April is such an awesome month, I can almost barely stand it. First, it’s National Poetry Month. April also means spring and flowers and warm weather. As a girl who gets sad in the winter months there is nothing better than seeing the flowers push out of the earth or bud on trees. As an author (The Travelers, Saguaro Books) I find this time of year extremely inspiring.

international childrens b day posterApril has Spring Break (at least where we live in Northern Virginia.) A small bonus that it happens to be my birthday month and the birthday month of my best friend. It’s filled with holidays like Easter, Passover. It’s got Arbor Day. I mean who doesn’t love Arbor day? Earth Day is also in April. April is so great, right? Watch out December, April’s coming for you!

And, today, April 2, is International Children’s Book Day. Just another reason to love April.

International Book Day isn’t just another day to celebrate books.

This is a thoroughly thought-out, planned celebration of children’s books. This yearly event even has a non-profit sponsor (with a super cute acronym IBBY) – International Board on Books for Young People.  Each year a different National Section sponsors the event. (i.e., country chapter of the organization. For example the US branch is called United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY) and hosted the event back in 2013. This year the National Section is Russia. And, let’s face it, they need some good press right now so let’s hope they have some interesting things planned.

Activities include writing competitions, announcements of book awards and events with authors of children’s literature.

Sergey MakhotinWhat does it mean for a National Section to sponsor International Children’s Book Day?

The National Section organizing the day 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.

This year’s theme taps into both the essence of children and Spring – It’s Let’s Grow with the Book! The author chosen this year from Russia is Sergey Makhotin. You can read his message here. It’s quite inspiring.

sergey poemHow can you participate?

There are activities around the world today to celebrate International Children’s Book Day. Check out your local library or bookstores.

You can also just celebrate by supporting and reading Children’s books.

You could even check out some Children’s Books from international authors such as the Sergey Makhotin from Russia, although you’ll need to be able to speak Russian because I can’t find his books translated into English. It’s fitting for this month that he is not just a Children’s book writer, but also a poet. If you are able to find them, his works include Children’s books, novels, historical fiction and poetry such as

  • “Baby”
  • “Sea Bank”
  • “Hello, day!”

If you can’t read Russian, don’t worry

chaos goes cruisingThere are plenty of other international and multi-cultural themed children’s books out there that you can read from all countries, no matter what languages you’re able to read or speak! Here are a few in English, since, well, I speak English. These books span from young children’s books to teen reads. Check one of them out. I think you’ll enjoy!

  • Chato Goes Cruisin’ by Gary Soto – !Chihuahua! what are two low-riding cats to do when they sign up for a cruise and end up on a ship full of dogs?
  • Doña Flor by Pat Mora – a tall tale about a gian woman with a great big heart
  • When the Animals Saved Earth: An Eco-Fable retold by Alexis York Lumbard – This multicultural environmental tale is inspired by a 1,000 year old animal fable from 10th century Muslim Iraq, which was originally translated by a Jewish rabbi at the command of a Christian king in the 14th century.
  • rebelsThe Olive Tree by Elsa Marston –  a story that follows two children as they learn to share and work together by looking past their differences. It shows young readers that compassion and understanding lie at the heart of all friendships
  • Rebels by Accident by Patricia Dunn – Miriam is desperate to see what it feels like to be part of the inside crowd – if only for an evening. It’s that fateful night that lands her in the middle of a series of explosive events that change her life and those of millions worldwide. This is a story that will open hearts and minds.
  • What Should I Make? by Nandini Nayar and Proiti Roy – a playful story about a child’s imagination and the satisfaction that comes from cooking with his mother.
  • Bee-bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park and Ho Baek Lee – from Newbery Award-winning author Linda Sue Park, this picture book weaves a tale around the traditional Korean dish.
  • Silly Chicken by Rukhsana Khan and Yunmee Kyong – an adorable children’s book about a girl who has a sibling rivalry with her chicken.

Children’s books can be for adults too

We can all grow with books. How many adults have read Harry Potter or The Giver by Lois Lowry? (The Giver is one of my favorite books of all time). These aren’t just for the kiddos. Don’t limit yourself in your reading. You’ll be surprised what you can learn from children’s books.