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Thursday, April 2, 2015

A most wonderful fairy tale

“Every man’s life is a fairy tale written by God’s fingers.” – Hans Christian Andersen

Born in Odense, Denmark, and an only child, Andersen was first introduced to the wonderful world of fairy tales by his poor and under-educated father who still found time almost daily to read to his young son – especially from 1001 Arabian Nights.  "Being read to by a parent” led Andersen into a lifelong love of both reading and fairy tales and the rest of the world became the beneficiary.

Andersen started his career as a performer, singing as a boy soprano with the Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen.  When his voice began to change, and desperate to stay involved, he began writing to see if he could create theatrical pieces.  After moderate success, he switched to writing fairy tales – first as adaptations of stories he had heard as a child, and then out of his own imagination.  And that led to worldwide fame.

The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, The Little Match Girl and The Emperor’s New Clothes are just a few of the world’s most famous fairy tales that came from the pen of this prolific and imaginative author.  His stories have inspired plays, ballets and both live-action and animated films.
 Hans Christian Andersen

Translated into more than 125 languages, his tales have become 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.

In recognition of his amazing legacy, "Hans Christian Andersen Awards" are given biennially by the International Board on Books for Young People to an author and illustrator whose complete works have made lasting contributions to children's literature.

“Life itself,” the author wrote in his declining years,  “is and has been a most wonderful fairy tale.”

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