What Children’s and Youth Book Day means (An explanation for children)

This April 2nd is the International Children’s and Youth Book Day, the perfect time to reflect on how important books are to help enhance our children’s imagination, empathy, creativity, and language. That date was chosen precisely because it is the birthday of the Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen. We invite you to explain to your children what the day means and encourage interest and the habit of reading.

What does Children’s and Youth Book Day mean?

It is a symbolic day celebrated to inspire a love of reading and draw attention to children’s books. It was established on April 2, 1967, by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), a nonprofit civic organization promoting children’s right to become readers.

Why April 2nd is International Children’s and Youth Book Day

It is celebrated on April 2nd because it is the day that Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday is commemorated; he is famous for stories that you surely know: The Ugly Duckling, The Little Mermaid, The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Tin Soldier, and The Snow Queen, among many others.

Andersen was born on April 2nd, 1805, in Odense, Denmark. He wrote novels, poetry, plays, and autobiographies, but he is best known for his more than 200 children’s stories. Most of the stories were invented by him, but some were inspired by Norse legends.

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A good book does not end; it hides inside us, nourishes our intellect, and feeds our spirit. Photo: Envato Elements
A good book does not end; it hides inside us, nourishes our intellect, and feeds our spirit. Photo: Envato Elements

Children’s Book Day 2022 dedicated to Richard Van Camp

Every year IBBY, an international sponsor of Children’s Book Day, selects a representative writer and illustrator to send a message to all the children of the world.

This year it corresponds to the writer Richard Van Camp, illustrated by Julie Flett, both of Canadian nationality. This message is spread on posters that are distributed in libraries, schools, and bookstores for children around the world to read:

Stories are wings that help us take flight every day

Reading is freedom. Reading is breathing.

Reading allows you to see our world with different eyes and invites you to inhabit worlds you will never want to leave.

Reading allows your spirit to dream.

They say that books are friends for life, and I agree.

The fullness of your universe only grows when you read.

Stories are wings that help us take flight every day, so look for books that speak to your spirit, heart, and mind.

Stories are medicine. They heal. They comfort. They inspire. They teach.

Blessed are the narrators, the readers, and the listeners. Blessed be the books. They are the medicine for a better, brighter world.

Mahsi Cho. Thank you very much

Richard Van Camp

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Please don’t confuse it with World Book Day.

It is important not to confuse International Children’s and Youth Book Day with World Book Day, which is celebrated on April 23rd. Here are some ideas for you and your little ones to mark the date:

  • • Have a picnic and choose a book with your children to read as a family.
  • • Host a book swap.
  • • Build a story with the whole family and act it out.
  • • Decorate a notebook with inspirational phrases about reading.

Ready to celebrate the date with a good book? Enjoy it!

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Translated by: Ligia M. Oliver Manrique de Lara

Spanish version: here