words from its language, find pictures of people who live there, learn a song or dance from that country? Throw a Book Week party where you match food to stories from other places.
  • Record yourself explaining what reading means to you, or why you think Book Week is a good thing.
  • Follow up a trip to the movies to see something like Fantastic Mr Fox with finding the book the movie was based on and reading it together. Discuss how the versions were different and which you liked best. How many book/movie combinations can you find?
  • Make your own picture book for a younger child. Draw the pictures and write the story that is in your heart, and that you think someone younger might enjoy. Will you give it to them to keep, or read it to them?
  • Dress up as a character from a story you've read. Get together with some friends and create a new story starring all of you! Or dress some of your toys as book characters. Can you make up a puppet play for them?
  • Make a bookmark for a friend, or a poster with the theme, One World Many Stories. You could use an online collage template at Picnik the way I did for my collage above.
  • Organize a book exchange with your friends or at your church/school.
  • Write a 75 word review of your favourite book.
  • Make a digital book (read my favourite ways to do this), or a digital poster (read my favourite ways to do this) advertising books. 
For some people, Children's Book Week means they take their children to one of the special events at their local library. For others, it might mean they take the time to thank someone who made reading special for them - a parent, a librarian or a teacher maybe. Other people throw a party, or have a read-a-thon, or give the kids some money to buy one special book they really, really want. I don't think it matters HOW you celebrate Children's Book Week, so long as you do.

Update 1: Looking for Children's Book Week costume ideas? Check out My Pigeon Pair's make-at-home tips.

Update 2: Find more great ideas for celebrating Children's Book Week in Activities for Children's Book Week 2012.

(Attribution for two book cover images from Wikimedia Commons, Roselle, and Milos.)
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