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21 *SURPRISE* Diverse and inclusive Books about birthdays

Our baby is turning ONE! So of course, we needed to fill our playroom shelves with books about birthdays. When researching to curate our list, I found books about animals celebrating. I found books about dinosaurs, birds, cats, bears, turtles celebrating. I found a lot of books with bears. What I struggled to find on my initial searches were diverse books celebrating birthdays in different cultures, celebrating birthdays with inclusive perspectives. I did *eventually* find those books, but those aren't the books immediately being mentioned. Just something to note the next time you go to the library to check out books for the week or are looking for books on a specific theme -- we need to diversify our bookshelves. Read books that marginalized creators write & illustrate. Read books with marginalized characters. Share those books to your socials, through word of mouth. Review those books. Those voices NEED to be heard right now. Those voices NEED to be seen & celebrated. *hops off soapbox*


one of those birthday birds^^


Now there is *finally* a curated list of diverse and inclusive birthday books that we should be reading with our kids. You can find our full list at the button below. Today, we are featuring 21 of favorites. Let's celebrate with balloons & blowing out candles. Conga & crowns. Henna & headphones. Piñatas & presents. Old & new traditions. Jump into the joy with a book.

 

birthday board book

One Big Day

A celebration of the most special day--a baby's first birthday. Perfect for introducing the events of the party to the baby of the hour and for managing the expectations of any older siblings who might need some assurance. Simple, adorable rhymes bring a big milestone to life with energy and excitement. Colorful illustrations and the sweetest. ending A great choice to read aloud in advance, on, and after the big day.



 

birthday picture books

Naming Ceremony

A sweet sibling story about making family traditions your own celebrating multigenerational family & Black joy. Today's the day! It's Baby Sister's naming ceremony, and big sister Amira could not be more excited. She has the perfect name picked out, or, at least, she hopes. As Amira greets her family, she asks what name they have brought to give to Baby Sister. Each is more beautiful than the last--Shakira, Akahana, Uhwe. And each has its own special meaning--thankful, red flower, moonlight. Amira knows that Baby Sister will love these names. But will she love the name Amira has chosen? Is it special enough?

Inuki's Birthday Party

Inuki lives in Iglulik, Nunavut. It is his fifth birthday! He can’t wait for his party at the community hall. There is cake to eat and presents to open, but celebrating with his family and friends is Inuki’s favorite gift of all! The author, Aviaq Johnston, is an Indigenous Canadian writer whose debut young adult novel Those Who Run in the Sky won the inaugural Indigenous Voices Award for English Prose. This book includes a popsicle stick puppet activity in the end matter.

The Piñata That the Farm Maiden Hung

This is the bilingual story of the farm maiden and her cadre of animals, who crafted a festive piñata for a surprise birthday party. A young girl sets out on errands for the day, and while she's gone, the farm maiden prepares a piñata from scratch with help from a boy, horse, goose, cat, sheep, and farmer. After they all fall asleep in the afternoon sun, they must scramble to finish preparations in time--just as the girl arrives back to her surprise party. Back matter includes a glossary, definitions, and directions for making a piñata at home.


When's My Birthday?

This enthusiastic celebration of all things BIRTHDAY is one of our family's favorites. We read throughout the year to help us countdown to each other's birthdays. We join the excited narrator as she lists all the things that will make her birthday the BEST birthday.

when's my birthday? where's my birthday?

how many days until my birthday?

i'd like a pony for my birthday and a necklace for my birthday.

i'd like a chicken for my birthday.

i'd like a ball to bounce and bounce.

i'd like a big cake on my birthday with lots of chocolate on my birthday and lots of candles on my birthday

1,2,3,4,5, and 6


A Crown for Corina

A charming story about a girl who learns a beloved family tradition and the symbolism behind the Mexican flower crown. Today is Corina's birthday, and she's excited to wear the biggest crown with the most beautiful flowers picked from her abuela's garden. Each flower tells a special story about all the ways Corina is rooted in the family she loves. Share in a beloved family tradition through one girl's journey of self-discovery as she learns more about her culture. We love this book. Every page is absolutely beautiful and the kid's loved to think about which flowers they would pick for their own crowns.


