No Rules, Just Read: Children's Book Week

By Jennifer E. RSS Fri, May 3, 2024

Happy Children’s Book Week, Philadelphia!

Founded in 1919 — thus marking its 105th anniversary this year — Children’s Book Week is the nation’s longest-running national literacy initiative. This year, it falls between May 6–12. It has at its core the belief that children’s books and literacy can be life-changing and, from the beginning, has sought to promote a high standard in books for young people. Schools, libraries, and bookstores often use this week (twice a year, since it is now held once in the spring and once in the fall) to highlight the remarkable diversity of children’s literature, the power of storytelling, and the sheer pleasure and joy that comes with a good book. 

Each year, Children’s Book Week has a new slogan and artwork. Think of your favorite Children’s book illustrator; there's a good chance they’ve illustrated a Children's Book Week poster! This year’s theme is No Rules, Just Read and features artwork by the award-winning Sophie Blackall. As the official spokesperson for the program, Blackall told Publisher’s Weekly:

"I’m a firm believer in reading where we can and reading whatever sparks our curiosity. Kids should have access to as many kinds of books as possible: books to reflect the farthest reaches of imagination and human experience. A great deal of our childhood is spent following rules, but reading should be liberating."

These sentiments are ones that we most definitely embrace at the Free Library!


Illustration for children's book week 2024 featuring four diverse children reading books in various playful positions, with text that says no rules just read


These days, Children’s Book Week is administered by the Children’s Book Council and their charitable arm, Every Child a Reader. For ideas on how to celebrate, they have lots of great ideas and resources on their website, including coloring sheets and activity pages, printable bookmarks, and even an official jingle to bounce along to! It also includes an annual tribute to Free Library favorite Floyd Cooper on April 10. 

But celebrating can also be as easy as visiting your local library to see what great events are happening for children and families, or browsing around the Children’s area to see what sparks your interest and enthusiasm. Then, make it a point to be seen reading — perhaps even "breaking" an antiquated reading rule as you do so, like peeking ahead a few pages (or even to the last paragraph!), reading a book that’s not on your level, or staying up too late to finish a chapter.

Have other ideas for celebrating Children’s Book Week and liberating yourself from "reading rules?" Please share them with us in the comments!

Have a question for Free Library staff? Please submit it to our Ask a Librarian page and receive a response within two business days.

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