My Celebrations: Books For Young Children

From birthdays to special holidays and family traditions, these books are all about big celebrations and the important ways young children can help prepare for the festivities!

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A Birthday Basket for Tía

By: Pat Mora
Illustrated by: Cecily Lang
Age Level: 0-3

Cecilia and her cat, Chica, create a special birthday present for her great-aunt's 90th birthday — a basket filled with things Cecilia and her tía have shared. This affectionate autobiographical story is illustrated with warm colors, suggestive of Mexican American traditions.

Big Red Lollipop

Illustrated by: Sophie Blackall
Age Level: 6-9

Rubina has been invited to her first birthday party, and her mother, Ami, insists that she bring her little sister along. Rubina is mortified, but she can't convince Ami that you just don't bring your younger sister to your friend's party. So both girls go, and not only does Sana demand to win every game, but after the party she steals Rubina's prized party favor, a red lollipop. What's a fed-up big sister to do?

Block Party (Confetti Kids)

Illustrated by: Shirley Ng-Benitez
Age Level: 3-6

The neighborhood is having a block party where everyone is responsible for bringing a food dish. Padma is excited about the party until she learns that her mother is planning to bring lentil soup. Padma thinks soup is so boring! Everyone else will bring fun things like pizza or hot dogs. Plus Padma worries that her friends won’t like the soup—but to her delight, she discovers that they not only like the soup, they want to learn how to make it.

Bravo

Illustrated by: Rene King Moreno
Age Level: 0-3
Language: Spanish (Bilingual Eng/Sp)

Two children go outdoors to collect musical instruments for a joyful parade and are joined by friends. The children march, play, and sing to the delight of their families. Simple words in English and Spanish combine with soft illustrations for a satisfying story.

Dale, Dale, Dale: Una fiesta de números / Hit It, Hit It, Hit It: A Fiesta of Numbers

Illustrated by: Carolyn Dee Flores
Age Level: 3-6
Language: Spanish (Bilingual Eng/Sp)

Mateo counts to twelve as he anticipates the fun he'll have at his birthday party. There will be family, friends and lots of goodies for the children: tops, marbles and even toy cars! But before the children can hit the piñata, they will sing the birthday boy a song and enjoy eating a delicious cake. And then Mateo will be "the happiest boy in the whole wide world," because he gets to swing at the piñata first with everyone cheering him on: Dale! Dale! Dale!

Drummer Boy of John John

Illustrated by: Frané Lessac
Age Level: 3-6

Product Description: Carnival is coming, and the villagers of John John, Trinidad, are getting ready to celebrate. Best of all, the Roti King has promised free rotis — tasty fried pancakes filled with chicken, herbs, and spices — for the best band in the parade. Young Winston dreams of feasting on those delicious rotis. But there's a problem: he's not in a band! Pondering his predicament as he wanders through the village junkyard, Winston makes a curious musical discovery that may be just the ticket to realizing his dream.

Henry's First-Moon Birthday

Illustrated by: Yumi Heo
Age Level: 3-6

Product Description: Jenny's baby brother Henry is having his one-month birthday — his first-moon, as it's called in Chinese. And even though Jenny's sure he doesn't deserve it (all Henry does is sleep, eat, and cry) there's a big celebration planned for him. Together, Jenny and her grandma get everything ready, from dyeing eggs a lucky red to preparing pigs' feet and ginger soup. And someday, when Henry's old enough to appreciate all her hard work, Jenny will tell him how lucky he was to have her in charge.

It's Ramadan, Curious George

By: Hena Khan
Age Level: 0-3

It's the first day of Ramadan, and George is celebrating with his friend Kareem and his family. George helps Kareem with his first fast and joins in the evening celebration of tasting treats and enjoying a special meal. Then, George helps make gift baskets to donate to the needy, and watches for the crescent moon with the man in the yellow hat. Finally George joins in the Eid festivities to mark the end of his very first Ramadan. 

Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book

Age Level: 3-6

What's an old woman to do when a skeleton comes to visit? Keep him waiting, of course, while busy doing things from 1 to 10, culminating in a festive birthday celebration. Lively language and illustrations make this original tale memorable.

