International Children’s Book Day
Robin @ Kids Matter
International Children’s Book Day (ICBD) has been celebrated on or around Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday, which is April 2nd. Hans Christian Andersen was a Danish writer from the 1800s who is best known for writing fairy tales. Per the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), the purpose is, “…to inspire a love of reading and to call attention to children’s books.”
Each year a different theme is chosen. An author from a chosen country is asked to write a special letter to the children of the world and a poster is made by a prominent illustrator in that country. International Children’s Book Day celebrations around the world focus on a new theme and culture every year. The theme for this year is, Imagine Nations Through Story. Here is a link to the letter for 2014. The poster, shown above, was designed by Niamh Sharkey, and the message written by Siobhan Parkinson. The country in the spotlight is Ireland. Past countries participating have been: USA, Mexico, Estonia, Spain, Egypt, Thailand, New Zealand, Slovakia, India, Greece, Brazil, and Austria. The list of participating countries goes on and on.
ICBD is an excellent opportunity to introduce your child to other languages, cultures, and arts. It would be great fun to make it a themed lesson and try sampling foods from the region you are studying. If anyone in your classroom has relatives of that heritage, they would be a great guest to come in and talk about life in that country and possibly be a guest reader for of a book.
Due to globalization and advances in technology, the world is getting smaller and smaller. We are able to travel around the world faster than in past years, and can communicate face to face with people on the other side of the world with the click of a button. So, it’s very important that our children are taught skills at an early age that will help them in this new world. Knowing how to speak a foreign language is a valuable skill to most employers. Knowing how to treat people from other cultures without offending them due to differing values and cultural backgrounds is also vital to performing well on the job. Exposure to different people and cultures broadens a person’s understanding of others and enriches life. I love the experience of traveling internationally. Meeting people from different countries, on their own turf, can be an amazing experience. I recommend it to everyone, but, if you can’t travel in person, at least travel via book. Happy reading!