“The world is a series of miracles . . . but we’re so used to them we call them ordinary.”
“Where words fail, music speaks.”
“Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale.”
International Children’s Book Day is April 2, celebrated on the birthday of Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875), Danish storyteller and author who wrote the quotes above, “The Ugly Duckling,” “The Princess and the Pea,” and “The Little Mermaid” as well as “The Snow Queen” which was the basis for Disney’s Frozen. The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) began the celebration in 1967 to encourage reading and to promote the love of books for young children. Forming a network of people from all over the world, IBBY members are committed to bringing books and children together. The IBBY is a nonprofit organization whose mission in part is to promote international understanding through children’s books, to give children everywhere the opportunity to have access to books with high literary and artistic standards, and to protect and uphold the Rights of the Child according to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
How can you celebrate International Children’s Book Day? Wherever you are, read to a child; give a new book to each of your children; or, donate a book (perhaps your favorite childhood title) to your local library. For yourself, take just a moment out of your busy day to close your eyes and think about your favorite book from your childhood. Mine was a much worn paperback of fairy tales, including several written by Hans Christian Andersen. The cover was turquoise, and I read each tale over and over—and over. It was the only book I owned, and my only access to a library was one classroom trip a month to the tiny, one-room school library.
Take a child to YOUR Rowan County Public Library to celebrate the Day. Our weekly After School Story Time is at 4 p.m. on Monday. Celebrate reading with a child every time you have an opportunity by taking advantage of happenings at the Library: Mother Goose Time on Tuesday mornings; After School Story Times on Monday and Thursday afternoons; the eight-week Summer Reading Program; and, special programs throughout the year—mark your calendar now for the Teddy Bear Picnic on April 21. Take a look at the colorful displays, the AWE computers, the children’s magazines available for checkout, the lists of “100 Books to Read Before Kindergarten,” and the “mini-zoo.” We have a celebration each time a child becomes an independent reader—after reading a children’s book to Miss Sandy, they receive a certificate, ring the Literacy Bell (very LOUDLY for everybody in the Library to hear!), and have their picture made to be published in The Morehead News.
I will close with my favorite Hans Christian Andersen quote:
“The wiser a man becomes, the more he will read, and those who are wisest read most.”