mr90043940713Tomorrow, December 24th, is a very special day in the kidlit world, but we’re celebrating today, because early celebrations extend the joy.

In our writing and reading community, there is a person who reads voraciously, writes book reviews by the score (both for his blog and for his local newspaper), has recently published his first book, is an eager participant in blog activities such as Susanna Leonard Hill’s short story contests, and is an encouragement, inspiration, and cheering section for us all.

His name is Erik and he’s the Kid behind the blog This Kid Reviews Books. I first got to know Erik through Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) in 2011, as well as Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday, in which Erik is a regular participant, and through the first year of Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 — as well as through his terrific blog. I am grateful to be able to call this young man my friend.

Tomorrow is his 12th birthday. How about that? Turning 12 in the 12th month, on a day which is a multiple of 12! That’s something to celebrate. ERIK is someone to celebrate. And we’re doing that today.

Welcome to the kidlit community’s BIRTHDAY PARTY for ERIK!

SURPRISE, ERIK! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

A birthday party requires proper headwear. Help yourself to a hat, and a handful (or two) of streamers and confetti.

Party hat

Anyone for a game of balloon volleyball? Try to keep as many balloons in the air as possible, while batting them back and forth across the room. If they land in the fruit punch, they’re out of bounds.

Holiday backgrund with balloons

Speaking of games, no self-respecting birthday party dare show its face around me without a few games to play.

Here are some birthday word puzzles from KidGen for starters. Fun English Games has some writing games for kids. Learn how to write your name in hieroglyphics at LearnEnglishKids. To inject an extra touch of class into this party, how about some Shakespeare games for kids from the Folger Shakespeare Library?

You may have already played the word definition game at Free Rice — as you choose the correct definition for the words shown to you, rice is donated to people in need. (I checked it on Snopes, it’s legit.) With It’s Greek to Me, you can learn about Greek influences on our English language. And Super Thinkers lets you solve mysteries!

Okay — is anyone still at the party, or are you all playing games? Maybe some CAKE will get your attention! Ha. I thought that would bring you running…

birthday cake and candles on black background

Erik, are you ready to blow out the candles? There is an extra candle for luck, and to test your lung power. Make a wish! Ready… Set… Huff… Puff… WHOOOOOOOOOSH! Well done!

And what would a birthday party be without presents?

This box contains dreams, hopes, and determination — all the things you need to make the coming year a great one. In the comments below, you’ll find everyone’s good wishes for your birthday and onwards. Those, too, are part of your gift — from us to you.

Opening a special present box

Have a wonderful birthday, Erik! May it be the start of an awesome year!

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Everyone in attendance at Erik’s party, please leave your greetings and good wishes in the comments.

Thanks for being here!

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Note: all images except Erik’s logo are licensed through fotolia.

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