March 19, 2012
/ by Kristina Elliott
When: April 2, 2012
What: Whether they’re reading under the covers with a flashlight or devouring the latest book series, children can always turn to a book to indulge their imaginations. As a varied genre, children’s literature offers just about anything a child could want to read, fostering a lifelong love of reading in many. On April 2, help nurture this love and join young readers in celebrating International Children’s Book Day.
Background: International Children’s Book Day has been celebrated since 1967 and is sponsored by the International Board on Books for Young People. It is held annually on April 2 in honor of Danish fairytale author Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday. The day aims to support reading in childhood and recognize all the adults who play a vital role in reading, including authors, illustrators, librarians, teachers, and parents. Each year, a different country sponsors the day and brings special attention to the children’s books of its nation. Mexico is the 2012 host country, joining countries around the world celebrating the day with book readings, special book award ceremonies, and library events.
Story Pitch: Several companies and organizations that support children’s literature and youth literacy have a great opportunity in supporting the day. Children’s book publishers can showcase both classic stories and new publications, while also showing parents, librarians and educators how to choose age-appropriate books for young readers. Authors and illustrators have a good chance to promote their books with readings for children, as well as talks for adults. Bookstores will want to support these events, in addition to highlighting their children’s book selection. While many children love reading, not all children have good access to books or support as they learn to read. Organizations that focus on child literacy are able to share how they’re working to increase reading skills and improve children’s book availability at home and in schools. Librarians play an important role in promoting childhood reading, and libraries may host events for young readers to learn how to use the resource.
Story Hook: Reading is vital for success in school and employment, yet there is a major gap in achievement within different income levels. Among American children living in poverty, about two-thirds have no books to read at home. Access to books is one of the critical factors in raising reading skills and comprehension among children. What programs are successful in increasing children’s ability to have easy, ongoing access to books? Do these children become more motivated to read and seek out new books? Consider the following as you make your pitch:
Tips: A librarian specializing in children’s literature is a great person to speak on ways parents can both choose books for their children and foster independent reading. Additionally, someone who overcame early struggles with reading to become successful in the literary field is an inspiring contact.
International Board on Books for Young People ibby(at)ibby.org www.ibby.org
National Education Association (202) 833-4000 www.nea.org
Reading Is Fundamental (202) 563-3400 contactus(at)rif.org www.rif.org
Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (323) 728-1010 scbwi(at)scbwi.org www.scbwi.org
–Researched, compiled & written by Kristina Elliott Event Dates from CHASE’S Calendar of Events
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