What Is International Children's Book Day?

International Children's Book Day 2009 I am the World poster promotes reading
2009 Poster artwork courtesy of EBBY - The Egyptian Section of IBBY

Question: What Is International Children's Book Day?

Answer: International Children's Book Day is an annual event, which is held on around April 2, the birth date of Hans Christian Andersen. It is sponsored by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY). According to the IBBY Web site, "International Children's Book Day (ICBD) is celebrated to inspire a love of reading and to call attention to children's books."

Each year, one of the 74 National Sections of the IBBY around the world serves as the international sponsor of ICBD. It selects the theme and oversees the development of promotional materials for ICBD. The materials are then used to promote reading and children's books. Often, schools and libraries hold events in conjunction with International Children's Book Day.

The 2015 sponsor of International Children's Book Day is IBBY United Arab Emirates. The theme is "Many Cultures One Story." The poster, which was designed by Nasim Abaeian, shows a little girl with a butterfly net catching books that are floating in the sky. Marwa Obaid Rashid Al Aqroubi  is the author of the poem explaining the theme.

The 2014 sponsor of International Children's Book Day was IBBY Ireland and the theme was "Imagine Nations through Story." The poster features an appealing monster with a crown made up of buildings on his head.

He is smiling as he reads a book with the words "Imagine Nations through Story" on the cover.

IBBY USA sponsored ICBD 2013, with the theme "Bookjoy around the World."  The poster was designed by Ashley Bryan and the accompanying poem by Pat Mora. The last two lines are -
                                          "You and I read, round and round,
                                            Bookjoy around the world."

IBBY Mexico was the 2012 sponsor of International Children's Book Day. The 2012 theme was "Habia una vez cuento que contaba el mundo entero / Once upon a time, there was a story that the whole world told."  The theme of ICBD 2011, which was sponsored by IBBY Estonia, was "The book remembers." The theme of the 2010 International Children's Book Day, which was sponsored by IBBY Spain, was "A book is waiting for you, find it!"

The 2009 international sponsor was EBBY, the Egyptian Section of IBBY, and the 2009 theme was "I am the World." See the 2009 poster above. The theme of the 2008 International Children's Book Day, which was sponsored by the Thailand IBBY National Section, was "Books Enlighten: Knowledge Delights."

About the International Board on Books for Young People

Founded in Zurich, Switzerland in 1953, the International Board on Books for Young People is a non-profit organization. IBBY continues to grow and as of 2015 had 74 National Sections representing IBBY in their country. There are National Sections in countries all over the world, from Afghanistan to Zambia, including those mentioned above as ICBD sponsors and Australia, as well as other countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and South America.

There are wonderful children's books being published around the world. International Children's Book Day is a good reminder to make a point of sharing books originally published in other countries with your children.