International Children’s Book Day was founded in 1967. The initiator of the holiday was non-profit organization the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY). This idea was supported and widely disseminated. This date has a symbolic meaning, since it is dedicated to the birthday of the prose writer and poet H.C. Andersen.
The purpose of this holiday is to draw the attention of governments, society, and the education system to the problems of publishing and popularizing literature for children. The event has an annual theme.
In 1953, IBBY proposed the establishment of a “little Nobel Prize” in children’s literature – the Hans Christian Andersen International Prize. Since 1956, the prize has been awarded to the author of the best children’s book. Since 1966 ti has been awarded to the best illustrator.
The prize named after the great storyteller with the awarding of a gold medal is the most prestigious award in its sphere. It is awarded every two year and takes place on April 2, just like International Children’s Book Day.
In 1976, a representative of the USSR was awarded the prize, and the medal was awarded to Tatyana Mavrina, an illustrator for children’s books. However, Russian writers, artists and interpreters have received honorary diplomas more than once. Among those awarded with such diplomas are: Yuri Koval, Agniya Barto, Sergey Mikhalkov, Viktor Chizhikov, Irina Tokmakova, etc.
International Children’s Book Day calls to remember the enormous contribution that children’s books make to the formation of a child’s personality, his or her moral values, and the intellectual and spiritual development of new generations that are the future of our planet. Its goal is to draw attention to literature, book art and culture for children, to the problems of the availability of children’s book and the dissemination of children’s reading.
Each year, one of the national branches of IBBY receives the honorary right to act as an international sponsor of this event. It defines the topic, invites an author from a host country to write a message to children, and a well-known illustrator to design a poster for International Children’s Book Day. These materials are used in the future to popularize books and attract children to reading.