C.S. Forester

English novelist Cecil Scott “C. S.” Forester (Cecil Louis Troughton Smith) sadly died 2 April 1966. He was born 27 August 1899 in Cairo and, moved with his mother to London and was educated at Alleyn’s School, Dulwich College, south London, and Guy’s Hospital, London, but did not complete his studies. “Forester had always worn glasses and been thin. Later, trying to enlist in the army he failed his physical and was told there was not a chance that we would be accepted even though he was of good height and somewhat athletic. In about 1921, after studying medicine for several years, he began writing seriously using his pen name.” During World War II, Forester moved to the United States where he worked for the British Information Service and wrote propaganda to encourage the US to join the Allies. He eventually settled in Berkeley, California. While living in Washington, D.C., he met a young British intelligence officer named Roald Dahl, whose experiences in the RAF he had heard of, and encouraged him to write about them. In 1947, he secretly married a woman named Dorothy Foster.

Forester was a prolific author and wrote many novels, among them the 12-book Horatio Hornblower series, depicting a Royal Navy officer during the Napoleonic era, His novels A Ship of the Line and Flying Colours were jointly awarded the 1938 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction. He also wrote the African Queen (1935) and The General (1936); Peninsular War novels in Death to the French (published in the United States as Rifleman Dodd) and The Gun (filmed as The Pride and the Passion in 1957); and many seafaring stories that did not involve Hornblower, such as Brown on Resolution (1929); The Captain from Connecticut (1941); The Ship (1943) and Hunting the Bismarck (1959), which was used as the basis of the screenplay for the 1960 film Sink the Bismarck! Several of his works were filmed, most notably the 1951 film The African Queen, directed by John Huston. Forester is also credited as story writer for several movies not based on his published fiction, including Commandos Strike at Dawn (1942).

Forester also wrote several volumes of short stories set during the Second World War. Those in The Nightmare (1954) were based on events in Nazi Germany, ending at the Nuremberg Trials. Stories in The Man in the Yellow Raft (1969) followed the career of the destroyer USS Boon, while many of those in Gold from Crete (1971) followed the destroyer HMS Apache. The last of the stories in the latter book – “If Hitler had invaded England” – offers an imagined sequence of events starting with Hitler’s attempt to implement Operation Sea Lion, and culminating in the early military defeat of Nazi Germany in the summer of 1941. His non-fiction seafaring works include The Age of Fighting Sail (1956), an account of the sea battles between Great Britain and the United States in the War of 1812. In addition to his novels of seafaring life, Forester also published two crime novels, Payment Deferred (1926), and Plain Murder (1930),

He also wrote children’s books. One, Poo-Poo and the Dragons (1942), as a series of stories told to his younger son George to encourage him to finish his meals. George had mild food allergies that kept him feeling unwell, and he needed encouragement to eat. The second, The Barbary Pirates (1953), is a children’s history of those early 19th-century pirates. He can be seen as a contestant on 1 November 1956 edition of You Bet Your Life, commenting that his latest book is The Age of Fighting Sail. His novels still remain popular and in 2003 a “lost” novel of Forester’s, The Pursued, was discovered and bought at an auction and published by Penguin Classics on 3 November 2011. British author Roald Dahl’s writing career began after he met Forester in early 1942. According to Dahl’s autobiographical Lucky Break, Forester asked Dahl about his experiences as a fighter pilot. This prompted Dahl to write his first story, “A Piece of Cake.

International Children’s Book Day

International Children’s Book Day takes place annually on 2nd April. It was Founded in 1967, and is observed on or around Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday, April 2 in order to to inspire a love of reading and to call attention to children’s books. is sponsored by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), an international non-profit organization.

IBBY was founded in Zurich, Switzerland as a non-profit organization in 1953. Following a meeting organised by Jella Lepman in Munich, Germany, called International Understanding through Children’s Books. Which saw Many authors, publishers, teachers and philosophers attending and appointing a Committee to create the International Board on Books for Young People – IBBY. IBBY was registered as a non-profit organization in Zurich, Switzerland. The founding members included: Erich Kästner, Lisa Tetzner, Astrid Lindgren, Jo Tenfjord, Fritz Brunner, Bettina Hürlimann and Richard Bamberger. IBBY established an international award in 1956 and since then the Hans Christian Andersen Award has continued to be awarded every two years.

IBBY has six key aims:

  • to promote international understanding through children’s books
    to give children everywhere the opportunity to have access to books with high literary and artistic standards
  • to encourage the publication and distribution of quality children’s books, especially in developing countries
  • to provide support and training for those involved with children and children’s literature
  • to stimulate research and scholarly works in the field of children’s literature
  • to protect and uphold the Rights of the Child according to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Today, it is composed of more than seventy National Sections all over the world. It represents countries with well-developed book publishing and literacy programmes, and other countries with only a few dedicated professionals who are doing pioneer work in children’s book publishing and promotion. IBBY’s policies and programmes are determined by its Executive Committee: ten people from different countries and a President, elected biennially by the National Sections at a General Assembly during the IBBY Congresses, held every two years. They work on a voluntary basis. The daily management of IBBY’s affairs is conducted from the IBBY Secretariat in Basel, Switzerland.

