Monday, April 2, 2012

Writer, Poet, Paper Artist: Hans Christian Andersen

Paper Cutting
 by Hans Christian Andersen
“Life itself is the most
wonderful fairytale of all.”
Hans Christian Andersen

Today is the birthday of famous Danish author, poet and fairy tale writer, Hans Christian Andersen. His poetry and stories have been translated into more than 150 languages.

 “Shortly before his death, he consulted a composer about the music for his funeral, saying: "Most of the people who will walk after me will be children, so make the beat keep time with little steps."

I always think of Hans Christian Andersen as a writer of fairytales, but he was also an amazingly talented paper cutter. He also carried a bag with paper and a large pair of scissors which he used to cut out the gorgeous figures like this one to the left.

As a child, one of my favorite movies was the 1952 film Hans Christian Anderson with Danny Kaye in the title role. It includes many of Andersen’s famous children's stories: Thumbelina, The Emperor’s New Clothes, and The Little Mermaid. With my bright red hair and freckles I empathized with the young boy in  the film where he shares the story of The Ugly Duckling.

Hans Christian Andersen's Life and Works - Research, texts and information.


Wonder Stories Told for Children by Hans Christian Andersen.

The Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen – This book is now a free download from Project Gutenberg.


Hans Christian Anderson CraftsFrom the Dundee Library in the United Kingdom four fun items to celebrate the day. Try your hand at a Little Mermaid mobile, The Princess and the Pea maze, or the Ugly Ducking and Swan Craft.

Little Mermaid Mobile
Ugly Duckling and Swan Craft
The Princess and the Pea Maze


Edsitement – Lesson plans and extensions for five of Hans Christian Andersen’s stories.

Lesson Planet – A wide variety of lesson plans related to Hans Christian Andersen from K-8. There is a free trial for this site and a subscription fee afterwards.


Andersen Fairy Tales – Stories and interactive games for children.


National Association of Writers in Education: Andersen’s scissors: Cutting his own shape
“This article, which focuses on an interpretation and rereading of a well-known children’s tale by Hans Christian Andersen and his lesser known paper cut outs, developed initially out of a series of talks focusing on early narratives and fairy stories…”

Myth and Moor – Hans Christian Andersen: Father of the Modern Fairy Tale

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Karen Chace 2012 ©

This blog post was researched and compiled by Karen Chace. Permission for private use is granted. Distribution, either electronically or on paper is prohibited without my expressed written permission. For permission please contact me at Of course, if you wish to link to my blog via your website, blog, newsletter, Facebook page or Twitter please feel free to do so; I greatly appreciate your support and personal integrity.