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Celebrate Children's Book Week 2013 (May 13–19) in NYC

This year, join the NYC bookstores and other kid-friendly spots that are feting Children's Book Week with school visits, readings, parties and more.

Since we love kids' books almost as much as we love kids, we think it's only fitting to salute the indie bookstores and other cultural institutions around the city that are celebrating Children's Book Week, the oldest literacy fest in the country. It kicks off on Monday, May 13, with the announcement of the Children's Choice Awards, and runs through Sunday, May 19; we've arranged our coverage chronologically. (The two bigget parties take place in Brooklyn next weekend; see below.) Before, during or after the festivities, don't forget to check out our roundup of the 50 best kids' books ever. Happy Children's Book Week!

Honor the Children's Choice winner in chalk
One of the highlights of Children’s Book Week is the Children’s Choice Awards, in which young readers get to vote for their favorite book of the year. The winner will be announced on Monday, May 13, at the Children’s Choice awards gala in midtown Manhattan; the next day, Bank Street Bookstore will honor the winning book with a creative tribute. The Chalkboard Ninjas will create a 3-D chalk drawing of the book’s cover on the sidewalk in front of the bookstore, and little ones are invited to join the artistic process by grabbing some chalk and drawing their own favorite book character (Tue May 14 3:30–6:30pm).

Take in an author reading
This week is packed with book readings and signings featuring award-winning children’s book authors and illustrators. Melanie Hope Greenberg, author and illustrator of Mermaids on Parade and At the Beach, will conduct readings of her books at PS Bookshop in Dumbo (Thu May 16 4–5pm). Sara Varon and Cecil Castellucci will be at Greenpoint, Brooklyn's WORD for a free tea party and reading of their book Odd Duck, about a duck named Theodora who swims around with a teacup on her head (Sat May 18 at 4pm). Preschoolers can enjoy a reading of the colorful picture book Peanut and Fifi Have a Ball by author Randall de Sève at BookCourt (Sat May 18 at 11am). Or check out newcomer powerHouse on 8th for a reading by Nicholas Blechman of his transportation-themed book, Night Light (Sun May 19 11:30am–12:30pm).

Party with your favorite authors and illustrators
Children's Book Week kicks into high gear with two blowout parties over the weekend. Greenlight Bookstore, which made our Best in New York list for families, has invited eight children’s book illustrators—including Sophie Blackall, Betsy Lewin and George O’Connor—to compete in two rounds of “Artist Battles” at their celebration (Sat May 18 11am–5pm). Audience members will pick subjects for the illustrators to draw, then vote on their favorites. The party will also feature book signings, book-related freebies and a 15 percent discount on all children’s books. Families can also celebrate at Old First Reformed Church in Park Slope (Sun May 19 3–5pm, $10) with two hour-long programs. In the church’s upper hall, check out author readings and illustrator drawings by favorites like Brett Helquist and Stephanie Graegin. Downstairs, a local brass quintet will play music from classic children’s movies like Harry Potter and Star Wars. Kids are encouraged to dress up as their favorite book or movie characters, and since both events are running twice, from 3 to 4pm and 4 to 5pm, you can pick where you want to go first.

Attend a children’s book panel
Head to Books of Wonder for their May Book Bonanza, featuring a panel of children’s authors and illustrators, including Robomop’s Edel Rodriguez, Lottie Paris and the Best Place’s Scott Fischer and Spike and Ike Take a Hike’s S.D. Schindler. They’ll discuss their new releases, take questions and sign copies of their books for young fans (Sat May 18 2–4pm).

Settle in for a storytime
Even if your family can’t make it to an official CBW event, you can always celebrate your little ones’ love of books with one of the regular storytimes that take place across the city year-round. DiMenna Children’s History Museum holds a storytime every Sunday; this week, hear a reading of Kathleen Krull’s Houdini: World’s Greatest Mystery Man and Escape King, followed by a magic program by celebrity magician Matt Wayne (Sun May 19 at 11:30am). Posman Books also invites little ones to its Chelsea location every Tuesday and Thursday for storytime with Miss Natalie, who reads staff favorites geared toward preschoolers (Tue May 14, Thu May 16 at 11am). Finally, you can contact your local New York Public Library branch for information on kids’ events and readings; many locations hold regular storytimes.

Enjoy a school visit (if you're a lucky Brooklynite)
In one of the week’s most exciting offerings, Greenlight Bookstore has partnered with local children’s book authors to bring a different author or illustrator to a Brooklyn school every day of the week. (The school events are for students only, but Greenlight's party, see above, is open to all.) Fiona Robinson and Jacqueline Woodson will visit Arts and Letters in Fort Greene (Mon May 13), Doug Unplugged’s Dan Yaccarino will swing by Green Hill School (Tue May 14), and Michael Buckley and Ambre Anderson will present their books to the students of P.S. 11/Purvis J. Behan (Wed May 15). Rounding out the week are Tad Hills, the author of Duck & Goose, at Brevoort Place Elementary School in Clinton Hill (Thu May 16), and Gilbert Ford at Leadership Prep Ocean Hill (Fri May 17).

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