Cristy Burne


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10 activities for International Childrens Book Day

Celebrating international childrens books

I am a member of the Childrens Book Council of Australia and recently recieved their terrific February newsletter.

In it was an awesome list of suggestions for ways to celebrate International Childrens Book Day, which is on April 2, the birthday of Hans Christian Anderson.

Here, shamelessly reproduced so you can get inspired with your own ways to celebrate, are their ideas:

Nine activities for International Childrens Book Day

1) read and promote stories by Anderson

2) introduce folk tales from around the world

3) invite parents from other cultures to share their childhood favourites and folk tales

4) suggest that your book club read an overseas childrens book

5) encourage children to write a story about a child from another culture

6) start a pen pal club with children from abroad

7) encourage each class to create a diaorama featuring a folk tale or story from elsewhere

8 ) explore flags, food, clothing, housing and stories from other cultures

9) invite fellow staff members to have a lunch or gathering where they speak for about a minute or so about their favourite childrens book and light a candle for world peace.

If you’re interested in celebrating International Childrens Book Day with other book lovers, check out your local branch of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY): many branches are celebrating with dinners, activities and more.

And idea #10? It’s my own creation: a monster activity involving international mythology and your favourite books

Have fun and stay cool!


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A monster activity for celebrating International Childrens Book Day

Remember: tailor the spookiness of your creatures to suit. This drawing of a bunyip is scarier than anything I ever imagined!

Celebrating international childrens books

Looking for ways to celebrate International Childrens Book Day (April 2, the birthday of Hans Christian Anderson)?

Want to entertain a bunch of kids for a couple of hours?

Like to imagine weird and wonderful creatures?

Give this activity a shot: Remember…the creatures you talk about can be as scary (or not) as you choose.

For example, you might skip zombies in favour of fairies, or talk about unicorns instead of the Loch Ness Monster.

Audience: Children of any age (thought I recommend you tailor the scariness of the stories you choose to suit)

You will need:

– Sheets of paper

– Pens and pencils for drawing

– Any books that feature curious and fabulous monsters from around the world. For example:

A labelled drawing of the Japanese tanuki, thanks to the Shigaraki Tourist Assocation. What type of monster would you draw?

BUNYIPS DON’T by Sally Odgers features Australian bunyips;

TALES OF THE TOKOLOSHE by Pieter Scholtz features the African tokoloshe;

THE TANIWHA OF WELLINGTON HARBOUR by Moira Wairama features the Maori taniwha.

What to do:

– Read books about some of the weird and wonderful monsters that exist in mythology from around the world.
– Talk about some of the monsters that exist in Western/European mythology (for example, vampires, werewolves, etc)
– Ask the kids to grab their pens and paper and dream up their own monster. Encourage them to create a monster that is specific to them. Draw the monster and label its attributes. Does it have strong legs for jumping mountains? Does it carry a cake for feeding its friends? Does it wear sunglasses to protect its eyes from the snow?

Happy International Childrens Book Day!