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Birthdays and Sharing: Books For Kids

Just like Lemony Snicket, we say, “Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.” This sage advice extends to everything we do, including birthdays! The party doesn’t start until the books arrive. If you’re looking to add a bookish element to your birthday⁠—a decision we couldn’t agree with more⁠—we’ve got the perfect suggestions.

Growing up, birthdays were always a very well celebrated event in our home. We looked forward to them for quite some time before the big day. We anticipated choosing our birthday breakfast, what kind of party and activities we wanted to do throughout the day, and we always knew there would be a special treat (birthday cake!) of our choice.

Children’s literature does a great job of showcasing some wonderful birthday parties. From Dr. Seuss’s well known “Happy Birthday to You!” to “A Birthday for Cow,” to “If You Had Your Birthday Party on the Moon,” the selection of books is out of this world. Children’s literature does so much for kids, and teaching them of their importance is no exception!

Whether you are looking for board books for your little one’s very first birthday, or your growing toddler on their second birthday, you are sure to find one that is personalized to their individual interests. If your child has a birthday during the school year, sometimes their kindergarten class will invite you to bring something in to share with classmates. This list of books is sure to give you some great ideas. We have also included picture books for their third birthday up to six years old. You can be sure that even when their birthdays mean they are growing up a little too much for your liking, we will still have books for them. For your middle school age kids, you can find chapter books with stories about birthdays that will be loads of fun for them . . . and you can feel good about being able to continue making them feel celebrated!

We’d love to hear which books are your favorites or which you’d add to the list.

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Bernice Gets Carried Away
Written & illustrated by Hannah Harrison
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Perfect for a new generation of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day readers, this charming story about a grumpy cat gently shows how far a little sharing can go.

Bernice is having a truly rotten time at her friend’s birthday party. First, everyone else gets a piece of cake with a frosting rose. But not Bernice. Then, everyone else gets strawberry-melon soda. Bernice gets the prune-grapefruit juice. And it’s warm. The last straw is the one lousy (squished) candy she gets from the piñata. So when the balloons arrive, Bernice knows just what she has to do: grab them all. And then, poor cross Bernice gets carried up, up, and away. Luckily, she figures out just how to make her way back down to the party…and she brightens lots of other animals’ days on her way.

Hannah Harrison’s gorgeous animal paintings come alive in her second picture book. Her “exceptionally polished” debut, Extraordinary Jane, received starred reviews from Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, and School Library Journal.

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The Best Birthday Present Ever
Written & illustrated by Ben Mantle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Squirrel is super excited: he’s been invited to Big Bear’s birthday party! Now he just has to find the perfect present for his friend—but what can you give a bear who already has EVERYTHING? Squirrel searches and searches and chooses . . . a stick! As Bear unwraps his stack of gifts Squirrel begins to worry: is it enough? But with a little imagination, and a good friend, even the simplest stick can become magical. This funny, heartwarming story of friendship is a great gift—and not just for bears!

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Amanda Panda and the Bigger, Better Birthday
Written by Candice Ransom & illustrated by Christine Grove
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Amanda Panda’s birthday is tomorrow. She’ll be the first kid in her class to turn six! But when she gets to the bus stop, her best friend/worst enemy Bitsy announces that today is HER birthday! And her party is planned for Saturday, the same day as Amanda’s!

Birthday dreams ruined, Amanda’s can’t keep her temper in check at school. By recess, it looks like Amanda’s birthday plans—and her friendship with Bitsy—is over. But when the girls stop arguing long enough to listen to each other, they come up wtih a birthday plan that is TWICE the fun.

Young children will learn about sharing, compromise, and conflict resolution, all the while laughing along with Amanda and Bitsy in this adorable, school-based story from a new favorite character.

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Birthday Cake
Written & illustrated by Dan Yaccarino
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

HAPPYLAND introduces three friends Bink, Clyde, and Glub-Glub in a series of delightful adventures that illustrate issues including sharing, gratitude, and worry. “Birthday Cake” tackles the ever-important issue of sharing, as the hero Clyde learns it s as much fun to give as it is to receive. There s nothing more important for little kids entering preschool than to be emotionally ready ready to separate from their parents, to mix and play with new children, to broaden their sense of the world. HAPPYLAND, from award-winning children s author Dan Yaccarino, is the board book series that gives kids, and their parents, the language they need to take these emotional steps.”

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Lionel and the Lion's Share
Written by Lou Peacock & illustrated by Lisa Sheehan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Lion the lion does NOT like to share. After all, lions always get the lion’s share. He buys all the best instruments from the music ship, all the smartest hats from the hat shop and all the brightest balloons from the balloon stall. But at Chloe’s birthday party Lionel goes too far and eats ALL the cake.

Buster the Very Shy Dog, More Adventures with Phoebe book
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Boom! Bang! Royal Meringue! book
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  • Buster the Very Shy Dog, More Adventures with Phoebe - It’s backyard troubles galore for canine friends Buster and Phoebe in two easy-to-read adventures. The trouble begins when Buster and Phoebe get blamed for trashing the backyard and hatch a plan to find the real garbage bandit. But first they have to stay awake and keep away from skunks! Next, the pals search for buried “bone” treasures only to quibble about which bones belong to which dog. Buster may be shy but he’s smart enough to claim what’s rightfully his and kind enough to share it, too.

  • Boom! Bang! Royal Meringue! - Polite and perfect Princess Hannah has been so well behaved that the King and Queen have decided to get her a very special birthday present: The Marvellous Magical Pudding Machine! How can she possibly be expected to share such a wonderful thing with her friends? Discover the fanciful and vivid picture book that gives hope that even those with the sweetest tooth might learn to share.

Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did you know you can help us improve this list? Check out our Community Handbook and learn how to add tags to books.

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