The National Sections are organized in many different ways and operate on national, regional and international levels. In countries that do not have a National Section, individual membership in IBBY is possible. The membership of the National Sections include authors and illustrators, publishers and editors, translators, journalists and critics, teachers, university professors and students, librarians and booksellers, social workers and parents. Annual dues from the National Sections are IBBY’s only source of regular income. Independent financing is necessary to support IBBY activities.

As a non-governmental organization with an official status in UNESCO and UNICEF, IBBY has a policy-making role as an advocate of children’s books. IBBY is committed to the principles of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by the United Nations in 1990. One of its main proclamations is the right of the child to a general education and to direct access to information. Thanks to IBBY’s insistence, the resolution includes an appeal to all nations to promote the production and distribution of children’s books.

IBBY also cooperates with many international organizations and children’s book institutions around the world and exhibits at the International Children’s Book Fair in Bologna and other international book fairs. Each year a different National Section of IBBY has the opportunity to be the international sponsor of ICBD. It 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. These materials are used in different ways to promote books and reading. Many IBBY Sections promote International Children’s BOok Day through the media and organize activities in schools and public libraries. Often ICBD is linked to celebrations around children’s books and other special events that may include encounters with authors and illustrators, writing competitions or announcements of book awards. Many other activities often take place including writing competitions, announcements of book awards and events with authors of children’s literature.

World Autism Awareness Day takes place annually on April 2. Every year, autism organizations around the world celebrate the day with unique fundraising and awareness-raising events. April is also Autism Awareness Month.

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that manifests itself during the first three years of life. It results from a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain, mostly affecting children and adults in many countries irrespective of gender, race or socio-economic status. It is characterized by impairments in social interaction, problems with verbal and non-verbal communication and restricted, repetitive behaviour, interests and activities. However because of this difference many autistic people show incredible abilities in other areas, such as Art and Maths, where repetitive patterns often occur.

The rate of autism in all regions of the world is high and it has a tremendous impact on children, their families, communities and societies. It can bring significant economic hardships to families, given the lack of health resources often found in developing countries. The stigmatization and discrimination associated with these illnesses also remain substantial obstacles to diagnosis and treatment. The absence of autism spectrum disorders and other mental disorders among children from lists of the leading causes of death has contributed to their long-term neglect by both public policy-makers in developing countries, as well as donors.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities entered into force in May 2008. Its purpose is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity. It is a solid tool to foster an inclusive and caring society for all and to ensure that all children and adults with autism can lead full and meaningful lives.The United Nations General Assembly unanimously declared 2 April as World Autism Awareness Day to highlight the need to help improve the lives of children and adults who suffer from the disorder.

Hans Christian Anderson

Danish author and poet Hans Christian Andersen was born April 2, 1805. Andersen is best remembered for his fairy tales, a literary genre he so mastered that he himself has become as mythical as the tales he wrote. Although he was also z prolific writer of plays, travelogues and novels. Andersen’s popularity is not limited to children either; his stories—called eventyr, or “fantastic tales”—express themes that transcend age and nationality. very early fairy tale by Andersen called The Tallow Candle (Danish: Tællelyset) is about a candle who did not feel appreciated. In 1829, Andersen enjoyed considerable success with a short story titled A Journey on Foot from Holmen’s Canal to the East Point of Amager. In the book, the protagonist meets characters ranging from Saint Peter to a talking cat. He followed this success with a theatrical piece, Love on St. Nicholas Church Tower and a short volume of poems. At Jura, near Le Locle, Switzerland, he wrote the story, Agnete and the Merman. He spent an evening in the Italian seaside village of Sestri Levante the same year, inspiring the name, The Bay of Fables. It was during 1835 that Andersen published the first installment of his immortal Fairy Tales (Danish: Eventyr; lit. “fantastic tales”).

