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Gail S Hennessey's picture
Gail Skroback Hennessey taught for over 33 years, teaching sixth grade in all but two years. She earned a BA in early secondary education with a concentration in social studies and an MST in social...
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Happy Birthday Hans Christian Andersen: April 2nd

It is said that Hans Christian Andersen based his story, The Ugly Duckling, on his own life and the bullying he experienced. Hans was often teased as a boy. He was very tall and skinny. He was called "scarecrow" by neighborhood children. One day, he actually climbed a tree to get away from bullies who were chasing him! Once in the tree however, he got tangled and stuck. Hans' dad had to come get him down.
Perhaps, use Hans Christian Andersen's Birthday to read the Ugly Duckling as a great starting point to discuss bullying.
Did You Know?
1. In 2012, a fairy tale of Hans Christian Andersen was found. It is believed to be his very first story, written as a teen. The six page story tells about a dirty candle that isn't used until a tinder box sees its inner value and lights the dirty candle's wick.
2. Charles Dickens and Hans Christian Andersen met and Andersen visited Dickens at his home. It would be the end of a friendship when Andersen overstayed his welcome. Dickens wrote, "Hans [Christian] Andersen slept in this room for five weeks – which seemed to the family AGES!
3. Hans Christian Andersen may have had dyslexia making reading and writing very difficult for him.
4. One of the first stories Hans Christian Andersen remembers his dad reading to him was The Arabian Nights.
5. The fairy tale writers, the Grimm Brothers(Jacob and Wilhelm), became friends with Hans Christian Anderson.
6. The stories of Hans Christian Andersen were translated from his native Danish into 150 languages.
7. The Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tale Theme Park opened in Shanghai, China, in 2017.
8. Some of the popular fairytales of Hans Christian Andersen include: The Emperor's New Clothes, Thumbelina, The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Ducking and The Princess and the Pea.
9. You can see a statue honoring Hans Christian Andersen in Central Park, New York City.
10. April 2nd, the birthday of Hans Christian Andersen is International Children's Book Day.
11. Unlike many famous people, Andersen was recognized during his lifetime for his amazing storytelling!
1. Which fairy tale of Hans Christian Andersen to you like the best and why?
2. Write TWO facts about the country of Denmark.
3. Look at the statue of Hans Christian Andersen found in Copenhagen, Denmark. Write a paragraph pretending to be the statue. What do you see? What do you hear? What are you thinking?
4. What is your definition of bullying? Have you ever been bullied? Have you ever do something which someone else might think is bullying? If you see someone being bullied, what could you do?
5. Quotes of Hans Christian Andersen:
1. "Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale."
2. "Where words fail, music speaks."
3. "Just living is not enough," said the butterfly,"one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower."
4. "To be of use to the world is the only way to be happy."
5. "The wise a man becomes, the more he will read, and those who are wisest read most."
A. Take a quote and write a paragraph explaining what you think the quote is saying.
B. Illustrate one of the quotes of Hans Christian Andersen
1. Denmark is a peninsula meaning it is surrounded by water on THREE sides. Name the 3 bodies of water which touch Denmark.______________ _________ _____________
2. Which country touches the country of Denmark?______________
3. On which continent is Denmark located?___________________
4. Which country is across a bridge(Oresund Strait) from Denmark?___________
5. Which famous amusement park is located near Jutland?____________________
The informative play is based on the Mark Goodson Production To Tell the Truth Game Show. To Tell the Truth was a popular television show which has returned with host Anthony Anderson(of Blackish). Three guests all claim to be the real guest being interviewed by a panel. The real guest must tell the truth where the other imposters do not have to do so. Kids must be "truth detectives" to determine just who is the REAL Hans Christian Andersen.
Students in grades 4 and up will have fun acting out their parts and learning some interesting facts about fairy tale writer, Hans Christian Andersen. Comprehension questions, discussion questions, extension activities and resources are included.
Photograph: Gail Hennessey