Book Week

Dreaming with eyes open…

By Emma Thomas 

Book Week is fast approaching and will be celebrated from the 20th-26th August this year. Organised by The Children’s Book Council of Australia the theme for Book Week this year is ‘Dreaming with eyes open…’. 

Book Week is a magical event which has been running since 1945 and celebrates Australian authors and illustrators. Schools, libraries and families come together to share in events, create displays, run competitions and best of all, tell stories! Book Week is a wonderful time of celebration and a chance for us to champion books and promote a love of reading. It gives us a chance to share our favourite stories with our children and participate in storytelling events. 

Many children around the country will join in book week events including dress up days! Somehow these dress up days always seem to creep up on us as parents, so when your child casually mentions that it’s their dress up day tomorrow, don’t fret!

Our top tips:

  • Read! If your child is familiar with many different books and knows lots of characters they will have a broad knowledge base to draw on. 
  • Acceptance – dress up days have this ability to materialise out of thin air. Just accept it and be prepared to create costumes quickly. 
  • Think simple – your child doesn’t need a custom made costume which perfectly recreates their favourite character. They just need something! Can you use a mask or hat, maybe some face paint? Along with plain clothing this creates a character with ease. 
  • Reuse – create a dress up box and keep costumes from previous years. Maybe a younger sibling can re-wear a costume or you might be able to repurpose some parts. 
  • Keep it real – not every family has the time, energy or finances to create elaborate costumes. And if we are not careful, Book Week can turn into a parental competition more than a celebration of reading! Let your child steer the costume direction and keep the focus on celebrating books and reading. 


My Favourite Finalists 

You can view these on the Book Week website – 

‘What Do You Call Your Gandma?’ by Ashliegh Barton, ill. Marina Heiduczek – a wonderful rhyming story about grandmas around the world! I really enjoyed learning about the different names that grandma’s go by and seeing such a wide variety of cultures represented. 

‘Walk of the Whales’ by Nick Bland – when you see a new book by Nick Bland you know it’s going to be good! This humorous tale of whales on land also shares some deeper messages of our impact on the planet and how we are all connected. 

‘Jetty Jumping’ by Andrea Rowe, ill. Hannah Sommerville – an Aussie beach book about overcoming fears. You can let yourself get swept away in the story until you join Milla and take the plunge to jump from the jetty. 

‘Book of Curious Birds’ by Jennifer Cossins – a delightful introduction to ‘information books’. While some of the text may be too complicated for young readers, the delightful illustrations and fun facts are sure to inspire. 

‘Walking in Gagudju Country: Exploring the Monsoon Forest’ by Diane Lucas and Ben Tyler ill. Emma Long – a story for primary school readers that invites you on a journey into our beautiful Australian country. The inclusion of Indigenous language enhances the reader experience. 


Sharing your childhood

My children love to hear about when I was little and Book Week is a great opportunity to dig out some old stories and share these together. I have many special memories of reading with my family as a child and I want to pass these on. It is also amazing to see the inscriptions in the front of some of my stories that I received as a young child. 


Whatever Book Week looks like for you, I hope you can keep the focus on celebrating books and reading!