Chinese children's authors have been urged to produce more outstanding work and boost their presence in the global market, as International Children's Book Day (ICBD) comes. ICBD, marked on April 2, the birthday of prominent Danish fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen, is a yearly event featuring writing competitions, book fairs, awards and talks. Founded in 1967, the day is sponsored by the International Board on Books for Young People, an international non-profit organization. Li Hongsheng, a writer with the China Society for the Study of Children's Literature, said Chinese children's literature has developed its own characteristics in recent years. Children's authors stick to the values of truth, goodness and beauty while conceiving stories for children so as to help them establish valid philosophies and life values, Li added. Gao Hongbo, vice-chairman of the Chinese Writers Association, said compared with other genres, children's books are in great demand domestically. Gao, also a children's author, took a popular Chinese magazine for kids as an example, citing an increase in the circulation of "Children's Pictorial" from 130,000 in 2000 to over 2 million at present. Children's books have become increasingly popular since the Chinese government has encouraged people to read, pointed out Chen Xiaodong, general manager of Fujian Provincial Children's Press. Premier Li Keqiang vowed that "we will encourage the people to read" when delivering the government work report last month during the annual session of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature. It was the first time that "reading" had been mentioned in a government work report. However, Gao pointed out that the quality of children's books varies greatly. Though some established children's authors keep writing, such as Zheng Yuanjie, known as China's "King of Children's Tales," the number of new authors and outstanding children's books in China is still limited, Chen said, adding that the country needs excellent kids' books with international influence. Liu Jia, a mother of a four-year-old boy in Beijing, said she would prefer her son to read the Harry Potter series rather than domestic titles when he is old enough. Gao said China has highlighted children's reading during the past decade while authors and organizations have been endeavoring to improve the quality of Chinese books for youngsters. Hao Xiaotian, a writer with the China Society for the Study of Children's Literature, suggested writers integrate traditional Chinese characteristics into their books to attract foreign readers, spread Chinese culture and gain more popularity globally.