Happy Belated Children’s Book Week

by Rachel Baker on May 18, 2008

Pickle JuiceI remember going to the library every Saturday morning for the children’s reading group, and I remember picking out books that had a cool gold seal on the cover (Newbery Book Award winners). I always thought how special children must be because we got the section at the front of the library by the entrance. In my innocence, it never even occurred to me this was so all the librarians could watch us.

I remember Ms. Susan reading to a small group of children every Saturday morning and sometimes during the week. She had the most beautiful voice I’d ever heard, except for my mom’s, of course.

At some point, I thought I was too old to sit in the group of smaller kids, and decided to browse the books in the older kids section, but I never strayed out of hearing distance of Ms. Susan’s voice. 

And as soon as I was old enough to check out books from the grown up sections, I remember wondering if it would be okay to still browse books in the children’s sections. Sadly, my childhood library has been replaced with a newer, technologically-savvy library that doesn’t have the children’s section right in the front by the entrance. The library just doesn’t have the same charm it had when I was a child. Maybe it was Ms. Susan, maybe it was the children’s section being up at the front, maybe it was one of the places I could be by myself without having to be near a related adult. I don’t know…but I miss that old library – or maybe I just miss it because this was the place I came into my own when it came to reading.

I missed an announcement about Children’s Book week, which was May 12-18. When I saw this announcement, I started thinking about some of the books I remembered fondly as a child, and then went down the path of remembering the library. This in turn made me think about some of my favorite books:

Pickle Juice by Patty Wilcott
Are you there God, its me, Margaret by Judy Blume
ALL the Nancy Drews
Ramona and her Father by Beverly Clearly
Dicey’s Song by Cynthia Voigt

I thought it might be helpful to give some history and list some of the winners in the Children’s Book world. Its difficult to know what books children will enjoy and which books will turn them off.

So, without further ado, I’d like you to meet Franklin K Matthiews (I wish I could provide a picture, but none exist online that I could find).

In 1912, the librarian of the Boy Scouts of American, Franklin K Matthiews decided it was time to promote higher standards in Children’s Books. He proposed a Children’s Book Week, which would be supported by publishers, booksellers, and librarians.

In 1944, the newly-established Children’s Book Council assumed responsibility for administering Children’s Book Week. The CBC has developed materials and promoted and encouraged local celebrations of Book Week ever since. In addition, the CBC serves as a year-round promotion and information center about children’s books and children’s book publishing.

Here are a listing of award winning children’s books to help you choose from:

2008 Children’s Choice Book Awards: 2008 Winners and Finalists
The awards program is based on Children’s Choices, a joint project of the International Reading Association (IRA) and the Children’s Book Council since 1975. Publishers submit hundreds of titles to be evaluated and voted on by 10,000 children. Throughout the school year, five review teams, located in different regions of the United States, work with their local classroom teachers and school librarians to incorporate the books into classroom activities. The most popular 99-100 titles, as voted on by the children whose teachers are involved with the project and tabulated in March by the Team Leaders and the CBC, are announced at the IRA Annual Convention in April/May. The list is designed for use not only by teachers, librarians, administrators, and booksellers, but also by parents, grandparents, caregivers, and everyone who wishes to encourage young people to read for pleasure.

• Kindergarten to Second Grade Winner: Frankie Stein
• Grades 3-4 Winner: Big Cats: Hunters of the Night
• Grades 5-6 Winner: Encyclopedia Horrifica: The Terrifying TRUTH! About Vampires, Ghosts, Monsters, and More:
• Winner Illustrator of the Year: Ian Falconer for Olivia Helps with Christmas
• Winner Author of the Year: J.K. Rowling for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The Newbery Medal
The Newbery Medal honors the year’s most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. The medal was established in 1922 and is presented annually by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). The recipient must be a citizen or resident of the United States.

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz–Winner!
Honor Books
Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis
The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmid
Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson
The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron–Winner!
Honor Books
Penny from Heaven by Jennifer Holm
Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson
Rules by Cynthia Lord
Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins–Winner!
Honor Books
Whittington by Alan Armstrong
Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
Show Way by Jacqueline Woodson

Click here to see more books to help Celebrate Children’s Week with the little people in your life!

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