April 2 was designated International Children’s Book Day in 1967. The date was selected because it is Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday. We have written a little bit about the holiday and ways to celebrate it before, and you can read that post here. Or you can read about the holiday, and its mission to inspire a love of reading and to call attention to children’s books. Both things we think are pretty darn important!
This year we have decided to celebrate by reading one of the most popular of Andersen’s stories, the Ugly Duckling. There are so many beautifully illustrated versions of the tale, but this one seems particularly appropriate on an international holiday, as it is set in the wilds of Africa…
The Ugly Duckling retold and illustrated by Rachel Isadora
Our whole family are longtime fans of Isadora’s work, but this is one of our recent favorites. The cut-paper-collage illustrations are vibrant and appealing to kids, the classic story is always fun, and the details illuminating African clothing, people, animals and landscapes are fresh and bring some nice diversity to the bookshelf. This was our introduction to Isadora’s collection of re-tellings which also includes Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, The Princess and the Pea and others. If you’re tired of only showing your kids the white Disney-fied princesses & heroes, these books are a great discovery.