International Children’s Book Day is a creation of The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), a non-profit organization which represents an international network of people from all over the world who are committed to bringing books and children together. It is celebrated on or around Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday (April 2nd) to inspire a love of reading and to call attention to children’s books. Each year a different host country of IBBY has the opportunity to be the international sponsor of ICBD. It decides upon a theme and invites one of its prominent authors to write a message to the children of the world, and a well-known illustrator to design a poster.
Two awards, The Hans Christian Andersen Author Award and The Hans Christian Andersen Illustrator Award are given biennially by IBBY to a living author and illustrator whose complete works are judged to have made lasting contributions to children’s literature. Check out the IBBY website to get information on this year’s award winners.
Also, in honor of this day, you might want to stop by the excellent website, International Children’s Digital Library. According to the website:
“The ICDL is a rich resource which can be used in a wonderfully wide range of situations by children, parents, teachers, librarians and others from all walks of life. Children can expand upon the stories to create games; parents can extract themes to help explain important lessons; teachers can utilize the multicultural nature of the collection to teach languages; librarians can enrich community outreach programs with tales from around the world and; of course, anyone can just open a book to read for pleasure.”
The search engine on the ICDL site is terrific. You can search by age group, length of book, type of characters, country, language, and even predominant color of the book cover! Give it a try! They also regularly highlight special books, such as this featured book in Persian:
As the ICDL says in its Mission Statement:
“The mission of the International Children’s Digital Library Foundation (ICDL Foundation) is to support the world’s children in becoming effective members of the global community – who exhibit tolerance and respect for diverse cultures, languages and ideas — by making the best in children’s literature available online free of charge. The Foundation pursues its vision by building a digital library of outstanding children’s books from around the world and supporting communities of children and adults in exploring and using this literature through innovative technology designed in close partnership with children for children. The ICDL Foundation is a non-profit corporation.”