Hans Christian Andersen (1805 - 1875) is a Danish author whose enchanting fairy tales are among the most widely read stories in the world. "The Emperor's New Clothes," "The Ugly Duckling" and "The Princess and the Pea" are three of his most famous tales. The two-hundredth anniversary of his birth is being celebrated worldwide.
The animated Andersen Fairy Tales site is my storytelling pick of the day. It features three narrated fairy tales ("Real Princess," "Leaping Match" and "The Emperor's New Suit"), games, and a biography of Hans Christian Andersen. For more fairy tale fun, visit sister site Grimm Fairy Tales which showcases "The Brementown Musicians" and "Faithful John."
Although not visually exciting, this Hans Christian Andersen fan site created by an Israeli math professor has chronological and alphabetic listings of 168 Andersen tales. Most of the stories are available as illustrated web pages, and 127 are also available in simple text files. The public domain text files sparked my imagination, because they could be used to create your own illustrated fairy tale book or web page. To find them, search for the hyperlinked word "public domain" and click.
The Hans Christian Andersen Center at the University of Southern Denmark is chock full of information for middle school and high school reports. Best clicks are The Complete Andersen (in Works) and Short Biography (in Life.) The Complete Andersen is a six-volume English translation of Andersen fairy tales by Jean Hershol, a Danish actor who came to Hollywood in 1913. It is billed as "the most comprehensive edition of Andersen's fairy tales in American English on the Internet."
Fairy tales were not Andersen's only art form. Often while talking or telling stories, he made paper cuts that he gave to friends and acquaintances. His early designs were not appreciated, but around 1840, when Andersen become internationally famous, people started saving them. This Royal Danish Library paper cut exhibit is fun to peruse, and some of the paper cuts are available as e-cards.
HCA 2005 is the official site of the worldwide Andersen bicentennial celebration. The seven sections you'll want to explore are listed on the left-hand vertical menu, starting with HCA Cinema, a collection of short videos. Next is an interactive time line of Andersen's life, a gallery of photos (Andersen loved been photographed), and a collection of Andersen postage stamps. But the biggest reasons to visit are the next three features. HCA Cartoon is a collection of seventeen fairy tale comic books ready to download, print and color. The HCA Quiz comes in four versions: easy, difficult, expert and fairy tale. And just for the fun of it, HCA Adventure Machine is a collection of fairy tale arcade games.