How To Guide





My family celebrates the birthdays of children's authors and illustrators because it exposes us to a variety of books, reminds us to revisit our favorite books each year, and encourages us to read books by authors and illustrators we have not yet experienced.  (Also, I believe it has made me a better dad!)

I write the Happy Birthday Author blog to encourage families to spend time reading picture books together.  An author birthday celebration at our house includes reading many picture books by an author or illustrator having a birthday and completing an activity to bring our favorite book to life.  I hope that our celebrations inspire you to try one in your own home.

Suggestions on How to use Happy Birthday Author with your family:
Making a cake based on Kate and
Jim McMullan's I STINK.

1.  Subscribe to Happy Birthday Author via email (Enter your email on the left side of this page), TwitterFacebook, Pinterest, Google+ or RSS feed.  This will alert you to the newest birthday posts. Additionally, there is a list of previously celebrated children's author and illustrator birthdays in chronological order on the right-side of this page or you can check out our new calendar view!

2. Decide on an children's author or illustrator birthday to celebrate.  Then, head to your local library to find as many books as possible by the author or illustrator (Be sure to check your own home library for books too!).   You could even call your librarian before your visit and have them set aside the books for you.

3. Begin reading the books with your children as soon as possible. Have your children chose which books they would like to read first!  Tell your children that they are reading the books to celebrate the birthday of the children's author or illustrator.  Once your children know the date of the birthday the anticipation will begin to build.

Celebrating Peter McCarty's Birthday
by reading JEREMY DRAWS A MONSTER.
4. Check out the links located at the end of the birthday blog post. I include links to author interviews, videos, activity ideas, etc.  Hopefully you will find something to incorporate into your birthday celebration.

5.  On the day of the author's birthday remind your child about the special day for the author.  (They will probably remind you first!) I like talking about the books they have enjoyed reading thus far.

6.  Read and reread as many books as you can on the day of the birthday.  Try some of the activities from an online resource or the birthday blog post. Think of a small craft to do (even if it is drawing their favorite part from one of the books they read.)

7.  If you really love the author, bake a cake or have a special birthday dessert. (Check out our cakes we made for Kate McMullan's birthday!)

8.  Come back to Happy Birthday Author to share your experiences with other families.

I believe that reading is a celebration.  There are different types of celebrations - big celebrations, small celebrations, simple celebrations.  The list above is just a guide that can be simplified or expanded depending on your interest or amount of time that you have. The important thing is to celebrate books, authors and time together as a family!

Here is a peek into our daily reading experience:

We have a bookshelf in our family room.

Each night my children choose from these books for before bedtime reading.  On the shelf are books my children and I have selected from the library and books from our personal collection that are by authors and illustrators that have birthdays during the month.
By month end, we have read most of the books from the author and illustrators that had birthdays.  I remove all those books from the bookshelf. 
I take them downstairs to a larger bookshelf where I have all the books sorted in alphabetical order by name.  It takes some time to place the books in their correct spot so they can be found easily when we need them. (Note: I have been collecting books for many years.  Most of my books are from used book sales.)
Then, I find books by authors and illustrators with birthdays in the upcoming month.

I love that we revisit books by our favorite authors and illustrators every year.
Each of my children select one book for me to read with them before bed. They love having a fresh collection of books each month.
The 30 minutes I have every night reading with my children is my favorite part of the day.

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