Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Top 10 Most Popular Author/Illustrator Birthday Celebrations of 2015

Our family had another fun year celebrating 43 author and illustrator birthdays! We have celebrated 281 different children's authors and illustrators since 2010 and we wanted to thank you for reading along with us as we share our family reading experiences. We are already looking forward to 2016, but I wanted to take a moment to reminisce.

I was curious to see which of our blog posts from 2015 were the most popular. The top ten blog posts with the most page views were: (click on the blog title to view the original post)

1. Happy Birthday, Alice Provensen (August 14) -- The most viewed birthday blog post of the year featured our visit to the James A. Garfield National Historic Site in Mentor, Ohio.  We toured James A. Garfield's home and stood on the porch where he delivered many campaign speeches. This reading experience was inspired by Alice Provensen's The Buck Stops Here.

2. Happy Birthday, Eric VanRaepenbusch (March 29) -- Hey! This post was about me! We celebrated my birthday by making homemade messy cloths. This reading experience was inspired by my book, Baby Beards!.

3. Happy Birthday, Rafael López (August 8) -- We had a jam session with family friends to celebrate Rafael López's birthday. We learned about many different types of drums including congas and bongós. This reading experience was inspired by Drum Dream Girl.

4. Happy Birthday, Theodore Taylor (January 13) -- We took advantage of a day off from school because it was -20 degrees outside to celebrate Theodore Taylor's birthday. We turned up the heat with a dance party inspired by When the Beat was Born.

5. Happy Birthday, Kate McMullan (January 16) -- This post features our annual tradition of making a birthday cake for Kate McMullan. This year's cake was inspired by I'm Brave. It was the 6th cake my oldest son has decorated based on one of McMullan's books. He will never forget what happened when I was taking a picture of him and the finished cake. (Here's a hint...SPLAT!)

6. Happy Birthday, Chris Van Allsburg (June 18) -- We celebrated Chris Van Allsburg's birthday by trying Black Mission Figs for the first time. We found out that figs are delicious with vanilla ice cream! This reading experience was inspired by The Sweetest Fig.

7. Happy Birthday, Bryan Collier (January 31) -- We had a pottery party with eleven children and five adults at our house to celebrate Bryan Collier's birthday. Our handmade creations were inspired by Dave the Potter.

8. Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss (March 2) -- This was one of my favorite Dr. Seuss birthday celebrations ever! We read The King's Stilts and made a real pair of stilts.

9. Happy Birthday, Vera B. Williams (January 28) -- We ate cherries and spit out the pits while we read Cherries and Cherry Pits to celebrate Vera B. Williams' birthday. The cherry pits inspired an art project too!

10. Happy Birthday, Jen Corace (February 19) -- We made telephones out of tin cans and string to celebrate Jen Corace's birthday. We were surprised that the telephones actually worked. This reading experience was inspired by Telephone and This Plus That: Life's Little Equations.

I asked my children which celebration was their favorite of the year. They said, "Do we have to pick just one?" So, they chose their top 3:

My 8 years old son's favorite reading experiences of 2015 --

1. Happy Birthday, Brian Selznick (July 14) -- We traveled all the way to Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum in Michigan to see real automaton. This was one of the most unique places I have ever visited and the whole family loved it. This family reading experience was inspired by The Invention of Hugo Cabret.

2. Happy Birthday Deb, Pilutti (August 18) -- We read Ten Rules of Being a Superhero and made our own plastic action figure toys. My son made the superhero, Dragon Boy.

3. Happy Birthday, Loren Long (April 24) -- We read Toy Boat and made our own toy boats out of corks and took them to our small neighborhood lake. My oldest son let go of the string that was holding his boat and we had to rescue it with a really long stick.

My 5 year old son's favorite reading experiences of 2015 --

1. Happy Birthday, Elisa Kleven (October 14) - This was our longest author birthday celebration ever. It took almost two weeks to make our apple dolls inspired by The Apple Doll. It was worth the wait as the dolls turned out fantastic.

2. Happy Birthday, Lou Fancher (September 13) -- During our annual trip to Washington D.C. for the National Book Festival we celebrated Lou Fancher's birthday by reading A Boy Named FDR at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial.

3. Happy Birthday, Shutta Crum (November 29) -- I am not surprised he picked this reading experience. He loves the book Who Took My Hairy Toe?. We made our own hairy toe tar pockets for a snack. It sounds gross but they were delicious!

My 3 years old daughter's favorite reading experiences of 2015 --

1. Happy Birthday, Dan Santat (October 2) -- We met Dan Santat at the National Book Festival. My daughter loved his presentation and she loved his book Crankenstein. We made our own Crankenstein Halloween decorations for our front yard.

2. Happy Birthday, Marilyn Sadler (November 17) -- I was not surprised by this pick either. She loves macaroni and cheese and to celebrate Marilyn Sadler's birthday we read Tony Baroni Loves Macaroni. We decorated bowls with Sharpie Markers and ate homemade macaroni and cheese to celebrate.

3. Happy Birthday, Aaron Reynolds (June 4) - CREEPY CARROTS!! We made little wooden creepy carrots and snuck them into our friends gardens to scare them!

My ten year old daughter's favorite reading experiences of 2015 --

All of her favorites were mentioned above, but I found a picture of her for each.

1. Happy Birthday, Bryan Collier (January 31) --

2. Happy Birthday, Loren Long (April 24)  --

3.  Happy Birthday, Brian Selznick (July 14) --

We hope you had a wonderful 2015 and wish you all the best in 2016!

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