• Heiða Rafns

Happy Birthday Hans Christian Andersen!

Today is International Children's Book Day and it is also the day of Hans Christian Andersen's birthday! Since 1967 this day has been celebrated on this wonderful authors birthday, to inspire and kindle the love of reading and to celebrate and draw attention to children's books. H. C. Andersen is widely admired for his wonderful stories and I, like countless others, got to know him as a child. I used to sit for hours listening to audio tapes telling his stories of Thumbelina, The Little Match Girl, Tinderbox and many others.

I have always loved books and was quick to go for picture books everywhere I went as a child. No matter what the subject was, zoology, history or cooking. I just loved looking at pictures in books and still do! I have always been a pretty slow reader of text. My brain thinks faster than it can read so I tend to get side tracked a lot and loose track of what I'm supposed to be reading. Pictures are much easier to read and my brain copes better with them:)

Yes, I love books and used to collect them as a kind of a hobby in my twenties. I was particularly into English literature, I am an Anglophile all the way, and have a nice and small collection! It is not only about the reading of the books though. I haven't read nearly all the books I've collected....slow reader, remember. When it comes to a book I love and cherish everything about it. The knowledge and ideas going into it, the writing of the text, the creation of imagery, the making of the book itself and even the bookshelf, bookstore or library it will rest in. Its all still a wonder to me.

In this world of digitalization, I believe a book is an ever more necessary reminder of the infinite knowledge and boundless creativity we humans are in possession of! Don't get me wrong, I love computers and what they can do but I believe we are falling into the trap of computer fixation. There is life outside digitisation and we must, absolutely must ensure our children learn that!

I realize that the green way of thinking could change a lot of things but I hope we will never abandon physical books and the joy of holding a beautiful copy in your hand, be it a day old or 200 years old! After our kids were born we have done everything we can to encourage them to read books. We have been regular guests of the city's library since they were toddlers and one of our most cherished family outings is going to the downtown bookstore/coffeehouse. We sometimes spend hours there just getting coffee and coco, reading our favorite magazines and looking at books and fellow citizens!

As much as I love books, and particularly children's books, I have never written and illustrated a story of my own. I would love to do that someday, soon hopefully. However I have illustrated two textbooks, one of which was for children for playing the oboe instrument. That was a wonderful project to work on. To finish I’ve included some pictures from that book. I hope you enjoy them.

Thank you for looking in and have a wonderful week.

Heida

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