La Boda: A Mexican Wedding Celebration

Illustrated by: Andrea Arroyo
Age Level: 3-6

Maria looks to her grandmother to explain the rituals and traditions she observes at her first wedding. Their conversation, sprinkled with Spanish words, is carried by the evocative illustrations that depict this Zapotec Indian wedding celebration in Oaxaca, Mexico. A helpful Spanish glossary and an introduction to Zapotec culture and religion are included.

Marisol McDonald and the Clash Bash

Illustrated by: Sara Palacios
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: Fans of Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match/Marisol McDonald no combina won't be surprised to see the girl of many styles struggling to decide on a theme for her eighth birthday party! As if that weren't hard enough, Marisol is faced with the prospect of not being able to see her abuelita, who lives in Peru, on her special day. Her friends are in for a huge surprise when they turn up for world's most eclectic clash bash while Marisol happily gets her wish granted to see her abuelita.

Mice and Beans

Illustrated by: Joe Cepeda
Age Level: 3-6

As Rosa Maria prepares for the family celebration of her granddaughter’s birthday, she gets unexpected help from the mice who live in the house. Spanish words are integrated into the joyful text and reflected in the energetic, vibrant illustrations.

Nadia's Hands

Illustrated by: Jonathan Weiner
Age Level: 6-9

Nadia's aunt is about to get married, and Nadia has been chosen as the flower girl. This means that her aunt will be putting mehndi on Nadia's hands, covering them with beautiful designs for the wedding. Nadia isn't sure she wants hands to look so different, and she worries that she will be teased at school. Little by little, though, Nadia comes to appreciate the special Pakistani tradition that she shares with many generations of women in her family. Readers will be fascinated by the lovely oil paintings of the mehndi tradition and designs.

Powwow's Coming

Age Level: 3-6

Former elementary school teacher Linda Boyden presents Powwow's Coming, a picture book that teaches young people about the Native American custom of the powwow dance. The colorful, paper-collage style illustrations and simple, rhyming text reflect the joy and enthusiasm inherent in a powwow celebration. "Powwows started / long ago, / but dances change, / powwows grow. // Still today the / steps and songs / bless the dancers, / make them strong." A wonderful read-aloud book. — Midwest Book Review

Rafi and Rosi: Carnival!

It's time for Carnival! Three short stories in this Easy Reader present the adventures shared by Rafi and Rosi, charming and mischievous young tree frogs who are brother and sister, and live in Puerto Rico. The stories include young Rosi dressing up in "Queen for a Day," as well as Rafi's "magical" periscope, used to watch the Carnival parade. Children and adults alike will enjoy the amusing experiences of these two siblings, as well as the cheerful and colorful illustrations. Spanish version also available.

Super Oscar

Since he forgets to distribute the lists for the neighborhood picnic, Oscar must launch into action. He shops, sets the table and whips up the food — in a most unusual way — for the best picnic ever! Colorful illustrations add imaginative detail and visual interest as well as a subtle nudge for exercise.

The Perfect Gift (Confetti Kids)

By: Paula Yoo
Illustrated by: Shirley Ng-Benitez
Age Level: 3-6

In this story, Mei’s family is throwing a 100-days birthday party for her little brother — a traditional Chinese celebration after the arrival of a baby. Mei’s grandma is in town for the festivities and teaches Mei about the different customs. Mei can’t wait for the party, but she worries about what to give her little brother. With help from her friends and grandma, Mei discovers that the best gifts are those from the heart.

This Next New Year

Illustrated by: Yangsook Choi
Age Level: 3-6
Language: Chinese, Korean

Janet Wong shares a young boy's hopes and dreams for the New Year — he has had so much bad luck in the past year, but he is certain that this year will be much luckier! A heartwarming and honest portrayal of what the chance to start over means for all of us. An author's note provides insight into her background and this festive occasion.  This book is also available in Chinese and Korean bilingual editions.

Up and Down the Andes: A Peruvian Festival Tale

Illustrated by: Aurelia Fronty
Age Level: 3-6

"The mountain landscape is at the center of this picture book about the Peruvian Inti Raymi Festival as children travel from all over southern Peru, by bus, train, boat, mule, and truck, to the city of Cusco to celebrate with feasting and fun in their traditional costumes. The simple rhyming text and the bright, clear, beautiful unframed acrylic paintings express a strong sense of the rich traditions that are still part of contemporary life, from the clothes and food at the party to the images of the Sun God." — Booklist