Celebrating a child’s birthday with their peers brings so much joy. I’m on my twenty-fourth year of being an elementary teacher. For many of those years, we celebrated birthdays with cupcakes. What most elementary teachers do now is much more meaningful than cupcakes. We celebrate with a book. Parents choose a book, wrap it like a present and send it to school on the day your child would like to celebrate. The teacher will read it to the class and let their classmates sign the book to send home.
I’ve read some of my most favorite books with these birthday books. These are some of my favorites:
What Do You Do With A Chance? This is a beautiful book that inspires kids of all ages and parents and teachers who read it to find the courage to go for the opportunities that come their way. Because you never know when a chance, once taken, might be the one to change everything.
Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed This book as a beautiful message of spreading kindness in a way that makes me think of good karma. Ordinary Mary’s simple act of kindness sets off a chain reaction. You see the math multiply when five people do a similar kindness, and then each of those people do something nice for five others, and so on and so forth, until good deeds have been done for every person on the planet. It’s inspires children to want to make their own kindness chain.
Do Unto Otters This book is all about how to be a good friend…just follow the Golden Rule! It is a perfect book to read at the beginning of the year to build a classroom community and also revisit as a birthday book. One of my favorite parts is that the otters teach you how to speak different languages when using nice manners.
Leonardo the Terrible Monster Leonardo is a terrible monster because he can’t seem to frighten anyone. Persistent, Leonardo searches to find someone to scare…he finds a nervous little boy, and scares the tuna salad out of him! Leonardo realizes scaring the little boy was not as meaningful as it is to be really good friend.
My Friend is Sad Another Mo Willems book and this is one of my most favorite books in my classroom library. I’ve even gifted it to one of my dear friends who is an educator. It brings me so much joy to read and I hope to bring and inspire the same joy to my friends just like Piggie does to Gerald. This is a book that teaches children to be empathetic to their friends in the most charming way.
These are beautiful books to invest in, gift to your child and add to your home or classroom library. You can never have too many books on kindness and courage. Reading stories like these has helped prompt several important discussions with my first grade classroom about respect, friendship, and how we can show others we care.