In the library world, we have many ways to celebrate the accomplishments of children’s literature authors. Two of the biggest awards in literature are the Newbery and Caldecott Awards, and every year there’s always a lot of hype surrounding these awards, who might be receiving them, why certain books weren’t chosen, etc. But those awards, while important, are just a small part of how librarians celebrate the authors of children’s literature every day. One of the most important ways we do this is by sharing books and authors with customers–young, old, and in between. Children’s lit. isn’t just for kids; some of the most important and meaningful books ever written, the ones that we remember even as adults, were read to us as children or ones we discovered for ourselves on the shelves of a library. Think back–what was the first book you remember reading with your mom/dad/grandparent/sibling/best friend? What was the first book you read on your own? Do you have a favorite book from your childhood?
So celebrating the authors of these works is truly important to not only librarians, but also to teachers, parents, and kids. We all have our favorite children’s lit. books, even if we’re not completely aware of it. And if you haven’t picked up a children’s book (whether it be a picture book, chapter book, or nonfiction) in a while, I wholeheartedly suggest you do. You might be surprised at the amazing quality of the writing, illustrations/photographs, and message. Ask any librarian for their favorite children’s books, and they’ll be happy to supply you with them and the reason(s) behind their choices. You do know you can always rely on your favorite librarians for book recommendations, right?
There are also lots of really great web resources to help you celebrate children’s authors. One of my favorites is the Happy Birthday Author Blog, which gives a virtual birthday shout-out to children’s authors on their birthdays. The blog is written by a special education teacher who contacts the authors he highlights to get their favorite birthday memories; he also provides neat activities in connection with the author’s books and other clever literature-based ideas. He sometimes even has book giveaways where you can win signed copies!
Another resource to check out is The Children’s Book Review. This website does Author Showcases and interviews, helps visitors sort books by age group or category (genre), hosts book giveaways, has great informational articles about literacy and the power of reading, and so much more! What I really love are the Author Showcases, interviews, and book trailers–amazing ways to celebrate books and authors!
These are just two of the resources on the Internet, and there are lots more. If you know of a good website that celebrates children’s lit. authors, please let us know! Leave us a comment with the website name, address, how it celebrates children’s authors and why you like it, and we’ll add it to this post!
I’ll end with a video interview of Jack Prelutsky from Reading Rocket’s “Meet the Author” series. You’ll get some great insight into Prelutsky’s crazy, creative mind! *video courtesy of a link from the Happy Birthday Author Blog*