International Children's Book Day

group of children propped up on elbows holding books in front of their faces

Each year on or around Hans Christian Andersen's birthday, the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) sponsors International Children's Book Day (ICBD). ICBD is celebrated to inspire a love of reading and to call attention to the existence and value of children's books. Every year, a different National Section of IBBY has the opportunity to be the international sponsor of ICBD - this year the sponsor is IBBY Canada! They have chosen this year's theme and invited Richard Van Camp, a prominent Tłı̨chǫ Dene author from Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, Canada, to write a message to children around the world. Cree-Métis author, illustrator, and artist Julie Flett has designed this year's ICBD poster and incorporated Van Camp's message into the artwork. Learn more about these two incredible authors and download this year's poster on IBBY Canada's website!

IBBY Canada has long been committed to bringing books and children together as a way to foster understanding and friendship between children of different cultures, believing that children's literature can bring about positive change. In partnership with this work, the theme for ICBD 2022 is: Stories are wings that help you soar every day. This idea captures the power of children's books to expand horizons, ignite the imagination, and build understanding. Join in the celebration by checking out some of these internationally acclaimed children's books!

Picture Books
book cover for aquarium by cynthia alonso

Aquarium by Cynthia Alonso

A girl ventures to the water's edge, dreaming of a new friend. And, just like that, a beguiling red fish leaps into her life. But is friendship a sea these two can navigate together? From debut Argentinian author-illustrator Cynthia Alonso comes a wordless picture book about the timeless beauty of nature, the transcendent power of connection, and the importance of letting go.

book cover for i really want to see you, grandma by taro gomi

I Really Want to See You, Grandma by Tarō Gomi

In this humorous tale translated from Japanese about the power of love and determination, Yumi and her grandmother each set off to visit each other. As they arrive at their destinations, each discovers that her loved one is not home. Nothing will stop Yumi and her grandmother from seeing each other, so they continue to go back and forth, unknowingly passing each other on the way. 


book cover for on the other side of the garden by jairo buitrago

On the Other Side of the Garden by Jairo Buitrago

When her parents separate and she is left in the care of her grandmother, the young girl at the center of this story feels abandoned and lonely. After going up to her room she decides to venture out into the nighttime garden where she meets an owl, a frog, and a mouse and they take her on a tour of her extraordinary new world. Mexican author Jairo Buitrago shows how a child can use her own bravery and curiosity to confront frightening realities.



book cover for who was that? by olivier tallec

Who Was That? by Olivier Tallec

This delightfully illustrated French picture book tackles the topic of memory, as each page asks the reader to remember a detail about the characters featured on the page before. The call to action on every page makes this a wonderful lap read or read-aloud, and kids of all ages will love the memory games.

book cover for wishes by muon thi van

Wishes by Mượn Thị Văn

This book tells the powerful, honest story about one Vietnamese family's search for a new home on the other side of the world, and the long-lasting and powerful impact that makes on one of the youngest members of the family. Told through the eyes of a young girl, the story chronicles a family's difficult and powerful journey to pack up what they can carry and to leave their world behind, traveling to a new and unknown place in a crowded boat. Inspired by actual events in the author's life, this is a narrative that is both timely and timeless. 

book cover for laxmi's mooch by shelly anand

Laxmi’s Mooch by Shelly Anand

Laxmi never paid much attention to the tiny hairs above her lip. But one day while playing farm animals at recess, her friends point out that her whiskers would make her the perfect cat. She starts to notice body hair all over--on her arms, legs, and even between her eyebrows. Featuring affirming text and endearing illustrations, this story is a beautiful celebration of our bodies and our body hair, in whichever way they grow.


book cover for the snowman and the sun by susan taghdis

The Snowman and the Sun by Susan Taghdis

A snowman might seem an improbable topic for Iranian kid lit, but this charming picture book, rendered from a snowman’s point of view, is filled with tiny beautiful touches: a bumblebee riding a bicycle, a cat in a variety of poses, and the ice cream that appears on every page. The story prompts discussion around change and the impact of seasons on our natural environment and our place in it. It can also be read as a modern-day fable and offers opportunities for deeper reflection on the different stages in our lives.


