International Children’s Book Day falls on 2nd April on the Birthday of Hans Christian Andersen.
Since 1967, on or around Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday, 2 April, International Children’s Book Day (ICBD) is celebrated to inspire a love of reading and to call attention to children’s books.
Each year a different National Section of IBBY has the opportunity to be the international sponsor of ICBD. It decides upon a theme and invites a prominent author from the host country to write a message to the children of the world and a well-known illustrator to design a poster. These materials are used in different ways to promote books and reading. Many IBBY Sections promote ICBD through the media and organize activities in schools and public libraries. Often ICBD is linked to celebrations around children’s books and other special events that may include encounters with authors and illustrators, writing competitions or announcements of book awards.
IBBY Lithuania is the sponsor for International Children’s Book Day 2019.
2019 Theme : Books Help Us Slow Down
MESSAGE FROM IBBY Lithuania WITH THEME Books Help Us Slow Down
Do we really need to announce that on April 2nd we are celebrating the International Children’s Book Day? Launched by the International Board on Books for Young
People, it will take place for the fifty third time!
Do we really need to remind you that April 2nd is also the birthday of the world-renowned Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen?
Ever since 1967, these two occasions are the cause of one big celebration. Both of them are dear to the members of the Lithuanian section of IBBY and Lithuanian readers. We have a special bond with Andersen. The shores of Lithuania and Denmark are washed by the same Baltic Sea, and Lithuanian readers have enjoyed reading Andersen’s work in the Lithuanian language since the end of the 19th century. Oh, and did you know that Lithuanian, being one of the oldest Indo-European languages, captures the spirit of Andersen’s fairytales beautifully? In recent years Lithuanian has been used even more to capture the spirit and ideas of the world’s best and most famous authors of books for children and young adults, making Lithuania proud of its abundance and variety of translations. We are truly open to other cultures, with most works being translated from the original. Sometimes we even say that there is no language in the world not spoken by at least one Lithuanian.
Needless to say, we are proud to have a number of talented children writers and illustrators. We are glad to see their work gaining prominence and recognition around the world. Kęstutis Kasparavičius is one of Lithuania’s most famous and talented
writers and illustrators. It was only natural to ask him to create the ICBD’2019 poster and address readers.
Lithuania is in the very geographical center of Europe, and we sometimes say that it stands at the crossroads of European history. Our own history is very long and, no doubt, very complex. Trying to describe this complexity in a few short sentences would be inconsiderate and even foolhardy. It suffices to say that last year Lithuania marked
one hundred years of restored independence!
Let’s add, tongue in cheek, that one of the happiest events in our modern history was joining IBBY in 1993. We are expanding our activities by the year and as we grow the celebration of the International Children’s Book Day is becoming bigger, better and more creative. It is our pleasure and privilege to be sponsors of this day in 2019
Books help us slow down
I’m in a hurry! … I don’t have time! … Good-bye! … We hear words like that almost every day, not only in Lithuania, which is in the very centre of Europe, but in many other places of the world. No less frequently do we hear that we live in the age of information overload, haste and rush.
But if you take a book into your hands, you immediately feel a change. It seems that books have this wonderful quality – they help us slow down. As soon as you open a book and delve into its tranquil depths, you no longer fear that things will whizz by at a maddening speed while you see nothing. All of a sudden, you come to believe you don’t have to dash off like a bat out of hell to do some urgent work of little importance. In books, things happen quietly and in a precisely arranged order. Maybe because their pages are numbered, maybe because the pages rustle gently and soothingly as you leaf through them. In books, events of the past calmly meet events that are yet to come.
The universe of a book is wide open; it happily fuses reality with imagination and fantasy. And sometimes you wonder if it was in a book or in life that you noticed how beautifully the drops of thawing snow drip from the roof, or how pleasing to the eye is the neighbour’s wall overgrown with moss. Do you know from a book or from reality that rowan berries are not only beautiful, but also bitter? Was it in a book or in reality that you were lying in the summer grass, or sitting with your legs crossed, watching clouds sail across the sky?
Books help us not to rush, books teach us to notice things, and books invite us or even make us sit down for a while. We usually read sitting, with a book on our desk or in our hands, don’t we?
And haven’t you experienced another miracle – that when you read a book, the book reads you?Yes, of course, books can read. They read your forehead, eyebrows, the corners of your lips as they rise and fall, but, first and foremost, books read your eyes. And looking into your eyes, they see… Well, you know what!
I am sure that books are never bored when they are in your hands. Someone who enjoys reading – be it a child or adult – is much more interesting than someone who doesn’t care for books, who is always racing against the clock, who never has time to sit down, who fails to notice much of what surrounds them.
On the International Childrenʼs Book Day, my wish to all of us is:
Let there be interesting books for readers and interesting readers for books!