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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Today is AJ’s birthday. He’s five years old. He’s so excited and looking forward to a big party with family and friends. The only problem is everyone is in quarantine, locked down due to the global pandemic. How will he celebrate his birthday without a party? Time to get creative. It’s a good thing there’s technology and virtual platforms to assist in social gatherings. AJ dresses for the festivities and is thrilled when all his friends meet him online and wish him a happy birthday. But that’s not all. There’s more excitement to be had, all done with social distancing, masks, and protective measures in place. It pays to be creative. Fun birthday parties (and other social gatherings) just need a little bit of ingenuity. And AJ certainly has that and a good attitude as well.
Amanda Turner and Tamika Neal’s picture book story, A Quarantine Birthday, which supports parents, educators, and health-related professionals, is a great way to teach young readers positive and creative thinking, resiliency to adapt to difficult situations, the ability to be flexible, and, most importantly, to know when to show gratitude. AJ’s party may not be exactly what he’d hoped and planned for all year, but he’s grateful for the party he does have. The authors lead the young reader through AJ’s scenario, pointing out the little boy’s building excitement, concern over how to celebrate, and the creative measures he, his family, and his friends took in making his day really special. Beautiful illustrations. Told with compassion and care in a way to help young readers understand what’s really important in life: caring for one another in as many unique and different ways as necessary.