Guess what!?! I have been meaning to tell you this for a while, but YOU HAVE SUPERPOWERS!
So do I and so do our kids! Reading is our superpower and this week we can celebrate that every day during Children's Book Week. Children's Book Week has been recognized since the year 1919, but this isn't just a time to celebrate books. This is a time to focus on connection - to connect to each other around a shared story. To connect to the story itself and the author and illustrator who created it and how that story makes us feel and think. It is within this connection that we can raise children who are curious about the world, have a desire to learn and to help every child be a reader.
You do not have to be a librarian, teacher, own a bookshop or write stories to celebrate Children's Book Week! Here are some great ways to foster a love of books and tap into your superpower as a family, each and every day!
1) Go to your local library! There are over 70 branches in the Chicago Public Library system and some of them are simply magical! I strongly suggest you try out different libraries in other neighborhoods too - our home library is Harold Washington, but Sulzer, Chinatown and West Loop branches are all some of our faves to visit. Librarians are also excellent resources when looking for a new book to read.
2) Swap books with a friend! Our oldest was looking for a new book to ready but nothing on our shelves was calling to him. So, we called a friend and twenty minutes later we were swapping a bag of books for a bag of their books. We only had one repeat in the swap and the rest of the books satisfied his reading itch for a while.
3) Support our local book shops, new and used, by purchasing books as gifts this holiday season! Check out the map below for a list of our favorites. Know of a great shop that isn't on the is list? Let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
4) Read aloud as a family. As our kids grow older I am guilty of forgetting the magic in reading aloud, but when we do remember to do it I wonder why we ever stopped? It's also great to hear our oldest read aloud to us and now our youngest is trying to do the same. I used to be just her describing the pictures, but now she is able to string letters together to make words. Again. Magic in those moments.
5) Discuss a book after reading it. Ask your children open ended questions about the story, the artwork and let them ask their own questions too!
6) Keep a log of all the books you read this week, month or year.
7) Create art inspired by something you read.
8) Create a cozy reading nook and rotate a little basket, or pile, of different books each week.
9) Visit the American Writer's Museum and just take time to explore! Stop in the squirrel room to read together. Give the typewriters a try and learn about different authors from different eras and countries.
10) Read a recipe and then create something yummy together.
11) Read a graphic novel! You can find anything from classic literature to new fiction in a graphic novel form now.
12) Read your child's favorite book while you read their favorite book.
13) Read a book, fiction or nonfiction, about a place you would like to visit.
14) Read the 2021 Caldecott Medal winner or one of the honoree books.
15) Read the 2021 Newberry Medal winner or one of the honoree books.
16) Visit Every Child A Reader for more info and resources.
Wondering where to go to find great books to read? Check out our "Chicago for Book Lovers" map!