April 2 was International Children’s Book Day. Started in 1967 by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), International Chlidren’s Book Day is held on Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday to celebrate and inspire a love of reading children’s books.
2012 International Children's Book Day poster designed by Juan Gedovius.
Andersen, a Danish author, lived April 2, 1805 – August 4, 1975 and is best known for his fairy tales for children including “The Little Mermaid,” “Thumbelina” and “The Ugly Duckling.”
National sections of IBBY take turns each year being the international sponsor of International Children’s Book Day. The section gets to choose a theme and invites a prominent author from their country to write a message to the world’s children as well as an illustrator to design a poster for that year.
This year’s host country was Mexico and the theme was “Once upon a time, there was a story that the whole world told.” The message to the children was written by Francisco Hinojosa and the poster was designed by Juan Gedovius.
You can read Hinojosa’s message to the children in this PDF or on IBBY’s website.
According to Los Angeles Times reporter Rebecca Keegan, literature has a long history of putting children into grisly situations as an allegory for adult cruelty. The most recent example being The Hunger Games made widely famous by the recent release of the movie based on the books by Suzanne Collins.
Collins has said inspiration The Hunger Gamescame from the story in Greek mythology in which the people of Athens send seven boys and seven girls to be eaten by the Minotaur until Theseus shows up to kill it.
In stories like Collins’s The Hunger Games, the Grimm fairy tales, Lord of the Flies and even Harry Potter children are used as mirrors for adult problems. Many even believe that these problems can only really be solved by the youth and innocence of children.
However the young get something out of it too. For many teens the scenes of battling children are very relatable, if not literally then metaphorically and can be very cathartic.
As Keegan said in her article, “Who wants to read about sunshine and happiness?”
Read the original article by Rebecca Keegan.