Why We Support Book Week

August is a special month for book-lovers. It’s that particular time of year when, during your daily commute, you could be lucky enough to see Captain Underpants, Dorothy, Harry Potter, Mary Poppins and Thelma the Unicorn all walking together to school. No, we haven’t entered a magical parallel universe where characters from our favourite books walk among us—we’ve entered Book Week! Book Week is a special time when schools and libraries across Australia join in the celebration of children’s literature. During this time, children are often encouraged to dress as their favourite book characters to take part in book parades and assemblies. However, Book Week is so much more than just another school dress-up day; it is an annual celebration that encourages children to connect with books and reading on a fun, personal level.

CBCA Book Week was first held in Australia in 1945 with the theme ‘United Through Books’. Teachers, librarians, booksellers and publishers joined in the national celebration with activities that highlighted the importance of reading. Since this time, Book Week has become ingrained in our culture, especially in the education sector. Schools and libraries take this golden opportunity to promote reading and increase the literacy skills of Australian children. This is usually where the famed book parades come into play. Children get to choose their favourite book character and—with the help of crafty family members—get to embody that character for the day. The social benefit of this is that children get a chance to have fun and creatively express themselves amongst their peers and family members. The educational benefit is that, by dressing up as their favourite bookish character, children are given the time to truly connect with books and to associate reading with fun. The power of choice plays an important role in costume selection as well. Children are more likely to connect with a book that they have chosen for themselves, so allowing your child to select a character idea for themselves further strengthens their bond with this book.

And Book Week is not just for children who are already voracious bookworms. It is also a fantastic time to introduce emerging readers to the joys of books. A child may not be fully invested in novels, but perhaps they could dress up as their favourite comic book character or as an animal from their favourite non-fiction reference book? The possibilities are endless when it comes to costume ideas, and they can be as simple or as elaborate as you like; as long as the child is having fun.

Book Week activities are another powerful way to allow children to engage more closely with books and the written word. Many schools encourage children to write and share reviews of the book that their chosen dress-up character is from. Reading aloud to peers and sharing the reading experience together has been proven to improve a child’s vocabulary, communication skills and social skills. Book-related craft activities are another way of encouraging children to associate fun with books and learning.

Family and community involvement is another important aspect of Book Week. Numerous studies have shown that reading books to and with children deepens your bond with them, while also fostering a love of learning and reading books for pleasure. If a child sees a loved one enjoying books, they’re more likely to associate books with enjoyment.

We believe that Book Week is truly a special time. The week-long celebration of literature sends a powerful message to children—and adults—across Australia; reading is vitally important and books are worthy of being cherished. Having the opportunity to personally connect with books as a child creates a sense of fun and nostalgia around reading as they grow into adulthood. Anything we can do to help light the reading spark within every child should be celebrated.

Written by: Alesha Evans


The Joy and Power of Reading: A Summary of Research and Expert Opinion. Bridges. L. (2014) New York: Scholastic.

The Kids & Family Reading Report: 6th Edition (2017). New York: Scholastic.

Dick Robinson on the Value of Reading. (21 October, 2014). In Scholastic On Our Minds Blog.