Events, Reading theory

Connect with books by attending a book launch

This picture was taken at my first book launch, for Gabby, at the Intergalactic Travel Authority (cafe and literacy centre) in Toronto.
This picture was taken at my first book launch, for “Gabby,” at the Intergalactic Travel Authority (cafe and literacy centre) in Toronto. Kids also got to meet Gabby’s illustrator, Jan Dolby, who signed books and talked about her process.

If you’re trying to get your kid to read more, a great way to do that is to connect them to the book, in real life. And one of the best ways to do that is to attend a book launch.

Some facts about book launches
1) They’re free! (And they even sometimes have cake! And it’s free!)

2) You don’t need an invitation! Authors want you there–in fact, the more the merrier.

3) If it’s a launch for a children’s book, there will almost certainly be great children’s crafts or other activities there. (Yep, for free!)

4) You should probably plan on buying a copy of the book (although it’s not mandatory). But bring a twenty.

5) After you buy the book, you can get the author to sign it! And personalize it for your child.

So now your child has a brand-new book with a personalized message to them, they’ll have the author’s autograph, they’ll have eaten cake, and they will probably come away with a bookmark or a sticker as well and maybe they’ll even have done a book-related craft. Think they’ll read that book? Heck, you’ll be lucky if they haven’t read the whole thing by the time you get home! And you may as well just turn the car around because you’ll need to go back to the bookstore to buy the rest of the books in the series because your kid will be clamouring for them as well.

Oh heck, ya, there's gonna be cake! At my second launch (for Gabby: Drama Queen) the cake featured toppers by plasticine artist Suzanne Del Rizzo.
Oh heck, ya, there’s gonna be cake! At my second launch (for Gabby: Drama Queen) the cake featured toppers by plasticine artist Suzanne Del Rizzo.

Where can you find out about book launches?
1) Follow your child’s favourite authors and illustrators on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads or through their author site. They’ll let you know when they have a new book coming out.

2) Follow some kidlit publishers on social media, such as: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Lorimer, Owlkids, Groundwood, Scholastic and there are zillions more. Just search for them on Facebook and Like their pages–you’ll soon hear about upcoming book launches. Check your child’s favourite books to see who published them, and then follow them on Twitter or Facebook. For instance, I just went to the Fitzhenry & Whiteside (my “Gabby” publisher) FB page and found this upcoming book launch for a picture book called The Old Ways, which will be at Mabel’s Fables in Toronto on April 22.

3) Ask at your local bookstore about what children’s book launches they’ve got coming up.

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