book cover for chicken in the kitchen by nnedi okorafor

Chicken in the Kitchen by Nnedi Okorafor

When Anyaugo follows a giant chicken into her kitchen one warm night in Nigeria, she embarks on a fun-filled adventure where nothing is quite as it seems. Is the nature spirit that lives in the wooden walls of her house a help or a hindrance? Is the mischievous giant chicken a friend or a foe? Most importantly, will Anyaugo be able to save the food her Aunties have cooked for the New Yam Festival the next day?



book cover for diary of a wombat by jackie french

Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French

Wombats are cuddly-looking, slow-moving Australian animals. Their favorite activities are eating, sleeping, and digging holes. Here, in the words of one unusually articulate wombat, is the tongue-in-cheek account of a busy week; eating, sleeping, digging holes . . . and training its new neighbors, a family of humans, to produce treats on demand. This entertaining book, with its brief, humorous text and hilarious illustrations, will endear the wombat to young children, who may recognize in the determined furry creature some qualities that they share.

book cover for wild berries by julie flett

Wild berries = Pikaci-Minisa by Julie Flett

Tch, tch, sh, sh, tup, tup.
Spend the day picking wild blueberries with Clarence and his grandmother. Meet ant, spider, and fox in a beautiful woodland landscape, the ancestral home of author and illustrator Julie Flett. This book is written in both English and Cree, in particular the n-dialect, also known as Swampy Cree from the Cumberland House area.


Chapter Books
book cover for murder is bad manners by robin stevens

Murder is Bad Manners by Robin Stevens

Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are best friends at Deepdean School for Girls, and they both have a penchant for solving mysteries. In fact, outspoken Daisy is a self-described Sherlock Holmes, and she appoints wallflower Hazel as her own personal Watson when they form their own (secret!) detective agency. The only problem? They have nothing to investigate. But that changes once Hazel discovers the body of their science teacher, Miss Bell—and the body subsequently disappears. She and Daisy are certain a murder must have taken place, and they can think of more than one person with a motive.




book cover for the little prince by antoine saint exupery

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

A pilot crashes in the Sahara Desert and encounters a strange young boy who calls himself the Little Prince. The Little Prince has traveled there from his home on a lonely, distant asteroid with a single rose. The story that follows is a beautifully heartwarming, and at times heartbreaking, meditation on human nature and connection.





book cover for akissi by marguerite abouet

Akissi: Cat Invasion by Marguerite Abouet

Poor Akissi! The neighbourhood cats are trying to steal her fish, her little monkey Boubou almost ends up in a frying pan and she's nothing but a pest to her older brother Fofana. But Akissi is a true adventurer, full of silliness and mischief, and nothing will scare her for long! Ivorian author Marguerite Abouet - also known for her delightful graphic novel series Aya - has created a fantastic and whimsical story following the adventures of a mischievous West African girl. 




book cover for rez dogs by joseph bruchac

Rez Dogs by Joseph Bruchac

Malian loves spending time with her grandparents at their home on a Wabanaki reservation. She’s there for a visit when, suddenly, all travel shuts down. There’s a new virus making people sick, and Malian will have to stay with her grandparents for the duration. Everyone is worried about the pandemic, but Malian knows how to keep her family and community safe: She protects her grandparents, and they protect her. And when Malsum, one of the dogs living on the rez, shows up at their door, Malian’s family knows that he’ll protect them too. Told in verse inspired by oral storytelling, this novel about the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the ways Malian’s community has cared for one another through plagues of the past, and how they keep caring for one another today.



book cover for the grand plan to fix everything by uma krishnaswami

The Grand Plan to Fix Everything by Uma Krishnaswami

Eleven-year old Dini loves movies—watching them, reading about them, trying to write her own—especially those oh-so-fabulous Bollywood movies where you don’t need to know the language to get what’s going on. But when her mother reveals some big news, it does not at all jibe with the script Dini had in mind. Her family is moving to India. And not even to Bombay, which is the “center of the film universe” (and home to Dini’s all-time most favorite star, Dolly Singh). No, they’re moving to a teeny, tiny town that she can’t even find on a map: Swapnagiri. But wait a movie minute, Swapnagiri is full of surprises! Like rose petal milk shakes, mischievous monkeys, a girl who chirps like a bird, and...could it be…Dolly herself?




