Check your library copy of Chase’s Annual Events and among such upcoming celebrations as American Chocolate Week and National Week of Student Action, you will find Children’s Authors and Illustrators Week (CAIW), annually the first week in February.
This week was started several years ago by authors and illustrators in Children’s Authors Network (CAN!), who wanted to celebrate the school visits, library programs, and hands-on workshops that authors and illustrators do to inspire a life-long love of reading and writing. Visit www.childrensauthorsnetwork.com for a list of tips to help share your love of books with children.
Parents & Caregivers
TALK with your child’s librarian or a local children’s bookseller. They can recommend the perfect books for your child’s age and reading level.
VISIT independent bookstores and children’s specialty bookstores. These stores typically have a large, diverse selection, as well as books by local authors. See if you and your child can discover a new author this week!
WRITE a letter (or an email) with your child to a favorite author or illustrator. Most authors now have web sites with contact information. If you can’t find an address, send the letter to the publisher. Publishers usually won’t give out an author’s address, but they are happy to forward mail. Just address the envelope to the author in care of the publisher.
ORGANIZE an author visit at your child’s school. Most children’s authors give presentations and/or conduct writing workshops at schools. The school will likely need volunteers to help with fund-raising (fees vary depending on the author) and handling book sales. A step-by-step guide to hosting an author is available on the Children’s Authors Network (CAN!) web site at www.childrensauthorsnetwork.com. A visiting author can inspire even a reluctant reader to pick up a book!
ATTEND a bookstore or library event featuring a children’s author or illustrator. These events are terrific ways for kids to meet an author or illustrator in an informal setting, ask questions, and perhaps come away with some writing or drawing tips.
READ as a family. Reading together is fun and helps create enthusiastic, strong readers. Even older children enjoy being read to, and they may want to take turns reading to younger siblings. So, turn off the TV, gather the family, and spend some time enjoying children’s books together!
Teachers & Librarians
HELP children write letters to favorite authors and illustrators. Most authors now have web sites with contact information. If you can’t find an address, send the letter to the publisher. Publishers usually won’t give out an author’s address, but they are happy to forward mail. Just address the envelope to the author in care of the publisher. Organize an author visit at your school or library. Most children’s authors give presentations and/or conduct writing workshops at schools and libraries. They can talk about their books, give tips for aspiring writers, and host informal question and answer sessions. Fees vary depending on the author. A step-by-step guide to hosting an author is available on the Children’s Authors Network (CAN!) web site at www.childrensauthorsnetwork.com. A visiting author can inspire even a reluctant reader to pick up a book!
CREATE a display of books by authors and/or illustrators in your local area or state. Invite one or more of these authors to give a presentation in your classroom or library.
ORGANIZE a “Mock Newbery” Book Club. These clubs meet periodically to read and discuss books they consider contenders for the Newbery award. Usually, a librarian chooses a few titles, and the children choose the rest (in keeping with the Newbery guidelines). The club votes on a winner in early January (before the actual Newbery is awarded) and awards a “Mock Newbery” prize. The club writes letters to nominated authors and, of course, to the winner.
GENERATE a newsletter or flyer with information on local/state authors and illustrators. Include a list of local events during Children’s Authors & Illustrators Week (such as special library events, author appearances at bookstores, etc.). Enlist the help of older children–they can conduct phone or email interviews with the authors/illustrators and help produce the newsletter.
DISPLAY a list of author web sites next to your computer stations (or have one available at the circulation desk). Encourage interested children to visit these sites and drop their favorite authors an email message. For more information about children’s authors and illustrators, visit the CAN! web site at www.childrensauthorsnetwork.com and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators at www.scbwi.org.