Book Week 2019: Reading is My Secret Power

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Term Three is always a wonderful celebration of Australian children’s literature in schools, early education centres, libraries and bookstores around the country. The theme for CBCA Book Week 2019 is ‘Reading is my Secret Power’ and reading does indeed give us secret powers: the power to walk in the shoes of others through their stories; the power to escape into other worlds; the power to improve vocabulary and imagination…the list goes on. To best enjoy all CBCA Book Week has to offer, just embrace the chaos and immerse yourself deeply in story and reading. It’s the week for libraries and library teams to SHINE so if you are part of a library team, create a buzz, stock up on coffee and chocolate and just make it a pure celebration of the wonder of children’s and young adult literature. It’s so important the world of children’s literature has it’s own celebratory week and I love seeing libraries and library staff going all out with their dress ups, competitions and celebrations.

‘Reading is My Secret Power’ Book Week 2019 Junior Library Display by Jasmine and Emily.

I never write a stack of Book Week activity ideas and teaching notes – rather, each year I do a round up of what’s out there already. I’m involved in the writing of the Ippy TL network book, so all my ideas are in there anyway! As we hurtle towards Book Week, now is the time to really get stuck in to all things Book Week and embrace reading as your secret power.

Book Week 2019 Resources

Obviously the first place to start is at the start, with The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) website, where you will find the history of the CBCA and of Book Week, past themes from 1945 to 2019 and all the information about the CBCA Book of the Year Awards.

Image Credit: The Children’s Book Council of Australia

The Ipswich District Teacher Librarian Network book, which you can purchase here in digital or print form is a stock standard in school libraries has been for many, many years. Full disclosure on this one – I’m one of the editors for the book. Our website contains links to free CBCA Book Week resources here and sales of our book fund the Story Arts Festival Ipswich.

CostumeBox has incredibly fast delivery ( I ordered a Hermione Granger cardigan and tie on Wednesday last week and had it on Friday) and they have a great range of Book Week (and Harry Potter!) display items here as well as some really great ideas for ‘Reading is my Secret Power’ costumes here for both children and adults (hello librarians and teachers). I like the way that they have broken up ‘secret powers’ into different categories like ‘reading giving us the secret power of knowledge’…

Image Credit: CostumeBox. Click to see more.

‘Reading giving us the secret power of Magic’…

Image Credit: CostumeBox. Click to see more.

…and ‘Reading giving us the secret power of Adventuring’…

Image Credit: CostumeBox. Click to see more.

Teach Starter is a subscription based blog with some fab Book Week resources here, amongst many other things. It’s well worth checking out and I’ll be featured on their ‘For the Love of Teaching’  podcast soon.

Joy Lawn writes the relatively new Paperbark Words blog. I first met Joy when we were both involved in the Children’s Book Council of Australia Queensland Branch. Joy is articulate, insightful, considered and I love reading her work. She writes the youth literature column for the Weekend Australian and interviews authors for Magpies magazine. She judges the Prime Minister’s Literary awards, has an MA in Children’s Literature & Literacy and loves facilitating sessions at the Sydney and Brisbane Writers’ Festivals. Joy is currently doing some fab round ups of 2019 shortlisted titles on her blog with teaching ideas and insights that only she could provide!

Story Box Library is one of my favourite teaching resources and I love it for home use also. Story Box Library is a subscription based educational website found here, created for children to view stories by local authors and illustrators, being read aloud by fantastic, predominantly Australian and New Zealand storytellers. They always make a huge effort to have the CBCA shortlisted titles available on their site. This is one my most recommended school library subscriptions and with budgets for 2020 now being considered…add Story Box Library to your budget request. No they did not pay me to say this!

Tristan Bancks always does a really insightful post about Book Week each year, his 2019 one is here. I really love his website and often find absolute gems of links to share in school newsletters and in emails to staff. Of course you should also read his latest book, ‘Detention’, which I have reviewed here…it is superb.

Susan Stephenson has been writing her blog, The Book Chook for many years now and always does a great Book Week post. Susan has recently announced here that she is taking a long (perhaps permanent) break from her blog and I (and many others!) will greatly miss her contributions to the space. She is just FAB and I’d really like to congratulate her and thank her for her blog, which I’ve been an avid reader of since the start.

Likewise, I’ve read the blog of Sharon McGuinness from the start! Every year on Mrs Mac’s Library she links to teaching notes for the shortlisted books, as well as providing teaching ideas.

You’ll find lots more ideas for Book Week in my book ‘Raising Readers’, both in my chapter on school libraries and in the ‘how to’ guides, where there is a ‘how to create book week costumes’ section. I have fond memories of planning my Book Week costumes with my mum as a child, but I know some people dread Book Week costumes and that is where CostumeBox comes in! Keep costumes simple and encourage your child to really think about their favourite book character of the last little while and how they could create a costume to reflect the character. If it is not obvious who your book character is from the costume, I always encourage my own children and my students to either carry the book with them or make a book cover lanyard to wear around their neck to identify which book they are from. Such a simple addition to a costume but it really does allow everyone to get into the spirit and, as an added bonus, seeing all those book covers around the schoolyard is perfect advertising for what you should read next.

‘Reading is my Secret Power’ Costume Ideas from the IDTL network Book Week book.

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  1. Katie Silva on Aug 2, 2019 at 4:03 pm

    We chose to use ‘Reading is my Power’ as our theme for Book Week this year as we decided that reading is too powerful and important to be kept a secret. We are celebrating loud and proud!

    • Megan Daley on Aug 2, 2019 at 4:31 pm

      I actually could not agree with you more and I did wonder at the inclusion of the word secret – I think it’s a problematic word for a number of reasons. I WISH I had thought to do the same as you – In fact when I read your comment I thought WHY DIDN’T I DO THAT?!

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