When we think of childhood nostalgia at National Today, we are instantly taken back to our picture book reading days, and what better occasion to reminisce on those times than on National Children’s Picture Book Day on April 2? We have flown on the backs of scaly dragons, covered great lengths on conquests with wizards and witches, and eaten walls and doors made out of candy and gingerbread. They have taught us valuable lessons and, most importantly, we have had fun adventures whilst sitting with a picture book open on our laps. A wise person once said that books open the mind and heart to endless possibilities, and it is quite true. Did you know that one of the reasons that National Children’s Picture Book Day is celebrated on April 2 is because renowned fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday also falls on the same day?
History of Children’s Picture Book Day
“Peter Rabbit,” “Where the Wild Things Are,” and “The Cat in the Hat” are just some of the classic children’s books that instantly come to mind when we think of National Children’s Picture Book Day. While we’re on this nostalgic journey, let’s also take a quick trip down memory lane to find out how exactly this celebrated day came to be.
First founded and celebrated in 1967, National Children’s Picture Book Day has its roots in Switzerland’s International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY). Jella Lepman, IBBY’s founder, was a German journalist and author. She established IBBY in 1953 along with other members. The organization aimed to bring about love and interest for the written word in children. In 1967, IBBY’s goal was fulfilled as National Children’s Picture Book Day came into existence.
Another of IBBY’s goals was to also have the day celebrated everywhere else in the world. Each year, a different country is chosen to commemorate the occasion. The host country then decides on a theme and an illustrator creates a poster using elements from said theme. From writing-, reading-, and drawing competitions to doling out book awards, the day is celebrated with full fanfare and energy.
Of course, you don’t need to be residing in the host country to be able to celebrate the day. You can honor the day yourself by planning reading activities with the children in your life or reminiscing on bygone times by indulging in picture books yourself. Reading picture books (or books, for that matter) stimulates the brain and strengthens vocabulary, amongst many other benefits.
Children’s Picture Book Day timeline
Jan Komenský, a Czech writer, publishes the first picture book “Orbis Sensualium Pictus” (“Visible World in Pictures”) for children under the age of six.
John Newbery publishes “A Little Pretty Pocket-Book” for children’s pleasure.
The Victorian era sees some of the finest and most widely known children’s books emerge, including Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”
Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka from "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" was based on a postman from Nebraska.
Children’s Picture Book Day FAQs
Writing a children’s picture book must be easy, right?
Just as any book requires thorough research and thought to go into it, a children’s picture book is no different. A lot of things would need to be decided, like the genre, the characters, the setting, etc., and all of these would have to be carefully chosen whilst staying within certain parameters. Moreover, illustration style would also need to be figured out.
What’s the best children’s picture book to buy?
It really depends on the children in question. What type of material would they be interested in, are they open to any type of stories or would they prefer certain types only. But it’s still best to introduce them to new concepts every now and then.
Is the book better than the movie?
Oh, the dreaded question for every book lover out there! Honestly, decide for yourself — even better, get the little ones in on the game. Read and enjoy the picture books first, and then move on to the movies. All of you can discuss what aspects you liked better from each of the mediums and which one was better, ultimately.
Children’s Picture Book Day Activities
Participate in reading sessions with children
The kids in your life would appreciate it if you spend time with them during this National Children’s Picture Book Day. Make it interesting for them by bringing props and entertaining them with animated gestures as you read for/with them. Not only will they love it, but it will also help with their mental growth and happiness.
Dabble in other culture’s children’s books
Teach, learn, and/or practice inclusivity and cultural awareness and appreciation by looking into children’s books from other countries. By doing this, you will be fulfilling one of IBBY’s goals of expanding the love for books, regardless of background.
Donate extra books to those in need
If you have any extra books lying around your house, donate them to your local charities or to someone you know who will enjoy them. You will be participating in making somebody else’s childhood interesting.
5 Facts About Dr. Seuss That Will Blow Your Mind
“The Cat in the Hat” to appeal to children
One of Dr. Seuss’s most famous works, “The Cat in the Hat,” was originally written to attract children to looking at pictures and reading only 250 words.
A hat for writing troubles
Dr. Seuss had a large hat collection and whenever he had trouble writing, he would don one to get rid of his writing blocks.
“Green Eggs and Ham” was a bet
Dr. Seuss wrote “Green Eggs and Ham” because of a friend’s bet that he couldn’t write a book using only 50 words.
Not a real doctor
Dr. Seuss, whose real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel, was not a real doctor of any kind and he had only added the title to give a degree of credibility to his name as a writer.
Getting inspiration from Gletsch
Whenever he was asked about where he got the ideas for his extraordinary stories, Dr. Seuss would always say that he would go to Gletsch in Switzerland to have his cuckoo clock repaired and, while there, he would talk to the Gletsch people who always conversed about strange things.
Why We Love Children’s Picture Book Day
It’s a celebration of imagination
The human mind is an incredibly diverse machine that comes up with the most bizarre of situations, both possible and impossible. Who wants to be constantly stuck in overtly boring and mediocre situations anyway? Not us, and certainly not children. So out with those swords and let us defeat this boredom monster!
It’s a celebration of the impossible possibilities
Imagination lets us soar through clouds with a pair of wings. Human imagination is an incredible quality that has led to us reaching new heights — 100 years ago, who would have thought that we would be sending robots to Mars one day? Through encouraging reading, we are allowing our children’s imaginations to propagate, and this is a great initiative to achieve great future feats.
It’s a celebration of artists and writers
We wouldn’t have been enjoying enthralling works if it weren’t for those artists and writers who worked hard on their creative projects. The meticulous attention they give to even the tiniest of details proves their utmost dedication to their craft. These people are giants in themselves and, thus, deserve to be celebrated.
Children’s Picture Book Day dates