More stories, completing the first volume, were published in 1836 and 1837. The collection consists of nine tales that includes The Tinderbox, The Princess and the Pea, Thumbelina, The Little Mermaid, and The Emperor’s New Clothes. The quality of these stories was not immediately recognized, and they sold poorly. At the same time, Andersen enjoyed more success with two novels, O.T. (1836) and Only a Fiddler (1837); the latter was reviewed by the young Søren Kierkegaard. in July 1839 during a visit to the island of Funen that Andersen first wrote the text of his poem, Jeg er en Skandinav (I am a Scandinavian).Andersen returned to the fairy tale genre in 1838 with another collection, Fairy Tales Told for Children (1838) (Eventyr, fortalte for Børn. Ny Samling.), which consists of The Daisy, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, and The Wild Swans. 1845 heralded a breakthrough for Andersen with the publication of four different translations of his fairy tales. The Little Mermaid appeared in the popular periodical Bentley’s Miscellany. It was followed by a second volume, Wonderful Stories for Children. Two other volumes enthusiastically received were A Danish Story Book and Danish Fairy Tales and Legends.Andersen would continue to write fairy tales until 1872. Some of his most famous fairy tales include:

The Angel, The Bell, The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Galoshes of Fortune, The Fir Tree, The Happy Family, The Ice-Maiden “, It’s Quite True! The Little Match Girl, The Little Mermaid, Little Tuck, The Nightingale, The Old House, Sandman, The Princess and the Pea, Several Things, The Red Shoes, The Shadow, The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep, The Snow Queen, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, The Story of a Mother, The Swineherd, Thumbelina, The Tinderbox, The Ugly Duckling, The Wild Swans

Sadly Hans Christian Anderson sadly passed away on 4th August 1875 in Copenhagen, Denmark, however During his lifetime he delighted children worldwide and was feted by royalty. Andersen’s fairy tales have been translated into more than 125 languages and are culturally embedded in the West’s collective consciousness, readily accessible to children, but presenting lessons of virtue and resilience in the face of adversity for mature readers as well. His stories laid the groundwork for other children’s classics, such as Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame and Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne. The technique of making inanimate objects, such as toys, come to life (Little Ida’s Flowers) would later be used by Lewis Carroll and Beatrix Potter. In the English-speaking world, his fairy tales remain immensely popular and are widely read. The Emperor’s New Clothes and The Ugly Duckling have both become household words. Many of his story’s have also inspired motion pictures, plays, ballets, and animated films

National Poetry Month (US)

National Poetry Month is celebrated every April in the United States and Canada where it is sponsored by the League of Canadian Poets and organized around a different annual theme. It was first introduced in April 1996 by the Academy of American Poets to celebrate poetry as a way to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry in the United States. Since 2000 Great Britain has celebrated a National Poetry Month each October. National Poetry Month was inspired by the success of Black History Month, held each February, and Women’s History Month, held in March. In 1995, the Academy of American Poets convened a group of publishers, booksellers, librarians, literary organizations, poets, and teachers to discuss the need and usefulness of a similar month long holiday to celebrate poetry. The first National Poetry Month was held in 1996.

In 1998, the Academy joined the American Poetry & Literacy Project to distribute 100,000 free books of poetry from New York to California during National Poetry Month. On April 22, President Clinton and the First Lady hosted a gala at the White House that featured Poets Laureate Robert Pinsky, Robert Hass, and Rita Dove.For National Poetry Month in 2001, the Academy invited people to “vote” for poets they most wanted to have a postage stamp. More than 10,000 people cast ballots, with Langston Hughes receiving the most votes. The vote tally was sent to the United States Postal Service, which issued a Langston Hughes stamp in January 2002.

On April 5, 2005 the Empire State Building was illuminated with blue lights to mark the 10th anniversary of National Poetry Month. Each year, a special poster is commissioned by the Academy of American Poets for National Poetry Month, with almost 200,000 copies distributed for free. In the past, posters have been designed by noted graphic designers such as Chip Kidd and Milton Glaser. The 2007 poster was designed by Christoph Niemann. This year, Jacqueline Woodson, Walter Dean Myers, Kathi Appelt, and April Halprin Wayland are some of the writers that will participate in 30 Poets/30 Days, a celebration of children’s poetry during the month of National Poetry Month. Every day of April, author Gregory K. Pincus’s GottaBook Blog and Twitter site will feature an unpublished poem by different poets. This feature is free and open 24/7. Pincus said that 30 Poets/30 Days was very successful last year. Many people read the poetry and schools incorporated this even into their lesson plans.

Numerous books and poetry compilations have been published acknowledging National Poetry Month, such as The Knopf National Poetry Month Collection and Celebrating National Poetry Month by Bruce Larkin. Like Black History Month, the celebration of poetry each April has grown and established itself organically, in both official and unofficial ways. Each year, publishers, booksellers, educators and literary organizations use April to promote poetry: publishers often release and publicize their poetry titles in April, teachers and librarians focus on poetry units during the month; and bookstores and reading series frequently hold special readings. National Poetry Writing Month encourages writing a poem a day in celebration. the celebration of poetry each April has grown and established itself organically, in both official and unofficial ways. Each year, publishers, booksellers, educators and literary organizations use April to promote poetry: publishers often release and publicize their poetry titles in April, teachers and librarians focus on poetry units during the month; and bookstores and reading series frequently hold special readings. National Poetry Writing Month encourages writing a poem a day in celebration.