REAL AUSTRALIA

Voice of Real Australia: Why a COVID-compliant Book Week is so important

Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from ACM, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend.

From left, Elise, Henry and Georgia, with their costumes made by mum Sarah for Book Week at home. Photo: supplied.

From left, Elise, Henry and Georgia, with their costumes made by mum Sarah for Book Week at home. Photo: supplied.

Book Week took a different approach this year around the country, with parents and educators ensuring kids didn't miss out on one of the highlights of the year due to COVID.

For those stuck at home, events took place over Zoom and social media.

Local communities were keen to keep the Book Week spirit alive, with residents placing their favourite book in windows for children to find on walks within their 5km radius.

Parents didn't scrimp on effort either, raiding the costume aisles of their local Kmart stores in search of a Hermione costume from JK Rowling's Harry Potter or even Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

This parent went hunting for a cloak and cauldron to accompany a witch costume from Julia Donaldson's Room on the Broom.

This year's theme, Old Worlds, New Worlds, Other Worlds, meant parents could even dress their children as front-line health workers and not look out of place.

Ballarat Foundation community engagement and communications coordinator Ricci Shephard reads to her eight-year-old daughter Zoe McGreevy. She is hosting online story time for the community every day through Book Week. Photo: Lachlan Bence

Ballarat Foundation community engagement and communications coordinator Ricci Shephard reads to her eight-year-old daughter Zoe McGreevy. She is hosting online story time for the community every day through Book Week. Photo: Lachlan Bence

And while many lamented about the impost of Book Week in such difficult times, one primary school teacher pointed out that it was a good way to cheer the kids up.

"Kids have missed so much school, sports, camps, and excursions - not to mention all the family stuff too."

"Our kids love Book Week and we always do a good show."

This is the 75th anniversary of Book Week, which started in 1946 with the Children's Book Awards.

Schools and libraries spend a week celebrating books and Australian children's authors and illustrators.

Charlie and sister Daisy, dressed as The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Nemo. Photo: supplied.

Charlie and sister Daisy, dressed as The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Nemo. Photo: supplied.

The reason for its launch has more in common with our current times than we may realise.

World War Two had just ended and plans for "a more hopeful future around the world" were being laid.

The Children's Book Council of Australia called it "an extraordinary act of optimism on the part of a small country."

"Internationally, the post-war world believed access to books and quality literature would enhance young people's prospects for a peaceful and enlightened future."

And so with that, let's focus on the good intent of Book Week and giving the kids something positive to enjoy.

In case you are interested in filtering all the latest down to just one late afternoon read, why not sign up for The Informer newsletter?

MORE STUFF HAPPENING AROUND AUSTRALIA