The 86th annual Children's Book Week, sponsored by the Children's Book Council (CBC), will be celebrated this year from November 14 to November 20. CBC, the nonprofit trade association of publishers and packagers of books and materials for children and young adults, holds the annual event to celebrate the written word and to introduce young people to new authors and ideas in schools, bookstores, libraries, and homes.
Applying this year's theme, Imagine, CBC is encouraging young people, and their caregivers, to discover the complexity of the world beyond their own experiences through books. Over the past decades, CBC has developed a wide range of materials and project ideas for booksellers and others to enhance the commemoration of Children's Book Week. Today, as in the past, the CBC selected the theme, slogan, and artists, along with the development of promotional ideas. To view and order 2005 Book Week materials, animated e-mails, promotional ideas, "Best of Book Week" materials, and useful links, go to the CBC website, www.cbcbooks.org/cbw/.
The conception of Children's Book Week can be traced to the 1912 American Booksellers Association Convention at which E.W. Mumford of the Penn Publishing Company delivered a strong indictment of the harm done to children by inferior books. Mumford's words attracted the attention of the leadership of the Boy Scouts of America who wanted to involve the Scouts organization in a new, positive direction for boys' reading.
In 1916, ABA and the American Library Association (ALA) cooperated with the Boy Scouts to sponsor a Good Book Week. By 1919, in a resolution facilitated by Frederic Melcher, editor of Publishers Weekly, ABA and ALA committed to an annual Children's Book Week. Organized respectively by the National Association of Book Publishers, R.R. Bowker Company, and the Association of Children's Book Editors, Children's Book Week became institutionalized in the mid-1940s, when the Children's Book Council was formed. The mandate of CBC was to administer the annual November celebration of Children's Book Week and to serve as a year-round promotion and information center about children's books and children's book publishing.
"The need for Children's Book Week today is as essential as it was in 1919," notes the CBC website, "and the task remains the realization of Frederic Melcher's crucial goal: 'Book Week brings us together to talk about books and reading and, out of our knowledge and love of books, to put the cause of children's reading squarely before the whole community and, community by community, across the whole nation. For a great nation is a reading nation.'"