Since 1967, April 2 of each year is celebrated as International Children’s Book Day. April 2 was chosen because it is the birthday of Hans Christian Anderson, the Danish author of some of the most famous fairy tales ever written.
International Children’s Book Day aims to inspire a love of reading and to call attention to children’s books. We thought we would get involved by sharing some of our favourite stories for children.
Anna Cottle, ITP Coordinator
My favourite books as a child were my Munch Bunch books – fruits and vegetable characters who lived in a garden in their wooden box and flower pot houses. They were printed from 1979 until 1984, a year before I was born and the first one I got, Tom Tomato, was passed down from an older childhood friend – then I wanted them all! As a little wannabe artist, I loved how you could see the marks of the pens on the pages where the artist had drawn the characters and I used to copy them all the time onto paper.
My favourite character was Billy Blackberry because he was naughty – ‘Billy Blackberry is one of the Munch Bunch. He lives in an old wooden box with his best friend Scruff Gooseberry. He is usually naughty. He doesn’t even have to try. He just is.’
The books are at my parent’s house now, in the North-East of England – my Mam photographed them for me yesterday. My nieces, Emmie (2) and Rosie (4), love to read them now so they might also be asking for photographs of the pages soon – digital storytime?
George Peckham, ITP Assistant
My favourite books as a child were The Adventures of Tintin – a comic book series by Belgian cartoonist Hergé. My Dad introduced Tintin to me when he gave me his collection of the comics he had as a child.
The series follows the adventures of a young reporter called Tintin and his faithful dog Snowy as they travel the world solving mysteries and embarking on action packed adventures. The stories include a colourful cast of characters, including Tintin’s best friend and sidekick Captain Haddock, the genius but almost completely deaf Professor Calculus, and the incompetent detectives Thomson and Thompson. I can still hear the voices my dad would make up for these characters when he would read me these stories to me as a child!
One of my favourite Tintin stories is called Tintin in Tibet. Tintin learns that his friend, Chang, has gone missing in a plane crash over Tibet. Along with Captain Haddock, Tintin travels to Nepal to search for Chang. Crossing the snowy mountains of the Himalayas, the pair’s journey is made even more dangerous when they encounter a mysterious Yeti. I loved this book so much I even have a poster of the front cover on my wall!
Claire Messenger, ITP Manager
For International Children’s Book Day I wanted to share with you a series of books that I loved, and avidly collected, as a child.
The Mr. Men (and Little Miss) series were written and illustrated by Roger Hargreaves and his son Adam. The first book published was called Mr. Tickle which Hargreaves says he wrote in response to his son asking him ‘what does a tickle look like?’ A good question I think we’ll all agree.
Each book introduced a character and the story was based around their special character traits. They were simple, colourful, imaginative and fun – a wonderful combination for the early reader. My favourite characters were Mr. Happy, who on meeting Mr. Miserable, made it his mission to help cheer him up and Mr. Snow, an ordinary snowman brought to life in order to help Father Christmas.
While I had favourite Mr. Men of course, I collected all the books in the series which I was delighted to share with my younger brother when he started to read. Until that is he decided to add his own artistic touches to my collection and wrote all over them with black marker pen. I still haven’t fully forgiven him!!
Since the early ’70s there have been 70+ books in the series which have sold in their millions across 28 countries so clearly many children, like me, have grown up loving these fun, colourful easy-readers.
Find out more about International Children’s Book Day here.