We know there isn’t a perfect month to share this book list, but if it’s not your child’s birth month, just bookmark this article for later!
We are always looking for excuses to read new books with our children, and there are plenty of beautifully-crafted birthday books out there. It can be fun to add a new one to your collection each year, or even make a trip to the library together to check out a few. Here are some of our favorites:
Birthday Monsters! by Sandra Boynton
Boynton is known for her silly and lovable characters. This book is no exception! Children are delighted by the tale of boisterous monsters whose enthusiasm seems to undermine every fun element of Hippo’s birthday. Just as they leave and it seems everything is ruined, they right zip back in and share a special surprise.
On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman
We all cherish our children, and Tillman’s book has a way of whimsically and visually showing them how we feel. It begins with: “On the night you were born, the moon smiled with such wonder that the stars peeked in to see you and the night wind whispered, ‘Life will never be the same.’” The name travels on the wind around the world in celebration of the birth of the special child (yours!).
It’s My Birthday by Helen Oxenbury
From the author of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, this birthday book will be especially appealing to younger children. A child decides to make a cake for their birthday and enlists the help of friends. A chicken shares some eggs, a bear gets the flour, the cat finds some butter and milk, a pig finds a pinch of salt, and a dog buys some sugar. After a monkey picks some cherries out of a tree, the child has everything they need to bake - and share - the birthday cake.
Happy Birthday Moon by Frank Asch
Young bear decides it would be nice to get the moon a birthday present. After a (one-sided) conversation echoing from a mountain top, Bear happily returns home, believing that the moon has the same birthday as he does and happens to want the same thing - a hat. The delightful misunderstandings continue, and children will love watching Bear give (and receive) the gift.
The Secret Birthday Message by Eric Carle
Tim wakes up on his birthday to find an envelope beneath his pillow. A coded message leads him on a treasure hunt for his gift. The pages of this book contain not only Carle’s beautiful signature style of artwork, but there are shaped and cut out pages that make the story a bit more interactive.
Clever Jack Takes the Cake by Candance Fleming, illustrated by G. Brian Karas
Jack lives in a cottage with his mother, and while they don’t have much, his resilience and generosity are enough to get him through. When he receives an invitation to the princess’ birthday party, he struggles with what he might bring as a gift. Ever-resourceful, he bakes a perfect strawberry cake for her. The journey to the castle is quite an adventure, and while the cake doesn’t arrive quite as planned, Jack learns that sometimes the best gifts aren’t things at all.
Lyle and the Birthday Party by Bernard Waber
Loveable Lyle has entertained generations of children. He lives with the Primm family on East 88th Street, and life is generally pretty perfect. When young Joshua’s birthday arrives, however, events take a turn for the worse. Lyle breaks a gift and then wonders if it was actually an accident. This story includes some ridiculous mix-ups, characters dealing with negative emotions, the love of a family, and the discovery that giving is perhaps more satisfying than receiving.
If a T. Rex Crashes Your Birthday Party by Jill Esbaum, illustrated by Dasha Tolstikova
Having a T. Rex come to your birthday party might sound like a dream-come-true to many young children, but as the child in this book discovers, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. The T. Rex is huge, has sharp nails and teeth, and gets pretty grumpy when things don’t go his way. Underneath the tough exterior, however, there’s a gentle heart that will win readers over.
Ling and Ting Share a Birthday by Grace Lin
The second book in a series about a pair of loveable twins, Ling and Ting Share a Birthday is a book about sharing. These girls are sweet and silly, and they realize that they are lucky to have each other. They share a gift they receive, they shop for one another, they read together...and they celebrate together. This is a perfect book for early readers; it is broken into chapters that are actually short stories in their own right.
Some Birthday! by Patricia Polacco
Patricia and her brother live with their mother, but they spend summers with their father and grandmother. One morning, on the day of her birthday, Patricia helps her father get ready for work. He dashes out the door without mentioning it at all. Even when he returns home in the evening, he settles in to read the paper and watch television. Then, out of the blue, he tells the children it would be the perfect night to try and spot the monster at the bottom of the clay pit down the street. He creates a memorable night, ending in the children seeing the “monster”, running home screaming, and realizing he hadn’t forgotten Patricia’s birthday at all! They all celebrate with cake, gifts, and more laughs.