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Hans Christian Who?

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Hey, Fairy Tale Fans!

It’s International Children’s Book Day and, in celebration, we’re diving in to find out what this day is all about! Sponsored by the International Board on Books for Young People, this day is intended to fall on or near the birthday of Hans Christian Andersen who came from poverty to be recognized during his lifetime.

Hans Christian Andersen was a Danish author who produced a great variety of plays, poems, novels, travelogues, and most memorably—his fairy tales. You can learn more about fairy tales from a recent Blog post I wrote for National Tell a Fairy Tale Day by clicking here.

You may not know of Hans Christian Andersen by his name, but you certainly knTurns out he was actually a swan the whole time.ow the names of his tales! They’ve been celebrated in retellings in all different ways. There’s ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’, ‘Thumbelina’, ‘The Little Mermaid’, ‘The Ugly Duckling’, and many more where those came from! I’m guessing that you’ve heard of some of these…

Here are some interesting facts about Mr. Andersen:

Recognized Within His Lifetime
The author was in his 30’s by the time he published the bulk of his works, however, they were not well received by parents or children for another decade afterward. Just ten years later, he was acclaimed for delighting children the world over and was awarded many honors from royalty.

Born Dyslexic
Hans Christian Andersen learned to read despite the adversity of dyslexia. He never was able to spell properly which showed in his handwritten stories. A writing style that stayed true to the spoken language resulted from his shortcomings as a writer. His publishers fixed the spelling errors, sure to leave the conversational style intact.

Rocky Start
Andersen’s father read bedtime stories to Hans from ‘Arabian Nights’, introducing his son to a type of story that really resonated. But when Hans tried writing his own stories, he found he didn’t like them and thought he wouldn’t continue. But over time, he came to see fairy tales as a sort of “universal poetry” as he put it. His tales have since inspired ballets, plays, motion pictures, and animated films.

Darker Than Disney
Unlike many popularized versions of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales, his unabridged versions typically come to darker and rather tragic endings. I won’t get into any of the melancholy endings here—we’ll just pretend that Ariel and Prince Eric live happily ever after in Hans’ telling as well!

So celebrate his birthday in fashion this year and enjoy your favorite version of your favorite fairy tale from Mr. Andersen—or read the words of the man himself in his unabridged stories. Enjoy the magical world Hans penned from his own imagination and check out a couple kids books available on our website. As always, thanks for reading, Camp Fans!

- John

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