Children’s Book Week, which begins today in Australia, is a celebration of Australian children’s literature and the authors and illustrators who create it. It is organised by the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA), which works to “bring words, images and stories into the hearts and minds of children and adults” (Children’s Book Council of Australia, n.d.). The theme for 2017 is Escape to Everywhere, which I think is magical.
Storytelling sessions are often held during Children’s Book Week
School and public libraries organise activities and displays to celebrate books and reading during Children’s Book Week. The Book Chook, Madison’s Library and Book Week For Beginners all offer suggestions for this year’s theme, which can be used as starting points for future celebrations. These include creating posters, bookmarks, postcards and book trailers. Dressing-up as your favourite book character is another popular whole school activity. Public libraries often organise storytelling sessions and writing or colouring-in competitions for children and young adults.
Face painting can be part of the Children’s Book Week celebrations
Each year, the day before the start of Children’s Book Week, the winners of the CBCA Book of the Year awards are announced. The aim of these is to:
promote quality literature for young Australians
support and encourage a wide range of Australian writers and illustrators of children’s books
celebrate contributions to Australian children’s literature
These are the winners for 2017 in each of the five categories:
CBCA Book of the Year-Older Readers
Books for young people aged 13 to 18 (secondary school level)
One Would Think the Deep, written by Claire Zorn
Sam has always had things going on in his head that no one else understands, even his mum. And now she’s dead, it’s worse than ever.
With nothing but his skateboard and a few belongings in a garbage bag, Sam goes to live with the strangers his mum cut ties with seven years ago: Aunty Lorraine and his cousins Shane and Minty.
Despite the suspicion and hostility emanating from their fibro shack, Sam reverts to his childhood habit of following Minty around and is soon surfing with Minty to cut through the static fuzz in his head. But as the days slowly meld into one another, and ghosts from the past reappear, Sam has to make the ultimate decision…will he sink or will he swim.
(Synopsis by UQP)
CBCA Book of the Year-Younger Readers
Books for children aged 8 to 12 (upper primary school level)
Rockhopping, written and illustrated by Trace Balla
Join Clancy and Uncle Egg on a rambling, rockhopping adventure in Gariwerd (the Grampians), to find the source of the Glenelg River. A story about following your flow, and the unexpected places you may go.
(Synopsis by Allen & Unwin)
CBCA Book of the Year-Early Childhood
Books for early readers (preschool and lower primary school level)
Go Home, Cheeky Animals, written by Johanna Bell and illustrated by Dion Beasley
At Canteen Creek where we live, there are cheeky dogs everywhere. But when the cheeky goats, donkeys, buffaloes and camels make mischief in the camp, the dogs just lie there-until those pesky animals really go too far. Then the cheeky camp dogs roar into action!
(Synopsis by Allen & Unwin)
CBCA Picture Book of the Year
Books “in which the text and illustrations achieve artistic and literary unity and the story, theme or concept is enhanced and unified through the illustrations” (Children’s Book Council of Australia, n.d.)
Home in the Rain, written and illustrated by Bob Graham
Francie’s going to have a new baby sister very soon. But what will her name be? Francie has so many ideas! On a long drive home with Mum, in the pouring rain, maybe they’ll find one that’s just right… From multi-award winning author-illustrator Bob Graham comes a tender, touching story of family life, perfect for sharing when a new baby is on the way. A beautifully observed celebration of the way inspiration can, and often does, happen in the most ordinary and unlikely of places.
(Synopsis by Walker Books)
The Eve Pownall Award for Information Books
Books “which have the prime purpose of documenting factual material with consideration given to imaginative presentation, interpretation and variation of style” (Children’s Book Council of Australia, n.d.)
Amazing Animals of Australia’s National Parks, written by Gina M Newton
This book brings together 55 national parks, selected across all Australian states and territories, and over 120 animals. It is divided into seven sections according to habitat (woodlands and grasslands; forests; rainforests; arid zones; mountains; wetlands and waterways; coasts, oceans and islands), each including a number of national parks and a selection of the fish, reptiles, frogs, birds and mammals that inhabit them. At the end of the book is a section on ‘little critters’-beetles, spiders, butterflies, grasshoppers, bugs and so on.
(Synopsis by NLA Publishing)
So hurry into your local library to borrow these winners and share them with the children in your life!
Dressing up as your favourite book character can be grrrr-eat fun!
If you are in Australia, enjoy Children’s Book Week. Otherwise, celebrate children’s literature and reading wherever you are!