If you haven’t ridden the wave of Picture Book Month activities this year, it’s never too early to start planning for next year. My friend and founder of this celebration, Dianne de Las Casas, author, storyteller, and children’s book advocate extraordinaire, gives terrific advice on just how to do this!
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Picture Book Month is an international literacy initiative that celebrates the print picture book during the month of November every year. Now in its third year, through the power of the Internet and social media, Picture Book Month has grown exponentially each year with partners such as SCBWI, the Children’s Book Council, the American Library Association, the American Booksellers Association, and many more. Every day in November, the website features an essay about the importance of picture books written by a prominent author, illustrator, or mover and shaker in the children’s book industry. All over the world, schools, libraries, and bookstores are celebrating Picture Book Month with author visits, Skype author visits, Google hangouts, YouTube and Vimeo videos, blog posts, Twitter chats, and big picture book displays. In addition, students are reading thousands upon thousands of picture books. A school in Hungary last year read over 6,000 picture books during Picture Book Month! Here’s how you can tap into the movement and connect with Picture Book Month.
- 1. Become a Picture Book Month Ambassador. Become a Picture Book Month Ambassador and place the Ambassador badge on your website, with a link PictureBookMonth.com. There is no cost and it shows your support. Educators, librarians, the home school community, booksellers, bloggers, literacy organizations, and parents are celebrating Picture Book Month in November. Becoming a Picture Book Month Ambassador demonstrates that you believe in the power of print picture books and support picture books as a building block of literacy. You can register to celebrate Picture Book Month (it’s never too late) and even get listed as an author on the website.
2. Offer School and Library Visits During Picture Book Month. Many schools and libraries celebrate Picture Book Month with author visits. If you are an author of picture books, November is a great time for you! Send out postcards, advertise in your email newsletter, and post to your social media sites that you are available for author visits during Picture Book Month. Check with your local libraries and schools to find out what they are doing to celebrate. Perhaps you could be part of their kick-off or finale.
- 3. Offer Skype Author Visits During Picture Book Month. Librarians like John Schumacher from Brook Forest Elementary School in Illinois and Teachers like Colby Sharp, who is a Nerdy Book Club Blogger, love doing Skype visits with authors during Picture Book Month. When schools and libraries don’t have the funds for an in-person author visit, they often turn to Skype author visits as a viable solution. They love nothing more than to connect their readers with the writers of their favorite books. A Skype Author Visit is a great way to link your picture books with schools and libraries during Picture Book Month.
4. Check Out the New Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide. Marcie Colleen, Picture Book Month’s Educational Consultant, has created an incredible 16 page Picture Book Month Teachers Guide. The guide correlates picture books to the U.S. Common Core and learning standards. Educators have less time to spend on content that falls outside of their assigned curriculum. Our Teacher’s Guide demonstrates, with research and data, that picture books are a valuable part of a student’s education. You can use our study guide as a springboard to create your own and illustrate how your picture books tie in to the curriculum and the Common Core.
- 5. Connect with the Picture Book Month Community. One of the great ways to receive invitations to schools, libraries, and conferences is to become involved in social media. Picture Book Month has a thriving Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest community. Our Twitter handle is @PictureBkMonth and our hashtag is #PictureBookMonth. Join the conversation, post your favorite picture books in response to our daily theme, and even connect with other authors and illustrators. Many of our Picture Book Month champions are on Facebook and Twitter. Read the daily essays on the Picture Book Month website and be sure to comment. Each comment is entered into our drawing for a chance to win autographed books from our Picture Book Month Champions.
Picture Book Month is all about promoting literacy by celebrating print picture books, the authors and illustrators who create them, and the readers who love them. Join us! November is Picture Book Month. Read * Share * Celebrate!
Dianne de Las Casas is an award-winning author, storyteller, and founder of Picture Book Month. Her performances, dubbed “revved-up storytelling” are full of energetic audience participation. The author of 22 books and the 2013 recipient of the Ann Martin Book Mark award, her picture book titles include The Cajun Cornbread Boy, There’s a Dragon in the Library, The House That Witchy Built, The Little “Read” Hen, and The House That Santa Built. Visit her website at diannedelascasas.com. Visit Picture Book Month at PictureBookMonth.com.