Wednesday, April 2, 2014

International Children's Book Day (April 2, 2014)

As has been noted at The Prism in previous posts here and here, reading has always been an immensely important part of our family culture and experience. We exposed our sons to books and read to them from the time they were infants and could snuggle against us on the couch or sit on our laps in a chair. Their rooms always contained books and it was rare indeed if a birthday or Christmas or other holiday passed without the gift of a book or two to each of our sons. Our homes have always been "decorated" (though some might suggest "cluttered") with books, magazines and newspapers. Currently, we have boxes of children's books in storage just waiting to be awoken for use with future grandchildren.

Based on this family reverence for reading and books, the day cannot be allowed to pass without paying homage to the fact that today is "International Children's Book Day" (ICBD).  April 2nd was first declared International Children's Book Day in 1967 by IBBY (the "International Board on Books for Young People") in honor of Hans Christian Andersen, who was born on April 2, 1805 in Odense, Denmark. 

As stated at the IBBY web page for ICBD, "Each year a different National Section of IBBY has the opportunity to be the international sponsor of ICBD. It decides upon a theme and invites a prominent author from the host country to write a message to the children of the world and a well-known illustrator to design a poster."

The National host for ICBD this year is Ireland and the poster designed by Niamh Sharkey is shown above. The ICBD message for 2014 is from Siobhán Parkinson, the former Laureate na nÓg (Children’s Laureate of Ireland). Ms Parkinson's 2014 message to the children of the world can be read here.   [The United States was the National Host for 2013 and the poetic message for 2013 by poet Pat Mora can be read here.  The 2013 poster by designer Ashley Bryan is shown below.


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Photograph of Hans Christian Andersen by Thora Hallager (1869) is taken from  It is in the public domain.

Photograph of the statue of Hans Christian Andersen by the author from a trip to Copenhagen in 2007.  Children and adults alike pose sitting on the knee of the famous author of children's literature and the polished surface of Hans's knees are a testament to how popular this ritual is among residents and tourists.

Images of the 2014 International Children's Book Day poster by Irish artist Niamh Sharkey and the 2013 poster by American designer Ashley Bryan are both taken from 

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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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