Dragon Noodle Party: A Story of Chinese Zodiac Animals

Join the animals of the zodiac as they make noodles for a party. Each animal brings an ingredient, except for snake, that is. It's his birthday! All of his friends have prepared long noodles to celebrate his long and happy life. Kid-friendly recipe included in the back.


When Grandma Gives You A Lemon Tree

When Grandma gives you a lemon tree, definitely don't make a face! Care for the tree, and you might be surprised at how new things, and new ideas, bloom. "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." In this imaginative take on that popular saying, a child is surprised (and disappointed) to receive a lemon tree from Grandma for her birthday. After all, she DID ask for a new gadget! But when she follows the narrator's careful--and funny--instructions, she discovers that the tree might be exactly what she wanted after all. Lemonade recipe included!



When Grandpa Gives You a Tool Box

Companion book to the above grandma story, a boy is disappointed with his grandfather's gift--until he learns he can use it to build exactly what he wanted with his own two hands, and a little help from grandpa! You asked for a special house for your dolls; but instead Grandpa gives you a toolbox! What do you do? Launching it into outer space is a bad idea. So is feeding it to a T. rex! Instead, be patient, pay attention, and you might find that you're pretty handy. And just maybe, with grandpa's help, you'll get that dollhouse after all. AND THE INCREDIBLE TOOLBOX CAN BE USED TO SMASH GENDER ROLES!! *claps for the author extremely loud*


My Hair

Join one little girl's search for the BEST party hair - as demonstrated by her family and friends. Will it be dreads or a twist out? Braids or a high-top fade? Joyous and vibrant, this captures perfectly the excitement of getting ready for a celebration, as well as showcasing a dazzling array of beautiful, intricate hairstyles.






Harriet Gets Carried Away

Harriet loves costumes. She wears them to the dentist, to the supermarket, and most importantly, to her super-special dress-up birthday party. Her dads have decorated everything for the party and Harriet has her most favorite costume all picked out for the big day. There's just one thing missing--party hats! But when Harriet dons her special penguin errand-running costume and sets out to find the perfect ones, she finds something else instead--real penguins! Harriet gets carried away with the flock. She may look like a penguin, but she's not so sure she belongs in the arctic. Can Harriet manage her way back to her dads (and the party hats!) in time for her special day?


Malaika's Surprise

It's summertime, and Malaika and Adèle are enjoying playing carnival in their bright costumes, dancing and laughing. But when Mummy announces that they will soon have a new baby brother or sister, Malaika is unsure how to feel about another change in her family. Will Mummy forget about me? On her birthday, a surprise arrives to remind Malaika of the importance of family, and the story ends with a celebration of her family's love.


 

sometimes birthday's can be too much, read these:

My Brother Otto and the Birthday Party

This book shows how two little crow siblings deal with the different sensory experiences they encounter at a friend's birthday party.

Piper and her little brother Otto, who is on the autism spectrum, are excited to attend a birthday party for their friend Ruthie. In kid-friendly language, Piper explains the accommodations Otto and Ruthie, who is also autistic, need in order to feel safe & secure in a stimulating new environment, such as wearing headphones to keep distracting noises muffled. The book provides explanations for Otto's differences in easy-to-understand language and highlights that Otto desires fun, comfort, and love--just like his peers.


Way Past Worried

Brock is worried. Way past worried, with his heart thumping and his mind racing. Today is his friend Juan's superhero party and he's going all by himself. What if nobody plays with him? What if everyone laughs at him? Brock doesn't feel like a superhero, but...what if he can save the day and find a way past worried all by himself? This engaging story speaks to kids' emerging emotional intelligence skills and helps them learn to manage worry.





Sonny Says No!

