Birthdays Around the World

Birthdays Around the World
Written by Margriet Ruurs
Illustrated by Ashley Barron
Series: Around the World
Kids Can Press, 2017
ISBN-13: 978-1-77138-624-1
List Price: USD $18.99, CAD $19.99
4-color 9 x 12 40 pages
Grades: PreSchool To 2 / Ages: 3 to 7

Everyone in the world has a birthday. But birthdays are not celebrated in the same way everywhere. Meet Mercedes in Peru, who eats a cake and a purple pudding called mazamorra morada. Ieva in Latvia is raised in the birthday chair, one lift for each year. And rather than celebrating his own birthday, Phúc Khang in Vietnam joins in the festivities during Tet, when everyone in the country turns one year older.

Based on interviews with real people, award-winning author Margriet Ruurs tells the unique stories of how seventeen children from all around the globe celebrate a birthday, including how they each say happy birthday in their native language.

Following the memorable stories, children are invited to compare their own birthday traditions with the ones they’ve learned about in the book. Birthdays can be a yearly highlight and a shared experience for children, which make them a perfect subject for introducing different customs around the world.

As with all the titles in the bestselling Around the World series, this fascinating book provides cross-curricular applications in language arts, global studies and geography. Ashley Barron’s beautiful cut-paper collage artwork adds a contemporary, stylized feel to the pages. Enriching the reading experience are a world map that pinpoints all the locations of the children in the book; a two-page spread containing six activities that facilitate a closer reading of the text; and a glossary containing translations, pronunciations and foreign scripts for the foreign words and phrases in the book.


An easy, enjoyable way to start thinking about similarities and differences around the world.
— Kirkus Reviews, June 2017

a good choice for introductory conversations about cultural differences.
— School Library Journal, July 2017

a cheerful, inviting introduction to birthdays.
— Booklist, July 2017

— “Young readers will have lots to discover as they flip through the colourful pages while older readers will enjoy reading and learning from this informational picture book.”
— CM Magazine, December 2017

“… a great book to share with young children on their birthday or in a class- room when talking about different cultural celebrations.”
— Resource Links, February 2018

“… a delightful book with engaging artwork perfectly suitable for reading out loud to children.”
— Quebec Library Association, May 2018

2018 – Best Children’s Books of the Year, Bank Street College, Winner
2018 – Best Books for Kids & Teens, Canadian Children’s Book Centre, Winner

To hear a Jamaican style birthday song, play the video!