Happy National Author’s Day! We’re diving into the history of this special occasion and how you can celebrate!
The History Behind National Author’s Day
In 1928, Nellie Verne Burt McPherson wanted a way to honor one of her favorite authors. At this time she was president of the Bement, Illinois Women’s Club, but earlier in her life she had been a teacher and a passionate reader. Just years before coming up with this idea, Nellie found herself confined to a hospital bed recovering from World War 1. During her stay, she decided to write a letter to Irving Bacheller, a fiction author who wrote Nellie’s favorite story, “Eben Holden’s Last Day A’ Fishin”.
In response, Irving sent back a signed copy of a different novel. Nellie wanted to thank him, but could not think of a way that adequately expressed her gratitude. As a result, in 1928 she proposed a National Author’s Day to the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. Subsequently, a resolution passed marking November 1st as a day to celebrate American Author’s.
Almost exactly 20 years later in 1949, Author’s Day became a nationally recognized holiday by the United States Department of Commerce.
How You Can Celebrate
After Nellie passed in 1968, her granddaughter, Sue Cole continued her legacy. In order to celebrate this day, Sue suggested people follow the example of Nellie and write a thank you letter to their favorite authors if they are still living. As educators, National Author’s Day is a great opportunity for your students to share their favorite books and explore different genres.
You could plan a trip to the library and have children check out a new book to read. Kids could dress up as their favorite characters or authors. With a little extra planning and the help of some parents, you could even plan a book drive to boost your classroom reading selection. The possibilities are endless!
No matter what you do, we hope you look back on all the wonderful books you’ve read with gratitude for the Author’s who wrote them.