The Canadian Children's Book Centre

CCBC Logo

The Canadian Children's Book Centre caters to an enormous demographic:"If you love children's books, you've come to the right place!" announces the tagline on their website. The non-profit organization has been long beloved for establishing connections between teachers and librarians, authors and illustrators, and publishers, and providing these groups with valuable resources.They're the force behind TD Canadian Children's Book Week, and several notable children's book awards. Lesser-known, however, is the support CCBC offers parents and other caregivers in connecting children with books and literacy activities that will awaken them to the joys of reading.

According to the CCBC, "The recipe for creating a life-long reader is wonderfully simple." That recipe involves the following four steps for parents: "Read-- Make books and reading a part of your children’s lives right from the start. And set aside regular time to read to your children from infancy to adolescence. Lead the Way-- Make regular visits to your local library and bookstore to help your children find the best books available. And Set an Example-- When children see adults enjoying a good book, they get a very important message – you never outgrow books!"

My New Shirt by Cary Fagan cover

To the book-loving parents for whom this recipe is simply common sense, the CCBC offers practical advice for how to choose children's books in general, and then breaks down this advice for specific age-groups. Advice for Babies and Toddlers includes "[Choosing] Books that have physical “tricks” such as finger holes, opening doors and peek holes to encourage interaction and involvement;" Children Two to Six suggests, "Combine a favourite book with an activity. After reading My New Shirt by Cary Fagan and illustrated by Dušan Petričić, go shopping for new clothes;" for Children Five to Eight, it becomes important to select books with "[r]epetition in language to help reinforce reading skills;" and for what is described as "Confident Readers", Age Seven to Ten, it is time to try "[b]ooks that are a part of a series. Readers often love to follow the same group of characters through many books and adventures." For Readers Ten and Up it becomes important to find "[b]ooks that can provide insight into the reader’s life, identity and relationships."

Cinnamon Baby cover

They've got loads of activities to print off and use including Stella and Sam colouring sheets, activity suggestions for Nicole Winstanley's Cinnamon Baby, and more activities for Valerie Coulman's When Pigs Fly.They'll even teach you how to write in hieroglyphics. Explore their books lists, including Picture Books for Families (in honour of Family Literacy Day), and their 2011 Summer Reading List.

But that's not all. As CCBC Sales and Marketing Manager Holly Kent explains, "Our most valuable resource may be Best Books for Kids and Teens, our annual selection guide. We only review the best books published in Canada for all age groups; it really takes the guess work out of choosing books for kids (and teens). The really exciting news is that it will be published twice a year beginning in 2012, once in the spring and once in the fall to better align with Canadian publishers’ releases."

Parents are also eligible to become members of the CCBC, which includes a one-year subscription to Best Books for Kids & Teens and also to their quarterly magazine Canadian Children's Book News. Members also receive an invitation to the CCBC Annual General Meeting each June and invitations to special events hosted by the CCBC.

August 4, 2011
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