8 sleeps to Book Week! 20-26 August, celebrating 70 years of Awards

Children’s Book Week is here!

The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) established Book Week in 1945, and the Awards in 1946. Just last year, Book Week and the CBCA celebrated their 70th anniversaries. Now, to celebrate the 70th annual Awards, CBCA’s theme for Book Week 2016 is “Australia! Story Country.”

The illustrator producing Book Week’s “Australia! Story Country” artwork is Shaun Tan, winner of the 2014 award for CBCA Picture Book of the Year. Sean’s “quirky and vibrant illustration is a wonderful celebration of 70 Years of the CBCA Book of the Year Awards,” says Book Week’s merchandise page. “It references many iconic Australian children’s books and traditional Indigenous legends… Adults and children alike will gain immense enjoyment from spotting their favourites”.

You can check out Book Week’s celebratory “Australia! Story Country” merchandise, including the official handbook, badge, bookmark, stickers and posters, here.



Oh! Well, for a full week every August, schools, libraries, and kids across the whole country celebrate Australian books, and the wonderful authors and illustrators who create them. During Book Week, kids do activities and read and tell stories, based on that year’s theme. (See The Book Chook below for suggested Book Week 2016 activities.)



Children’s Book Week has been run every year since the Children’s Book Council of Australia was established in 1945. Book Week follows a theme nominated annually, and since 1987 a Picture-Book-of-the-Year-winning illustrator produces the artwork for Book Week’s merchandise.

The first Book Week theme, in 1945 was “United Through Books.” The next were “Books are Bridges” and “Books for the World of Tomorrow”. The first Book Week illustrator was Bob Graham in 1987, followed by Roland Harvey and Graeme Base. All three are prolific today.

This year, Book Week’s theme is “Australia! Story Country,” illustrated by Shaun Tan.

You check out Book Week’s illustrations from recent years, and list of all 71 Book Week themes, dates, and all 29 illustrators, at CBCA.




The obvious way for kids to get involved by participating in Book Week activities at school and kinder.


Public libraries run events. Some council websites list their libraries’ events. If yours doesn’t, search for your local library website/s or visit them in person.

We looked up libraries at Boroondara council, and found Ashburton library’s “interactive storytime for the whole family, with award winning picture books and badge making” on Saturday 20th August at 11am-12pm.

Camberwell library’s Book Week “Lego Club” was also listed, to be held on 4pm Tuesday 23rd August. It invites primary-school children to draw inspiration from their favourite books to build a Lego masterpiece.

Balwyn library is holding Bedtime Storytime from 6:30 to 7:30pm on 24th August. Pyjama-clad children and their favourite cuddly toys are expressly invited.

From 4-6pm on Friday 26th August, Hawthorn library invites families to Book Selection Afternoon, where they can help select new books for the library. Children’s activities and light refreshments will be provided.


It seems the national authority, if you really want to get into Book Week, is The Book Chook.

Every year, The Book Chook publishes extensive Book Week activities and ideas for teachers, librarians, kids and parents in every state of Australia. If you missed them, you can still see archives for 2012-2015 by searching “Book Week” at The Book Chook.

This year, The Book Chook says:
“I think it's important not to get too fixed on what makes a book suit this 2016 Children's Book Week theme. Australia IS a Story Country. Our stories come from all over... Let's encourage Australia's children to immerse themselves in a range of stories, to read them, listen to them, watch them, think about them, and go on to share them with others!”

The Book Chook’s focus for Book Week 2016 is Australian storytelling. Resources are non-prescriptive and foundational, inviting children to immerse themselves in Australian story and explore the craft of storytelling.

It's definitely worth checking out The Book Chook’s Book Week 2016 resources and posts.



8 sleeps to Book Week


Suggested reading: Check out the short-list for the 2016 Book of the Year Awards. These are the best books for 2016, according to the CBCA.


Written by Mel Jackson.

Mel Jackson is an auntie of two who loves reading, hearing and watching stories, and writing. She also likes mining the internet for unhidden gems, and sharing them with others.