Children’s Book Week: Book Posters to Celebrate the Joy of Reading

Curb service 10,000 current books, WPA Poster, 1941

This weekend marks the end of Children’s Book Week, with a theme of “Read, Dream, Share.” Children’s Book Week is a wonderful time to remember why we love books and why they are so indispensable to our lives. The Library of Congress has a fabulous digital collection of full-color WPA (Work Projects Administration) posters. The posters were designed to publicize exhibits, community activities, theatrical productions, and health and educational programs in seventeen states and the District of Columbia., and the reading posters are especially compelling.

EXPLORE TOGETHER

Take some time to look at these WPA posters about reading and books with your family. The entire WPA poster collection is available here. All of these posters are in the public domain, so you’re welcome to print them out and put them in your home or anywhere else! Alternately (or additionally) check out the complete gallery of past National Book Festival Posters.

As you look at the artwork together, discuss:

  • Which poster is your favorite? Why did it stand out?
  • Who and what is on your favorite poster? What colors are there?
  • What three words would you use to describe the design?
  • What mood does the artwork suggest to you? How does it make you feel?
  • Do any of these posters from the Library’s collections express dreaming or sharing, two of the themes of this year’s book week?

CREATE TOGETHER

These posters are wonderful at celebrating books, but maybe they don’t reflect your family’s particular relationship with books, or maybe the kids on the posters don’t look like your children and their friends. Get your family together and challenge yourselves to take an afternoon to create a collaborative poster about books and reading that is unique to you. Consider the following prompts; feel free to use a couple, all of them, or make up your own.

  • Subjects: Who is on the poster? Would you include members of your family (don’t forget to include Hamilton the Hamster), your favorite book character, your favorite author?
  • Setting: When and how do you like to read? Under a tree on a summery day, cuddled up with your dog on a rainy afternoon? Or maybe you want to live in the world of your book! What does it look like? Flex your imagination muscles!

    January–A year of good reading ahead, WPA Poster, 1941

  • Action: What’s going on in the poster? How are the subjects interacting with the books?
  • Feeling: How do you like to feel while or after you read a book? Do you like to laugh, be enlightened, or does your heart need a healthy dose of romance?
  • Message: Is your poster encouraging reading, celebrating books, or just sharing your favorite quote from a book? What is the most important thing to you about reading and books?

I hope you have fun creating your own book poster, and I hope you feel the inspiration to keep or rediscover the pleasure of reading. Looking through all of these posters reminds me how transporting books can be, and I am now reaching for my own stack of graphic novels from my local branch of the public library (thank goodness for curbside pickup!).

Tell us what books have brought you joy this week! What are you reading right now? What do you most cherish about books? Happy reading, dreaming, and sharing.

 

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