International Children’s Book Day

What day is it?

Every year, April 2 is celebrated by the whole world community Children’s Book Day. This holiday draws the attention of all children and their parents to the extraordinary importance of books in the lives of young readers. After all, it is she who opens the door to the big and unfamiliar world for babies, introduces them to previously unknown creatures, reveals the secrets of life, and contributes to the formation of personality. The holiday was decided to be celebrated on April 2, because on this day the author of favorite children’s fairy tales – Hans Christian Andersen – was born.

How did the idea to celebrate International Children’s Book Day come about?

The idea of ​​setting aside a special day for the popularization of books among young readers belongs to the German writer, author of children’s works and active public figure – Ellie Leppmann. She is the founder of the International Council on Children’s Books, by whose decision in 1967 the Children’s Book Day. From the first days, this decision was positively received in different parts of the world, and the holiday immediately gained worldwide significance.

It is worth saying that Ella Lepman advocated the creation of a separate award, something like the Nobel Prize, only in the field of children’s literature. This is how the International Award named after H.K. Andersen The award was started in the middle of the 20th century and honors the best authors and illustrators of children’s books. The awards are presented at the conventions of the International Children’s Book Council.

It so happened that everyone International Children’s Book Day the most popular children’s author writes a message addressed to the youngest readers, and the best illustrator creates a colorful poster dedicated to this day. In 1973 and 1979, honorary awards for the best children’s book were awarded to famous Ukrainian writers Bohdan Chaly and Vsevolod Nestaiko.

The first children’s books

The first children’s works were tales, stories, stories, songs that were transmitted orally. They were designed to entertain and teach children. But the first serious steps towards the creation of children’s literature appeared only in the 18th century, after they started talking about the institution of childhood. In this regard, children were treated on the same level as adults, so separate specialized literature was not published for them.

So, in 1744, the first children’s book of an entertaining nature called “A Little Pretty Pocket Book” was published. Its author and publisher was the popularizer of children’s books of those times – John Newbery. The publication featured a beautiful cover and delighted children with fun games and bright illustrations.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau is another famous philosopher who made a significant contribution to the development of children’s literature. He argued that children should be brought up taking into account their natural abilities and interests. One of the writers who adhered to Rousseau’s philosophy was Thomas Day. He wrote many works for children.

The heyday of the children’s book

In the 19th century, the famous Danish writer G.H. Andersen collects European folk tales. For this purpose, he even goes on a trip to the cities and villages of Europe. Just like the Brothers Grimm, who made a collection of fairy tales of Germany, he makes a collection of fairy tales of European countries.

Later, fascinating works by various children’s authors appear, who rely on children’s imagination in their works. The development of printing, the spread of literacy among the general public, the appearance of new readers, the decrease in the price of printed publications – all this leads to an increase in the demand for children’s books. And the year 1865 was marked by the emergence of a new style in the creation of children’s literature, as Lewis Carroll’s fantasy book – “Alice in Wonderland” was published.

An ancient Ukrainian children’s book

The first printed children’s book in Ukraine appeared in 1574. It was an educational publication called “Russian Grammar, or Primer”. The textbook was published by Ivan Fedorov, the first Ukrainian book publisher, at the Lviv printing house. The publication included the alphabet, as well as samples and reading exercises. In those days, mostly educational children’s books were published. And already in the 18th century, books for reading began to be published.

Famous children’s writers of those times were Ivan Maksymovich, Ignatii Maksymovich, Ivan Pashkovsky, Hryhoriy Skovoroda, etc. In his stories for young people, Ivan Maksimovich touches on moral and ethical topics, while his brother Ignatius is fond of writing poetry. Boys and girls admired the poetry of Ivan Pashkovsky, who loved to joke and often wrote about the first youthful feelings and passions. For the first time, educational ideas appeared in children’s literature thanks to Hryhoriy Skovoroda. His well-known children’s works: “Oi pashino-zhovtoboko”, “Hey, fields, green fields”, various fables, epigrams, etc.

Ivan Franko made a huge contribution to the development of children’s Ukrainian books. At the end of the 18th – at the beginning of the 19th century, fairy tales and stories for young readers were published. The author does not just write fairy tales, but tries to direct children’s imagination from fairy-tale heroes and events to the realities of real life. Franko’s stories tell about the life of simple village children – “Little Myron”, “Hrytseva school science”, “Under the fence”, “Pencil” and many others. The children were delighted to read the fairy tale “Mykyta’s Fox”.

Interesting facts about children’s books and their authors

  • Hans Christian Andersen resented being referred to as a children’s storyteller. The author believed that his fairy tales were written not only for children, but also for adults. He also ordered that there should not be a single child on the monument, where the child was to be depicted together with the storyteller.
  • “Kolobok” is considered a purely Slavic fairy tale. However, a similar plot is found in the stories of other countries. Yes, in the USA, it was a fairy tale about a gingerbread man who was also eaten by a fox. Similar tales can be found in German, English and Central Asian folklore.
  • The famous German fairy-tale brothers Grimm were also outstanding philological scientists and founders of the science of German studies. The writers took an active part in creating the first dictionary of the German language.
  • Samuel Marshak often used events related to fire in children’s fairy tales. For example, “Kitty’s House”, “Fire”, “The Story of an Unknown Hero”. And this is not at all accidental, because in his childhood the author himself almost became a victim of a fire. This event was imprinted in the memories of the future writer and was vividly reflected in his work.
  • The author of many children’s works known in world literature, Astrid Lingrad, possessed the skills of a stenographer. That is why many of her works, and in particular “Peppy – Longstocking”, were first stenographed.

International Children’s Book Day in History

  • 1574
    The first printed children’s book in Ukraine appeared in 1574. It was an educational publication called “Russian Grammar, or Primer”.
  • 1744
    The world saw the first children’s book of an entertaining nature called “Little Pretty Pocket Book”. Its author and publisher was the popularizer of children’s books of those times – John Newbery.
  • 1865
    The emergence of a new style in the creation of children’s literature – the fantasy book “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll was born.
  • 1967
    Children’s Book Day was introduced by the International Children’s Book Council.

How to celebrate International Children’s Book Day?

On this day, kindergartens and schools hold festive mornings dedicated to children’s book. Interesting promotions, contests and raffles are held in children’s libraries and children’s bookstores. However, this holiday can be celebrated in the family circle. This will divert children’s attention from numerous gadgets, digital games and the Internet to a real paper book, which not only develops a child’s imagination, but also opens the door to an interesting and unknown world.

When will we celebrate International Children’s Book Day?

Year Date Weekday
2021 April 2 Friday
2022 April 2 Saturday
2023 April 2 Sunday
2024 April 2 Tuesday
2025 April 2 Wednesday


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