Every year the International Board on Books for Young People sponsors a day to celebrate children’s books. Called International Children’s Book Day, the celebration falls on Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday, April 2. The intent is to both inspire a love of reading and to call attention to children’s books.
This year’s poster and message come from the United States. The colorful poster was designed by Roger Mello, an internationally acclaimed illustrator, author , and awinner of the Hans Christian Andersen award.
The inspiration message about books was authored by Margarita Engle, a Cuban-American, author of many lauded books including the 2010 Sydney Taylor winner in the teen category, Tropical Secrets. This novel-in-verse, tells of the plight of Holocaust refugees from the perspective of several characters, each of whom has a distinct voice.
Here is her poem for International Children’s Book Day:
The Music of Words
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,
Some children’s books of international or cross cultural interest include:
Honey on the page: A treasury of Yiddish children’s literature
Ades, Judah Touro didn’t want to be famous
Aroeste, Buen shabat, shabbat shalom
Auxier, Sweep: the story of a girl and her monster
Bari, Does your dog speak Hebrew? A book of animal sounds
Blumenthal, Parrots, pugs and pixie dust: a book about fashion designer Judith Lieber
Churnin, Martin and Anne: the kindred spirits of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Anne Frank
Goldberg, Room for rent
Gottesfeld, No stripe behind: Beate Sirota Gordon’s battle for women’s rights in Japan
Grubman, Oy Vey! Life in a shoe
Hoffman, The brave cyclist: the true story of a Holocaust hero
Kacer, The brave princess and me: inspired by a true story
Kiffel-Alcheh, A hoopoe says “oop!” animals of Israel
Kusel, The Passover Guest
Levine, A ceiling made of eggshells
Levy, The key from Spain: Flory Jagoda and her music
Lunge-Larsen, Noah’s mittens: the story of felt
MacLeod, Yossi and the monkeys: a Shavuot story
Malaspina, A Scarf for Keiko
Nadler, Such a library! A Yiddish folktale reimagined
Newman, Itzhak: a boy who loved the violin
Ofanansky, New month, new moon
Palacio, White bird: a wonder story
Rockliff, Doctor Esperanto and the language of hope
Rubin, The flag with fifty-six stars: a gift from the survivors of Mauthausen
Schneider, Snow for everyone!
Sis, Nicky & Vera: a quiet hero of the Holocaust and the children he rescued
Woodruff, The memory coat
Zalben, A Moon for Moe and Mo
While children’s books are for everyone — some of the best writing is by authors of books for young readers — of interest to adults might be the new Great Jewish Book Club sponsored by My Jewish Learning. Each monthly session will focus on a classic Jewish novel beginning with The Bread Givers by Anzia Yezerkia . To register follow the link below: