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You need Hans

The world is about to celebrate the life and work of a master storyteller, writes Renata Rubnikowicz

Hans Christian Andersen Year begins in April, marking 200 years since the birth of the Danish master of fairytale who wrote more than 150 stories.

As part of the celebrations, Year 5 teachers in the UK can enter a competition to win a class trip to Denmark by registering for the Flying Suitcase, a free resource produced by the Danish Tourist Board and the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation.

This suitcase, named after one of Andersen's stories, is an ideal way to introduce your pupils to the tales. It contains a generous selection of stories, a DVD, a poster, a map and a brochure about Denmark. There is also some information about the life of the author and some teachers' notes. The suitcase will be sent to all schools in April.

The Flying Suitcase makes an excellent cross-curricular resource. In particular, it is aimed at supporting the "knowledge and understanding of fairytales" section of the curriculum, and is backed by the Department for Education and Skills.

The competition invites pupils to write and illustrate a fairytale storyboard based on one of the classic tales. The closing date is July 15 and the best storyboard will win a four-day class trip to Denmark in the autumn.

The winning class will visit Copenhagen and Odense, where Andersen lived for much of his life, and see attractions such as the Hans Christian Andersen Museum. They will also visit the Tivoli Gardens to see "A Tivoli Fairy Tale", a show featuring a host of giant puppets, music, storytelling and fireworks.

Andersen was a friend of Georg Carstensen, founder of the Tivoli Gardens, which inspired him to write his story "The Nightingale".

The master storyteller is also being celebrated in the UK. Chief among the bicentenary events is a multimedia exhibition at the British Library that opens on May 20. It will show how the tales, now often translated into film, opera and dance, have endured from the Victorian era to the present day. Special events, talks and a touring programme of activities are planned to run alongside the exhibition.

For more details see To register for a Flying Suitcase see www.visitdenmark.comflyingsuitcase

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