Celebrate Children’s Book Week!

Originally published on Savvy Auntie.

May 7-13 is Children’s Book Week, Auntie! It’s time to celebrate books and the joys of reading with your nieces and nephews.

Children’s Book Week, established in 1919, is America’s longest-running literacy initiative to date, with the underlying philosophy that children’s books and literacy have the power to change lives.

Over 40 cities will be hosting author and illustrator events during the week, where attendees may receive complimentary Children’s Book Week posters and tote bags. Check out the Official Book Week lineup for ideas on how you and your nieces and nephews can engage with literature and celebrate Children’s Book Week in your area. You can also check out the Children’s Book Council’s Facebook page to view images of various celebrations nationwide.

There are of course many other ways to enjoy Children’s Book Week at home, Auntie. Here are a few suggestions:

The Children’s Choices List

Download the Children’s Choices list, an annual, cosponsored project of the Children’s Book Council (CBC) and the International Reading Association that has been a trusted source of children’s book recommendations for parents, guardians, teachers, librarians, and children since 1975. Every year, over 12,000 children throughout the nation pick their favorite titles, 100 of which are chosen by five review teams to be included in the list and incorporated into class activities. The children themselves take the initiative to read and write book reviews for their favorites, so you’re sure to find something fun and interesting to spark the imaginations of your young nieces and nephews and encourage them to do more reading for enjoyment.  As you read more often with your niece or nephew and share the experience with them, they’ll associate reading with these happy memories and hopefully grow to love books as they mature.

Here are a few books that have made the cut for 2012 (Young Readers, Grades 3-4):

Desk Stories by Kevin O’Malley
The Monstrous Book of Monsters by Libby Hamilton
Play Ball, Jackie! by Stephen Krensky

Little Learners Books

If you’ve got baby nieces and nephews, then these vibrant and interactive books are the ones to check out, Auntie. Parragon Books has decided to launch the Little Learners line to help guide babies and toddlers through key developmental stages. The books themselves focus on different levels of child development throughout the early learning process. They are designed specifically to stimulate the child’s curiosity about life and language, encouraging education and playful interaction – a crucial aspect of the early developmental stages. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), involvement in the first stages of child development is what makes the difference. In a 2011 report, the NCES revealed that 38% of fourth graders were reading below the basic achievement levels – a problem that may be mitigated with more exposure to literature at an earlier age.

The Little Learners Books offer more than the traditional take on children’s books, exploring a variety of innovative formats that can help you further engage with your nieces and nephews, such as “snuggly cloth books, stroller books, ‘slide and see’ play [books], bath books, and finger [puppet books].” Each book highlights certain key learning concepts with icons to indicate learning functions like hand-eye coordination and language development.

Here are a few Little Learners titles from the Parragon website:

Animals Touch and Feel Board Book
Finger Puppet Book: Mary Had a Little Lamb
I Can Share Slide and See

Story Starters

Check out the Story Starters on the Children’s Book Week website with your nieces and nephews, and help create some exciting endings for the stories that have been started by some great authors! This can be an entertaining way of introducing your young nieces and nephews to the art of storytelling. Once you have completed a few story endings, you might consider authoring your own unique narrative together, complete with illustrations, a table of contents, and a page for acknowledgements. Turn it into a weekly or monthly exercise whenever the kids come over! It can be a special Auntie bonding tool.  You can start them off with an interesting title, a strange opening line, or a captivating image – whatever it takes to get those imaginative juices flowing!

Here are a few story starters that may interest your nieces and nephews:

“Once upon a time, there lived a rather clumsy and awkward wizard named…”
“Hundreds of thousands of years ago, on a tiny planet called…”
“One Saturday morning, I looked out my window and saw a giant…”

Photo: Phaitoon

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