Sunday, December 10, 2023

Bits of the Benelux: Dutch youth reading campaign set to begin

Must read

[Editor’s Note: The following story is the 16th in the series Bits of the Benelux. This series takes a deep dive into the stories, cultures and traditions found throughout Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany.]

BRUNSSUM, Netherlands – Dutch primary schools gear up for their annual Children’s Book Week (known in Dutch as Kinderboekenweek) campaign Oct. 4-15. With children spending more time on electronics, encouraging youth to read has become even more significant, according to the Commission for the Propaganda of the Dutch Book.

“I love to read,” said Budget Analyst Jacqueline Sangen, USAG Benelux-Brunssum Resource Management Office. “When I was young, I would turn on my nightlight and read until one or two in the morning. My parents didn’t know.”

The development of reading in a child’s life sets the foundation for many of their pursuits as they grow. Reading as a Family and independently has been highly regarded as an essential tool in the education of emerging generations. Because of this, the Netherlands places special focus on reading across the country for 12 days every October. This Children’s Book Week aims to highlight the significance of reading through special school and library activities in every community.

This year’s theme, “At My House,” encourages children to read about how kids live in a variety of home environments all around the world. The theme follows a long legacy of themes in Dutch literature since the reading week first began in 1955 as an offshoot of the adult version held every March since 1932.

Quarters Inspector Jeroen Janssen, USAG Benelux-Brunssum Directorate of Public Works – Housing Division, recalled a vivid memory of Children’s Book Week from his childhood.

“I remember when I was little, my class went to the library, and I didn’t have a library card to check out a book,” he said. “It’s a special thing to get a book during Kinderboekenweek, and I really wanted a book.”

Janssen recounted that he knew there was another child with his same name who had a library card, so he posed as this other child to check out the book. When he got home, he got in trouble by his parents, and they notified the other family of the mishap.

“I still got to read the book before I had to return it the next day,” said Janssen. “I remember it so clearly. It was a book about penguins.”

Founded by the Commission for the Propaganda of the Dutch Book, the campaign kicks off with a children’s book ball, reminiscent of the adult book week commencement. The commission announces awards for the best Dutch children’s and picture books. The gathering typically attracts illustrators, writers, publishers, journalists, and booksellers.

Additionally, every year, a well-known Dutch or Flemish author is asked to write a book, usually a novella, to be used as the official book week gift (or boekenweekgeschenk, in Dutch) given when a purchase is made at a bookstore, or a new membership is opened at a city library. Since 1983, a picture book has also been published for younger audiences.

Schools participate in the reading week with curriculum that includes a suggested reading list of twenty children’s books selected to support the theme. Reluctant readers receive another list intended specifically for their needs. Part of the curriculum includes a special poem and a theme song featured with animated singing and dancing to support reading activities. During the campaign, children can even enter a contest to create their own board game based on a book, with the winning design to be published and produced.

This series, Bits of the Benelux, will continue to explore the many cultural traditions in and around the Benelux. Further stories like this on the local traditions, festivals, and events are scheduled to be published monthly, as they occur.

• Read Bits of the Benelux: Giants dance in streets during Ducasse d’Ath:

• Read Bits of the Benelux: WWII Liberation remembrance marked by – ceremonies, concert:

• Read Bits of the Benelux: Celebrating Prince’s Day in the Netherlands:

• Read Bits of the Benelux: Germany celebrates reunification during Tag der Deutschen Einheit:

• Read Bits of the Benelux: Celebrating the holidays through markets:

• Read Bits of the Benelux: Christmas Eve service commemorates WWII Soldiers:

• Read Bits of the Benelux: Story of three kings sparks Benelux-wide celebrations:

• Read Bits of the Benelux: Enjoying the Carnival season:

• Read Bits of the Benelux: Dutch tulips emerge with colorful history:

• Read Bits of the Benelux: Stumbling upon Holocaust history:

• Read Bits of the Benelux: Dülmen wild horses catch public attention:

• Read Bits of the Benelux: Brussels celebrates renaissance heritage with Ommegang:

• Read Bits of the Benelux: Nijmegen march offers challenge, inspiration to participants:

• Read Bits of the Benelux: Mons relives WWII liberation with annual tank parade:

• Read Bits of the Benelux: Münsterland keeps historic traditions alive with Lambertusfest:

Date Taken: 10.02.2023
Date Posted: 10.02.2023 01:40
Story ID: 454793
Location: BRUNSSUM, NL 

Web Views: 4
Downloads: 0


Latest article