International Childrens Book Day poster

Since 1967, International Children’s Book Day has been held on or around this date to celebrate children’s books. In addition, it is to celebrate children’s fairytale writer Hans Christian Anderson’s birthday, which is on the 2nd. It was created by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY for short). The organization includes seventy nations around the world, including the US. According to the website, “IBBY is committed to the principles of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by the United Nations in 1990. One of its main proclamations is the right of the child to a general education and to direct access to information. Thanks to IBBY’s insistence, the resolution includes an appeal to all nations to promote the production and distribution of children’s books.” Every year they pick a group of books twice a year which, according to this webpage, “outstanding, recently published books, honouring writers, illustrators and translators from IBBY member countries. The IBBY Honour List is one of the most widespread and effective ways of furthering IBBY’s objective of encouraging international understanding through children’s literature.” I was excited to see John Green’s amazing YA book The Fault in Our Stars had a place on the list as well as Pamela Zagarenski’s children’s picture book Sleep Like a Tiger.

April is National Poetry Month in the US and I’d like to try to post a new poem every day or every couple of days, preferably one I have never heard of before. I had a lot of fun with this last year, and decided I wanted to continue the tradition this year. In honor of International Children’s Book Day, I picked two poems by children’s authors about books and reading, for yesterday and today.

Hello Book!
by N.M. Bodecker

Hello book!
What are you up to?
Keeping yourself to yourself,
shut in between your covers,
a prisoner high on a shelf.
come in book!
What is your story?
Haven’t you ever been read?
Did you think I would just pass by you And pick me a comic instead? No way book! I’m your reader I open you up. Set you free. Listen, I know a secret! Will you share your secrets with me?

The Land of Story-books

by Robert Louis Stevenson

At evening when the lamp is lit,
Around the fire my parents sit;
They sit at home and talk and sing,
And do not play at anything.

Now, with my little gun, I crawl
All in the dark along the wall,
And follow round the forest track
Away behind the sofa back.

There, in the night, where none can spy,
All in my hunter's camp I lie,
And play at books that I have read
Till it is time to go to bed.

These are the hills, these are the woods,
These are my starry solitudes;
And there the river by whose brink
The roaring lions come to drink.

I see the others far away
As if in firelit camp they lay,
And I, like to an Indian scout,
Around their party prowled about.

So, when my nurse comes in for me,
Home I return across the sea,
And go to bed with backward looks
At my dear land of Story-books.
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