A Week for Children s Books

May 13, 2013
The first Children’s Book Week poster from 1921! Today kicks off Children’s Book Week, an annual celebration of books for young people and the joy of reading. Yeah, I think that’s something we can all get behind! Children’s books are the first books we read, and of course, we read them at a time when we’re devouring the world around us as fast as we possibly can. Everything is new when we’re kids — the sights and sounds and feelings of the world around us — and so children’s books become markers by which we remember our certain times in our life. And those memories become heightened over the years. I was seven years old when I first read that book, I can say to myself about The Baby-sitters Club; I remember how I got my first copy and where it lived in my bedroom. Children’s books leave their mark in ways adult books don’t, I’ve found. This week we’ll all be sharing our favorite classic children’s books as well as the modern books we hope will become classics as a way of honoring the books that nurtured our childhood. My favorite classic children’s book? The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. First published in 1978, it won the Newbery in 1979 (the year I was born, which feels like fate) and was developed into a movie in the late 1990?s. This book is such a favorite of mine that I inadvertently memorized much of the first chapter, simply by reading it so often as a kid. (My twin sister and I still spontaneously burst into our recitations occasionally…) Turtle Wexler is, of course, one of the best characters I’ve ever come across. My favorite modern children’s book that I hope will become a classic? The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. (Coincidentally, Selznick also designed the poster for this year’s Children’s Book Week!) Full of a riveting story and the most incredible artwork, Hugo is a multiple award-winner that is sure to capture kids’ imaginations — like it did mine! — for years to come. How about you, readers?