Book Week is back!

August 21, 2021 BY

Celebration: This year marks the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s 76th Book Week which encourages kids to dress up as their favourite book character. Photo: FILE

THE Children’s Book Council of Australia’s annual Book Week kicks off this Saturday, 21 August, with the nationwide celebration of the written word set to continue until next Friday.

Ballarat Libraries are leading this year’s activities in the region, and children’s and youth librarian Julie Bull said young readers are keen to take part.

“At this stage we’re looking at running special story times across our three libraries for pre-schoolers and we’ll be focusing on the books that were shortlisted in the early childhood category,” she said.

A special event for school-aged children in collaboration with local illustrator, Ben Sanders, and the Art Gallery of Ballarat is already booked out and will go ahead subject to COVID-19 restrictions.

This year’s Book Week theme is Old Worlds, New Worlds, Other Worlds, allowing children to immerse themselves in their favourite fictitious stories.

“It actually allows for a lot of fantasy for this year,” Ms Bull said. “It’s so open ended, if you ask kids what that means to them, you’ll get a different answer every time.

“Book Week is a great way for children, libraries and schools all to get together and we celebrate books, and we really focus on Australian authors and illustrators.

“We want to acknowledge how important they are for our communities.”

Ms Bull said getting children to read was “more important than ever” in the digital age as it improves spelling and literacy abilities and strengthens young imaginations.

“At the library we really encourage that children read for pleasure. Whatever they’re interested in, there is a book about it so you can read to your heart’s desire no matter what level you are.”

Acting coordinator of community engagement and partnerships at Ballarat Libraries Julie Stevens said it wasn’t just young readers looking to transport to another world through the pages of a book.

“Reading has been a great refuge for people over the last 18 months while we’ve been in this COVID environment and public libraries have been incredibly important in that for people, supporting that as an activity that people can really find some solace in during this time,” she said.

“We encourage people to keep in touch with us, see what’s on offer, come in and see us and borrow some books.”

To keep up to date with in-person Book Week events, head to the Ballarat Libraries Facebook page or visit centralhighlandslibraries.org.au.

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