Hans Christian Andersen was born in Odense, Denmark, on April 2, 1805. Andersen achieved worldwide fame for writing innovative and influential fairy tales. Many of his stories, including “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Princess and the Pea,” remain classics of the genre. He died in Copenhagen on August 4, 1875. (via Web)
Birthplace: Odense, Funen, Kingdom of Denmark-Norway
Period: Danish Golden Age
Genre: Children’s literature, travelogue
No. of Books: At least 38
- April 2 is Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday and is observed as International Children’s Book Day. On this day, Andersen’s life and work are celebrated around the world. Andersen’s 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.
- We know Andersen’s tales almost by heart as they have accompanied most of us throughout our childhood and are today the guardians of our own children’s dreams. Some of his most popular fairy tales include: The Little Mermaid, The Princess and the Pea, The Little Match Girl, The Snow Queen, Thumbelina, The Wild Swans, and The Steadfast Tin Soldier.
- In 1835 Andersen completed his first novel, The Improvisatore, and he published his first small volume of fairy tales, an event that attracted little attention at the time. The Improvisatore, like most of Andersen’s novels, was based on his own life. It was a success not only in Denmark but also in England and Germany. He wrote five more novels, but as a writer of drama, Andersen failed almost completely. Many of his poems are still a part of popular Danish literature, however, and his most lasting contributions, after the fairy tales, are his travel books and his autobiography (the story of his own life).
Notable Characters Created
Other Names: Young lady, Honey, Angelfish, Red
Race: Mermaid (formerly), Human
Relatives: Triton (father), Athena (mother), Eric (husband), Melody (daughter)
Aliases: Malinda, dip-face, young lady
Other Names: Tiny angel, “Toots”, Jennifer Honey
Homes: The Farm
Personalities: Sweet, gentle, kind, romantic, smart, adventurous, loving, caring, compassionate, understanding, strong-willed
Occupation: Princess of the fairies, Cornelius’s wife
Relatives: Prince Cornelius (husband), King Colbert (father-in-law), Queen Tabitha (mother-in-law)
Allies: Jacquimo, Li’l Bee, Gnatty, & Baby Bug, Hero, Mother
Enemies: Grundel Toad, Mrs. Toad, Berkeley Beetle, Mr. Mole, Ms. Fieldmouse