Tag Archives: Hans Christian Anderson

The Little Match Girl

By Hans Christian Anderson

Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

Published by Phyllis Fogelman Books, 1999

Amidst the hustle and bustle of an early American city, the little match girl sets out to sell flowers and matches.  It is bitterly cold, and no one is buying. She is afraid to go home with no money because she knows she will be beaten, so she stays outside, with no shoes and spare clothing.  Finally, she can take the cold no longer, and lights one of the precious matches.  In the light of each match she strikes, she sees images of beauty: a banquet table laden with delicious foods; her grandmother’s face.  Finally, she lights all of the matches at once, and in the image, her grand mother takes her away.  In the morning, the little girl is found, frozen to death, still holding the fist of spent matches.  People feel sorry for her, never knowing the beautiful things she saw right before she died.

This is a bit of a heavy story, but it may work with 1st and 2nd graders.  This would also be a great book for middle and high schoolers, especially because of the historical context, issues such as poverty and child abuse, child workers, and even death.

Accessed: Augusta County Library

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Thumbelina

By Hans Christian Anderson

Translation by Erik Haugaard

Illustrated by Arene Graston

Published by Delacort Press, 1974; Illustrations Copyright 1996

There was a woman who desperately wanted to have a child.  She goes to a witch to ask for a child and the witch gives her a seed.  From the seed, a tiny girl grows.  Unfortunately, it is not long before Thumbelina is kidnapped, and throughout the book, she is taken by one fantastical creature and the next, until finally, she makes her way to a land with other tiny fairies as small as she.  She marries the prince, and lives happily ever after.

A good book for grades 1-2 when studying fairy tales.  Hans Christian Anderson is a classic author and this is an unabridged version of the story.

Accessed: Augusta County Library

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The Steadfast Tin Soldier

By Hans Christian Anderson

Illustrated by Fred Marcellino

Published by Harper Collins 1992

A little boy, probably at the turn of the Century, receives a box of tin soldiers for Christmas.  One of those soldiers only had one leg.  This tin soldier falls in love with a paper ballerina, who looked like she also always stood on one foot.  The tin soldier is neglected and uncared for, and as a result, goes on a harrowing journey out the window, through the sewer, into a fish, and into the kitchen.  The tin soldier is then thrown into the fire, and simultaneously, a draft blows the paper ballerina into the fire with him.  Together at last, the soldier melts and the ballerina burns, until all there is left is a heart-shaped lump of tin and a jewel from the dancer’s sash.

This book is a good seasonal book for Christmas as well as applicable for elementary aged kids.  Older kids in world history could also use the book to establish the manner of dress and behavior from a society outside their own.

Awards: Books for Youth Editor’s Choice

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