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It's not just about the costumes
As Book Week approaches (August 17-24), I'm sure that many Canberra parents/carers will not be looking forward to scrambling around for pieces of clothing to make up a costume for their child(ren)'s daycare centre/preschool/school's Book Week event. There's such a huge focus on the Book Week costume, especially with shops trying to lure parents/carers with their costume sales, that you could be forgiven for forgetting about the important reasons why we have Book Week in the first place: to celebrate books and reading.
While the costumes have their place, so do the books! Each year Children's Book Week has a theme, and the theme for 2018 is 'Find Your Treasure'. Here are 7 ways for you and your child/children to find some truly amazing treasures during Book Week in Canberra.
1. Read books. The most obvious activity of all! Whether they're books you've bought or been gifted with or borrowed from the library, whether they're fairytales or books about pirates or princesses or cars or dinosaurs or a Gruffalo or Star Wars or the PJ Masks, whether they're Dr Suess books, or the Harry Potter series, or Golden Books, or The Chronicles of Narnia or the Mr Men and Little Miss books, whether they're books about space or rugby league or how we get bread or Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy or Pig the Pug or Possum Magic or a unicorn called Thelma, whatever books you have at home, try and set aside time every day during Book Week for reading together with your child.
2. Visit your local library. There's so much happening in our local libraries. There's storytime sessions for preschoolers, book clubs, English conversation groups, author talks, learning and social groups such as knitting groups and mahjong groups, a Lego bricks club for school kids, community education courses and cafes at Woden and Gungahlin libraries. And then, of course, there are all those books! Visit your local library during Book Week and browse the shelves to find your treasures. If you're stuck, librarians can help you find the perfect books for your little ones. Find your local libraryhere.
A wonderful new program hosted by Kippax and Gungahlin libraries is Story Dogs. Story Dogs is a fun and unique reading support program designed for children who have reading difficulties, or who are reluctant readers. Children spend approximately 20 minutes reading books appropriate to their reading level to trained companion dogs and their handlers. The program runs at Gungahlin library on Wednesday evenings and at Kippax on Saturday afternoons. If you are interested, book your child's place here.
3. Celebrate the National Library's 50th birthday. Just a week before Book Week, on Sunday August 12, the National Library will be celebrating its 50th birthday. What better way to get into the Book Week spirit than joining in the birthday party of our beloved national institution? There'll be a party on the podium with music, scrumptious snacks and of course, birthday cake. There'll be free guided tours around the library, a chance to visit the robots living deep within the library's enormous stacks, a treasure hunt, face painting, storytelling and craft activities for the kids, and so much more. For more information, go here.
4. Attend a book launch. Book launches are great ways to introduce children to the author behind the story. And it's a great way to throw your support behind local authors. On August 18, Paperchain Manuka will be launching Sandra Bennett's children's book 'Secrets Hidden Below', a rollicking adventure set in Bali for children aged 7-10. Details here.
On August 11, Harry Hartog booksellers in Woden will be launching 'WYRD' by Cate Whittle, one of the year's most anticipated new releases for young readers. Details here. And on August 19, Belconnen Library will be launching Nicole Godwin's latest children's picture book, 'Billie', about a dolphin who saves new friends in dire circumstances. Detailshere.
5. Find a little street library near you. Little street libraries are popping up everywhere. They're little collections of books usually set up in someone's front yard and stored in little dollhouse-like structures, or old TV cabinets (you'll find one in Moynihan Street, Evatt) or old fridges (Molesworth Street, Watson), or old fridges turned into the TARDIS (Maurice Place, Garran) and even a bright pink book locker (Garanya Street, Waramanga). During Book Week, why not look for a Little Library in your area, discover its treasures and donate some of your own books to the collection? For more information on little street libraries, go here or visit here.
6. Participate in your local school's Book Week activities. Your local school will no doubt be organising a week-long program of Book Week activities and events between August 17-24, so why not contact them and find out how you can join in and help?
7. And finally-of course-get that Book Week parade costume sorted! With the thousands upon thousands of human stories that have ever been told, it's a bit disappointing when all the kids rock up in PJ Mask costumes for the Book Week parade-as I heard what happened at a child care centre last year! (By the way, if you don't know who or what the PJ Masks are, then I strongly suggest you tune into them on ABC kids NOW. They're the biggest thing to hit preschoolers since sliced bread with fairy sprinkles on top).
If you're stuck for ideas on costumes, here are some who are NOT the PJ Masks.