Little People, Big Dreams: Hans Christian Andersen; Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara, illustrated by Maxine Lee-Mackie
It is very fitting that one of the world’s greatest storytellers has his own story told in a book for the very children who he wrote his books for.
Born in Denmark, little Hans was not privy to luxury and every penny was carefully accounted for.
But there was one priceless thing in the family home…a book, and Hans loved it when his father would read him stories of magical objects, faraway places and flying carpets. Inspired by street performers, Hans wanted to perform on stage and help retell the stories written by others. But when that didn’t work out he wrote stories of his own. And these stories would be read by millions around the world…
The fairy tales of Hans Christen Andersen are famous around the world and this lovely biography gives children a wonderful insight into how the boy who couldn’t spell or write Danish properly grew up to write some of the most well-known and well-loved children’s fairy tales. Readers follow Hans on his journey from keen scholar to early drop-out after the passing of his father forced him to take a job as a weaver. He joins the Royal Danish Theatre before suffering another setback and was forced to re-evaluate where his talents lay. This led to his rise as a storyteller.
Hans’ story is one of perseverance and finding the strength and motivation to bounce back from setbacks. And it would take a broken heart for Hans to unlock his wonderful words as stories of mermaids, princesses and princes, and ducklings and swans tumbled onto the page.
Delightfully illustrated with bright and bold artwork and with a story told in short and simple sentences, this is a wonderful celebration of reading, the joy that can be found in stories and the importance of the arts. Hans’ story serves as great inspiration for children with their own dreams of writing stories to entertain the world. The most valuable message that children can learn from Hans and his story is that you are never too old to learn. There is a charming image of an adult Hans sitting on a small chair at a small desk along with his younger classmates as he took lessons to learn to write and spell. At the back of the the book there is a short overview of his life which includes key facts and dates and a historical timeline featuring photographs.
Recommended for 5+.
With thanks to Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara and Frances Lincoln Children’s Books for the advanced reader copy that was received through Netgalley.