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International Children’s Book Day

International Children’s Book Day is dedicated to inspiring a love of reading and shining a light on children’s literature.

It has been celebrated annually on or around Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday (April 2) since 1967.

International Children's Book Day

Each year the event is sponsored by a different member of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY).

The country chooses the theme and invites a local author to write a message to children and an illustrator to create a poster.

IBBY United States is the sponsor for International Children’s Book Day 2021.

This year’s message was written by internationally renowned children’s author Margarita Engle from the U.S., with illustrations inspired by the internationally acclaimed illustrator and winner of IBBY’s 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Award, Roger Mello from Brazil.

The Music of Words

When we read, our minds grow wings.

When we write, our fingers sing.


Words are drum beats 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.


Download the poster and the message.

Celebrate International Children’s Book Day 

  • Learn about Hans Christian Anderson, Danish author of The Ugly Duckling, The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Little Mermaid, and more.
  • Make bookmarks. Great ideas here.
  • Host a book-reading/sharing event.
  • Dress up as your favorite book characters.
  • Look for local events, including writing competitions and talks from famous authors and illustrators.
  • Donate to your local school or library.
  • Hold a book swap.
  • Read great books, and repeat!

Suggested Book Resources

Read Your World Book Reviews & Free Printables

Barefoot Books Award-Winning Children’s Book Publisher

The Most-Anticipated Picture Books of 2021

The 100 Best Children’s Books of All Time