Happy Birthday, Hans!

Apr 02, 2020 | Posted by Jennifer


On April 2 in 1805 in Odense, Denmark, a baby boy was born to a poor couple. Naming him Hans, their only child grew up to become one of the most famous writers in the world. His full name is Hans Christian Andersen. Beloved writer of fairy tales, Andersen is known for many famous stories, among them “The Little Mermaid,” “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” “The Ugly Duckling,” and “The Little Match Girl,” just to name a few. In all, Andersen wrote over 160 fairy tales in his lifetime.

Before Andersen dedicated his life to writing, however, he performed as a singer. He had a beautiful soprano voice when he was young, but as he grew older, it changed, so he decided to become a stage actor instead. Fortunately for the world, his acting career never took off, so he turned to writing. While most people know that he penned many fairy tales, he also wrote travelogues, poetry, and several autobiographies. A contemporary of Charles Dickens, Andersen eventually met him, and the two became friends. Interestingly, each author frequently centered his themes around the poor and unfortunate of the world, which might have contributed to cementing their respect and affinity for each other.

A wonderful way to mark his birth date tomorrow would be to take some time out of your day to read a fairy tale or two to your students. You can read English translations of his fairy tales online by visiting Gutenberg.org. Additionally you could watch a video retelling of “The Ugly Duckling” or even leave the four walls of your home behind to take a video tour of Andersen’s home town of Odense. For budding bakers, consider baking some Danish Kringle to celebrate his birthday in sweet style. If you want to extend the learning experience into your students’ writing, you can even fashion a Unit 3 or Unit 9 assignment using one of his fairy tales as a source. Remembering Andersen’s birthday in some small way will make the day into something a little more special for everyone.



“Hans Christian Andersen.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 13 Apr. 2019,

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. “Hans Christian Andersen.”
     Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, 29 Mar. 2020,


Jennifer Mauser has always loved reading and writing and received a B.A. in English from the University of Kansas in 1991. Once she and her husband had children, they decided to homeschool, and she put all her training to use in the home. In addition to homeschooling her children, Jennifer teaches IEW classes out of her home, coaches budding writers via email, and tutors students who struggle with dyslexia.

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