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International Children’s Book Day

2 April, 2021

International Children’s Book Day (ICBD) marks the birthday of Hans Christian Andersen and has been celebrated annually since 1967 to inspire a love of reading and to call attention to children’s books. The Day is organised by The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), a not-for-profit organisation that promotes international understanding through children’s books, gives children everywhere the opportunity to have access to books with high literary and artistic standards, encourages the publication and distribution of quality children’s books, especially in developing countries, provides support and training for those involved with children and children’s literature, stimulates research and scholarly works in the field of children’s literature and protects and upholds the Rights of the Child according to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The following is a poem by Margarita Engle entitled ‘the music of words‘, the theme chosen by the United States section of IBBY, the sponsor for 2021.

When we read, our minds grow wings.

When we write, our fingers sing.


Words are drumbeats and flutes on the page,

soaring songbirds and trumpeting elephants,

rivers that flow, waterfalls tumbling,

butterflies that twirl

high in the sky!


Words invite us to dance—rhythms, rhymes, heartbeats,

hoofbeats, and wingbeats, old tales and new ones,

fantasies and true ones.


Whether you are cozy at home

or racing across borders toward a new land

and a strange language, stories and poems

belong to you.


When we share words, our voices

become the music of the future,

peace, joy and friendship,

a melody

of hope.


Image: International Children's Book Day

by Roger Mello https://www.ibby.org/awards-activities/activities/international-childrens-book-day/2021-icbd-united-states-of-america