Children's Book Week: An Illustrated Celebration of Reading

Children's Book Week, an annual celebration of books for youth and the joy of reading, was launched in 1919 and is currently the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country. Its 100th anniversary is observed twice this year: from April 29 to May 5 and November 4-10. The Library joins in the commemoration, sharing the program's history and spotlighting a remarkable collection of commemorative Children's Book Week posters dating to that founding year. 

 
1923 Children's Book Week at an unidentified branch of the Kansas City Public Library.         
1923 Children's Book Week activities at an unidentified branch of the Kansas City Public Library.
 

History

In 1913, Franklin K. Matthiews, the librarian of the Boy Scouts of America, began touring the country to promote higher standards in children’s books. He proposed creating a Children’s Book Week with support from publishers, booksellers, and librarians.

Mathiews enlisted two important allies: Frederic G. Melcher, the visionary editor of Publishers Weekly who believed that “a great nation is a reading nation,” and Anne Carroll Moore, the superintendent of children’s works at the New York Public Library and a major figure in the library world. With their help in 1916, the American Booksellers Association and the American Library Association joined the Boy Scouts in sponsoring a Good Book Week.

In 1944, the newly established Children’s Book Council assumed responsibility for administering Children’s Book Week. In 2008, the event moved from November to May and administration was transferred to Every Child a Reader, the council’s charitable arm.

Children's Book Week Posters

Each year, a commemorative Children's Book Week poster is produced by the national organizer and distributed throughout the country. Many have been created by well-known artists and designers, such as Paul Rand, or children's book authors and illustrators including Maurice Sendak and Richard Scarry. The Kansas City Public Library collected and saved posters from nearly every Children's Book Week from 1919 to 2005, saved by youth librarians and archived in the Library's Missouri Valley Special Collections. A sampling is below.

While the materials are not available for the public to view in person, the full set of posters can be found in the online collection of Every Child a Reader.

Source: Every Child a Reader. All posters copyrighted by Every Child a Reader. 

Find more children's books, resources, programs, and activities at kclibrary.org/kids.

 
1919 poster, Jessie Wilcox Smith         

1919 - Jesse Wilcox Smith
 
1925 - Jon O. Brubaker         

1925 - Jon O. Brubaker
 
1944 - Nedda Walker         

1944 - Nedda Walker
 
1952 - Roger Duvoisin         

1952- Roger Duvoisin
 
1953 - Jan Balet         

1953 - Jan Balet
 
1958 - Paul Rand          

1958 - Paul Rand
 
1960 - Maurice Sendak          

1960 - Maurice Sendak
 
1964 - Bruno Munari         

1964 - Bruno Munari
 
1967 - Tomi Ungerer         

1967 - Tomi Ungerer
 
1968 - Ellen Raskin         

1968 - Ellen Raskin
 
1969 - Emily Arnold McCully         

1969 - Emily Arnold McCully
 
1971 - Arnold Lobel         

1971 - Arnold Lobel
 
1975 - Richard Scarry         

1975 - Richard Scarry
 
1985 - Marc Brown         

1985 - Marc Brown
 
1999 - Eric Carle         

1999 - Eric Carle
 
2000 - David Shannon         

2000 - David Shannon
 
2001 - Simms Taback         

2001 - Simms Taback
 
2002 - Kevin Henkes         

2002 - Kevin Henkes
 
2004 - Chris Raschka         

2004 - Chris Raschka
 



































 

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