Today we’re celebrating TWO #BookBirthdays for TWO #Birthday picture books! What?
EVERY DAY’S A HOLIDAY: Winnie’s Birthday Countdown by Stef Wade, Illus. by Husna Aghniya (Running Press Kids) follows Winnie, who can’t wait for her next birthday, as she counts down the days by celebrating other special days throughout the year.
“A great read-aloud picture book for opening discussions of traditional holidays, more recently created ones, and ideas for new ones.”―Booklist
In THE HALF BIRTHDAY BOOK by Erin Dealey, Illus. by Germán Blanco (Genius Cat Books), the Half Birthday Buddies, Big, Best, Blinger and Bright, share some crazy DIY ways to celebrate a HALF birthday.
I can see teachers using both these books in their classrooms!
Time for some Questions!
Today we’re mixing things up with questions for award-winning author Stef Wade (EVERY DAY’S A HOLIDAY) and THE HALF BIRTHDAY BOOK illustrator Germán Blanco!
Three Qs for Stef Wade
Q 1. Welcome back to the blog, Stef! What was the inspiration for EVERY DAY’S A HOLIDAY?
Stef Wade: The inspiration for EVERY DAY’S A HOLIDAY is a mash-up of three different life experiences! For years, my family and I purchased a day-by-day calendar with all the national holidays. I certainly never went to the lengths of Winnie’s mom – to celebrate a holiday every day – but we would make root beer floats or send a letter to a friend if the day called for it! Each summer, we also make a summer bucket list and place it on our kitchen cabinets with the top sign reading, “MAKE EVERY DAY FUN” – a life motto for me! Lastly, my youngest son always has a difficult time waiting for his birthday and used the actual line “That’s too many days,” when he was 5 years old. So, I put them all together and EVERY DAY’S A HOLIDAY was born!
Q 2. What surprises did illustrator Husna Aghniya bring to the book?
Stef Wade: Winnie is my absolute favorite! This is my fifth picture book, but first featuring humans! I couldn’t be happier with Winnie’s look – a bit of an homage to my favorite TV character as a kid, Punky Brewster. Also, as a resident of Wisconsin, the National Cheese Lover’s Day spread is one of my favorites. I may not be a Green Bay Packers fan, but I can still appreciate a good cheese head! (GO BEARS!)
Q 3. Can you share some of your favorite reactions and comments you’ve gotten as you celebrate this fun book?
Stef Wade: For school visits, I created a charades-type game where I have a giant bin full of objects and a volunteer comes up and tries to make the group guess the different holidays using the props. The giggles from the fact that there is a Measure Your Feet Day and Poop Day are my favorite!
Three Qs for Germán Blanco
Q 1. Welcome back to the blog Germán! What is your favorite –or most challenging—spread in The Half Birthday Book?
Germán Blanco: I think perhaps it was the cover, trying to find a fun and creative way to represent the half birthday idea splitting the cover in half. I went through a lot of iterations.
Q 2. What medium did you use for The Half Birthday Book?
Germán Blanco: Mainly digital (Photoshop)
Q 3. They say each book is a tiny bit autobiographical. Which of the Half Birthday
Buddies is most like you:
a. Big Buddy: (red) Loves to bake for friends and family–and hosts the Big
Buddy Baking Show.
b. Best Buddy: (blue) Loves surprises and random acts of kindness.
c. Blinger: (purple) Loves to sing and wear sparkly things.
d. Bright: (green) Loves to write stories, poems, jokes, and create 1/2 Birthday
Germán Blanco: Maybe a combination of Best Buddy (blue) and Bright (green).
Three Qs for BOTH of you:
Q 1. When is your birthday? What is your favorite childhood birthday memory?
Stef Wade: My birthday is on National Taco Day (October 4)! As a child, I always looked forward to having a family party with all my cousins and the special yearly “shopping spree” with my grandma!
Fun Fact: Stef’s Half Birthday is April 4th!
Germán Blanco: My birthday is Dec 30, so I always remember having to share my birthday with my brother in January because everyone else was on vacation or spending time with their own families for the holidays
Fun Fact: Germán’s birthday, Dec. 30th is also Bacon Day!
His Half Birthday is June 30th.
Q 2. What do you hope readers will take away from your books?
Stef Wade: To learn how to celebrate the small things in life. Waiting can be hard – as an author, I know this firsthand! But being grateful for the small things (like donuts!) can make every day easier and everyday fun! And as always, I like to throw sneaky learning into my books, so I hope kids learn who Shakespeare is and more about cultures, food, those who have or continue to sacrifice for us every day.
Germán Blanco: I hope kids know that it’s ok to be different and celebrate and do things your own way
Q 3. What new projects are you working on?
Stef Wade: I recently completed a middle grade eco-mystery novel and am crossing all the fingers that it will hit the shelves some day! I’ve also got a few more sneaky learning picture books on sub and that I’m working on writing as well. But I’m always keeping my eyes, ears, and mind open to new ideas.
Germán Blanco: I’m working on “Moose on the Loose” a children’s book based on the hit song by the band Ozomatli
Bonus Celebrations & Endless THANKS!
Since (according to sources) April 25th is also–among other things:
- National Library Workers Day
- National Zucchini Bread Day
- National School Bus Drivers’ Day
Stef Wade sends A HUGE THANK YOU to all the library workers and volunteers out there – I am one myself! Public and school libraries are such special and important places and certainly played a role in growing my love of books a child. And while I’ve only ever ridden a school bus for field trips (and same with my own kids!), another HUGE shout out to bus drivers for keeping our kids safe and able to learn every day!
Germán Blanco & Erin Dealey say EVERY DAY should be National Library – Zucchini – School Bus Driver Day! You are true heroes! THANK YOU dear Librarians and Bus Drivers for transporting students to adventures near and far–and seeing that they arrive safely.
Also…zucchini bread–> YUM!
Find Stef Wade & Germán Blanco on social media:
Next up on the blog: We’re celebrating Lori Degman & Jocelyn Watkinson’s
Travel Guide for Monsters, Part Deux –a Canadian Adventure
(Illus. Marcus Cutler/Sleeping Bear) which released April 15th !