Releases 8/1

Sonny LOVES painting, so when he finds a paint set in the garden, he gets right to work! But then Boo & Meemo ask to use the paints, too. And now, Honey & Boo ask for Sonny's help blowing balloons. Sonny just wants to paint by himself, so he says, "No!" Why can't they see that Sonny doesn't have time to help? But once his friends leave, Sonny realizes he forgot that something important, it's Meemo's birthday! Honey & Boo have been trying to make Meemo a birthday present. Will Sonny help them make Meemo's big day special?

 

early reader birthday books

Ready? Set. Birthday!

Raymond likes to do everything fast! It's almost his birthday & he wants time to fly! He plays outside. He helps Papa wash the car. He even goes to bed early, but his birthday can't come soon enough! Maybe his friend Roxy can help him enjoy the wait...and celebrate, too!

Step 2 Readers use basic vocabulary and short sentences to tell simple stories. They are perfect for children who recognize familiar words and can sound out new words with help.





Ling & Ting: Share A Birthday

Ling & Ting are twins. They share a birthday. They bake cakes, and they make birthday wishes. They tell stories and wrap gifts. They also share a birthday secret! The simple text and colorful art makes this early reader a perfect choice for children learning to read. Ling & Ting is a series by Grace Lin with 3 other books in the series: Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same!, Ling & Ting: Twice as Silly, Ling & Ting: Together in All Weather. Perfect for kids kindergarten to third grade.




Makeda Makes a Birthday Treat

Makeda is an exuberant 7-year-old "maker" and problem solver who loves to create. It's Makeda's birthday! To celebrate, she is excited to make her marvelous coconut drops to share with the class. But everyone else brings cupcakes for their birthdays. Will her classmates like her special treat? This is the first title in a new Level 2 I Can Read! series. This Level Two I Can Read book is geared for kids who read on their own but still need a little help.




 

middle grade/chapter birthday books

Esme's Birthday Conga Line

Esme lives with her grandparents on the uppermost floor of the topmost best building. It's her birthday. Mimi and Pipo gave her a beautiful guitar. But they didn't plan a birthday party. Esme thinks this is the way with grandparents. They don't know about parties or piñatas or birthday cake. No problem! Esme is great at problem solving. With the help of her cat, El Toro, and a LOT of help from her neighbors in the topmost best building, the irrepressible Esme gets the birthday party of her dreams.


Alvin Ho: Allergic to Birthday Parties, Science Projects, and Other Man-Made Catastrophes

There's nothing scarier than a birthday party in the third book in a hilarious chapter book series that tackles anxiety in a fun, kid-friendly way. Perfect for both beginning and reluctant readers, and fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid! Alvin Ho, an Asian American second grader, is afraid of everything. For example, what could possibly be so scary about a birthday party? Let Alvin explain:

- You might be dressed for bowling . . . but everyone else is dressed for swimming.

- You could get mistaken for the piñata.

- You could eat too much cake.

- You could throw up.

So when Alvin receives an invitation to a party--a girl's party--how will he ever survive?


Marya Khan and the Incredible Henna Party

The start of a charming new chapter book series about a third-grader whose plans may backfire but whose persistence and heart are inspiring. Marya's eighth birthday is coming up in a week, & all she wants is an over-the-top birthday party just like the ones Alexa, her rich neighbor, always throws. When Alexa parades into school with fancy invitations, Marya can't help herself--she claims that she's having the most epic henna party ever. Now she has to convince her family to make it happen. Enter Operation Help the Khans! Marya's siblings clearly need help with their projects. Maybe she could cook dinner for her parents, or clean her grandmother's room? Except everything Marya does seems to end in disaster. Will Marya and her family be able pull it together and throw the best party ever?!

 

We hope you found a few birthday books to share with your kids! We'll be reading a few of these all day in celebration of our baby turning one! *insert crying eyes emoji* Stay tuned later this week as we will be sharing our five favorite board books for one year olds & as we launch our newest Little Free Library in Peru, NY. Cannot wait to bring you along!

Don't forget to check out our full birthday book list below.

happy reading!

 

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