International Book Day takes centre stage

2 April, 2012

Read your children stories from around the globe

Fostering children’s love of reading is a year-round priority for parents and schools, but today marks a special celebration of all things fictional.

International Children’s Book Day celebrates the birth date of author Hans Christian Andersen. The Danish author penned hundreds of traditional fairy tales, including The Ugly Duckling and The Little Mermaid, and this special day is marked with a number of events hosted by local communities and other organisations.

Each year, the Day is sponsored by a different country member of the ‘International Board on Books for Young People’ and this country also writes a message to inspire children around the globe. In addition, a prominent illustrator is asked to design a poster for the occasion.

Speaking to the South Wales Evening Post, Education Minister (for Wales) Leighton Andrews commented on the event: “Nothing is more important than ensuring all of our young people reach the reading level that is suitable for their age and I am determined that we will raise literacy standards.

“If we’re to encourage good reading habits, then it is vital that all children have access to all kinds of reading materials, whether books, websites, comics or magazines. Parents, carers and grandparents have an important role to play here. Reading with a child, just for ten minutes a day, can make a huge difference to their overall reading ability and confidence.”

You can help your children to mark the day in the following ways:

Read stories from around the globe
There are several popular children’s books from other cultures that children are regularly exposed to at Primary School level, including Handa’s Surprise, Anansi the Spider and The Tiger Child. Your local library should have reading material from countries across the globe and children can make comparisons between the traditional stories that they have read.

Hold a Hans Christian Andersen themed event
Select one story from the author’s range of short tales and children can dress up as a character from this book, act out the story and use art materials to create the story setting. The full range of stories includes The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Snow Queen and The Brave Tin Soldier.