National Book Month is held each October. The month-long celebration focuses on the importance of reading, writing and literature. National Book Month is also a time to honor the country’s best books and authors. In mid-October, the National Book Awards announces the year’s 15 finalists. In 2018, that will happen on October 10th. The National Book Foundation created the first National Book Month in 2003.
National Book Month timeline
- October 2003
First National Book Month
The National Book Foundation created the first National Book Month in 2003.
National Book Awards are founded
The National Book Foundation created the National Book Awards, to honor the country's top authors each year.
Harper Bros. was founded in New York City
Palmer Putnam and John Wiley established one of America's first major publishing houses in what would later become the center of the publishing industry: New York City.
Printing press sparks a revolution
Johannes Gutenberg began work on his printing press — the first with mechanical movable type. The ability to print anything quickly sparked the Printing Revolution, where knowledge and ideas spread around the world.
How to Observe National Book Month
Start a new book
One of the best ways to celebrate National Book Month is by opening a book you've never read before. It may be your 20th of the year, or your first. Either way, you're embracing what this month is all about.
Share an old book
There are so many powerful, funny, touching and life-changing books out there. Take one of your favorites and share it with someone.
Post on social media
Use #NationalBookMonth to let your friends and followers know what you're up to this month. Tell them what you're reading and why, and encourage them to do the same!
5 Top American Authors
Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)
Twain was most famous for "Tom Sawyer" and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," which has been called "the Great American Novel."
Ernest Hemingway (1899 – 1961)
Hemingway's classics include "The Sun Also Rises," "A Farewell to Arms," "For Whom the Bell Tolls," and "The Old Man and the Sea."
Edgar Allen Poe (1809 – 1849)
Poe is best known for his short stories and dark poetry, including one of his most famous: "The Raven." He is largely viewed as the creator of the detective fiction genre.
John Steinbeck (1902 - 1968)
Steinbeck is most well-known for his work "The Grapes of Wrath." Steinbeck won the 1972 Nobel Prize in Literature.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896 – 1940)
Fitzgerald was only moderately successful while alive, but has achieved notoriety as one of the best American authors of all time in the decades since. Think "The Great Gatsby."
Why National Book Month is Important
It encourages reading
The ultimate goal of National Book Month is to encourage reading — an activity with many proven benefits. Reading can help anyone develop better vocabulary, improve memory, expand knowledge, and lower stress.
It honors the greatest
National Book Month helps recognize the greatest books and authors, which in turn gives young children diverse role models. It's important to show young people that literature and authors are still relevant and important.
It encourages family time
National Book Month encourages families to enjoy new books together. Reading aloud or discussing new works around the dinner table supports family time and bonding.