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Celebrate YOU! How to Have a Birthday

How to Have a Birthday, by Mary Lyn Ray/Illustrated by Cindy Derby, (Sept. 2021, Candlewick Press), $17.99, ISBN: 9781536207415

Ages 4-8

All the expectations of a birthday are wrapped up in this warm, enjoyable tribute to the most special, most personal, of days. How to Have a Birthday is a celebration of the potential of the birthday: “On the morning of your birthday, you can tell already that the day is not like others. / Maybe you wake early, wondering what will happen. / You know something will. / And that’s your first present: you get to wonder”. It’s a celebration of all the ways we mark the day, from songs and gifts, to rituals and traditions to mark the passing of another year; it’s the power of the birthday wish. The story follows three children as they observe and enjoy their days, in their own ways, with the people in their lives, and the mixed media illustrations are created in warm, soothing colors that wrap readers in their cozy world and invite them in to celebrate. A great birthday story for a special storytime, make reading this a part of your own rituals and traditions.


I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading ( I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (, where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

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