“Everything you look at can become a fairy tale and you can get a story from everything you touch.”
— Hans Christian Andersen
I love children’s books. I have quite a collection and it might seem a little strange to some since I am not a preschool teacher anymore. Now, even if you do not have the same love of books and reading as I do, I’m sure you still remember some favorite children’s books from your childhood. It is so important to understand how essential they are in children’s growth and development.
Some children’s books may seem simple, but they have so much imagery and meaning for children. Reading is powerful, and when children are read to, they are learning. Books help stimulate the growth of children’s imaginations, help them understand feelings and emotions, and strengthen their cognitive development, which builds their confidence. They provide adults with many opportunities to introduce new words, concepts, and ideas to children and help children see that books are useful sources of information.
There is a wide variety of fabulous children’s books out there waiting to be discovered – not just by children but by adults who are young at heart too! One way to inspire children to pick up books and develop a love for reading, and encourage parents to get involved, is to celebrate International Children’s Book Day (ICBD) at your program to highlight the importance of reading.
International Children’s Book Day (ICBD) is an annual event organized by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), an international non-profit organization. Since 1967, this day is celebrated on or around Danish author and poet Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday, April 2nd. This day is celebrated worldwide to inspire a love of reading among young children, to promote literacy, and to call attention to and celebrate children’s books.
Each year, a different national section of IBBY gets the opportunity to be the international sponsor of Children’s Book Day. The hosting country that is chosen chooses a theme for the day, invites a well-known author from that country to write a message to the children of the world, and an illustrator to design a poster. These materials are then used to spread the word about ICBD, and events are held in libraries, schools, bookstores, and other public community areas around the world.
Here are some ways you can celebrate International Children’s Book Day:
- Download and print the message and poster for the ICBD event that year and share it.
- Participate in reading sessions with the children you work with.
- Encourage children to read their favorite books and to write their own stories.
- Invite parents to participate in a classroom reading activity.
- Start a lending library for your families to use all year round.
- Teach, learn, and/or practice inclusivity and cultural awareness and appreciation by looking into children’s books from other countries.
- Go to the library and check out some popular children’s books.
- Learn about Hans Christian Andersen, author of many famous children’s stories (or fairy tales) including The Ugly Duckling, The Little Mermaid, The Princess and the Pea, Thumbelina, and more.
- American Literature – Author Hans Christian Andersen
- The Life and Works of Hans Christian Andersen
- Make bookmarks. Let the children decide how they want to create it.
- Dress up as your favorite book characters.
- Look for local events, including storytelling workshops, book readings, writing competitions, and talks from famous authors and illustrators of children’s literature.
- Donate extra books to your local school, library, or to those in need.
- Hold a book swap.
- Read great books and repeat!
To find out more about this day, events happening near you, and to see current and past posters and messages, visit the International Children’s Book Day website and pick up and read a book today!