book cover for how to make friends with the sea by tanya guerrero

How to Make Friends With the Sea by Tanya Guerrero

Pablo is homesick. He’s only twelve years old, but he’s lived in more countries than he can count. After his parents divorced, he and his mother have moved from place to place for years, never settling anywhere long enough to call it home. And along the way, Pablo has collected more and more fears: of dirt, of germs, and most of all, of the ocean. Now they’re living in the Philippines, and his mother, a zoologist who works at a local wildlife refuge, is too busy saving animals to notice that Pablo might need saving, too. Then his mother takes in Chiqui, an orphaned girl with a cleft lip―and Pablo finds that through being strong for Chiqui, his own fears don’t seem so scary. He might even find the courage to face his biggest fear of all…and learn how to make friends with the sea.



book cover for a thousand questions by saadia faruqi

A Thousand Questions by Saadia Faruqi

Mimi is not thrilled to be spending her summer in Karachi, Pakistan, with grandparents she’s never met. Secretly, she wishes to find her long-absent father, and plans to write to him in her beautiful new journal. The cook’s daughter, Sakina, still hasn’t told her parents that she’ll be accepted to school only if she can improve her English test score—but then, how could her family possibly afford to lose the money she earns working with her Abba in a rich family’s kitchen? Although the girls seem totally incompatible at first, as the summer goes on, Sakina and Mimi realize that they have plenty in common—and that they each need the other to get what they want most. 




book cover for crossing the stream by elizabeth-irene baitie

Crossing the Stream by Elizabeth-Irene Baitie

Ato hasn’t visited his grandmother’s house since he was seven. He’s heard the rumors that she’s a witch, and his mother has told him he must never sit on the old couch on her porch. Now here he is, on that exact couch, with a strange-looking drink his grandmother has given him, wondering if the rumors are true. What’s more, there’s a freshly dug hole in her yard that Ato suspects may be a grave meant for him. Meanwhile at school, Ato and his friends have entered a competition to win entry to Nnoma, the island bird sanctuary that Ato’s father helped create. But something is poisoning the community garden where their project is housed, and Ato sets out to track down the culprit. In doing so, he brings his estranged mother and grandmother back together, and begins healing the wounds left on the family by his father’s death years before. And that hole in the yard? It is a grave, but not for the purpose Ato feared, and its use brings a tender, celebratory ending to this deeply felt and universal story of healing and love from one of Ghana’s most admired children’s book authors.


book cover for too small tola by atinuke

Too Small Tola by Atinuke

In a trio of droll stories, award-winning author and storyteller Atinuke debuts an endearing and enduring character with plenty to prove. Tola lives in an apartment in the busy city of Lagos, Nigeria, with her sister, Moji, who is very clever; her brother, Dapo, who is very fast; and Grandmommy, who is very bossy. Tola may be small, but she’s strong enough to carry a basket brimming with groceries home from the market, and she’s clever enough to count out Grandmommy’s change. When the faucets in the apartment break, it’s Tola who brings water from the well. And when Mr. Abdul, the tailor, has an accident and needs help taking his customers’ measurements, only Tola can save the day.




book cover for astrid the unstoppable by maria parr

Astrid the Unstoppable by Maria Parr

Speed and self-confidence, that’s Astrid’s motto. Nicknamed “the little thunderbolt,” she loves to spend her days racing down the hillside on her sled, singing loudly as she goes, and visiting Gunnvald, her grumpy, septuagenarian best friend and godfather, who makes hot chocolate from real chocolate bars. She just wishes there were other children to share her hair-raising adventures with. But Astrid’s world is about to be turned upside down by two startling arrivals to the village of Glimmerdal: first a new family, then a mysterious, towering woman who everyone seems to know but Astrid. It turns out that Gunnvald has been keeping a big secret from his goddaughter, one that will test their friendship to its limits. Astrid is not too happy about some of these upheavals in Glimmerdal — but, luckily, she has a plan to set things right. This story is Pippi Longstocking meets Heidi meets Anne Shirley, brought to you by Norwegian children's author Maria Parr. 

Descriptions adapted from the publisher.

By MadisonS on April 2, 2022