Another of my favorite events is coming up . . . the Orange County Children’s Book Festival at Orange Coast College. What better way to encourage a child’s love of reading than taking them to a festival all about books? From meeting illustrators to authors, to listening to professional storytellers and celebrity authors (Kobe Bryant will be making an appearance on the main stage), to face painting, petting zoo and dance performances, you could be there all day. View the program here to get a sneek peek at the fun.
One booth you will need to be sure to visit is that of author Joni Rubinstein. She shared her book, The Night Before My Birthday Book, with me, and I know once you read it, it will become a special tradition you’ll want to bring into your own home. We were lucky enough to be able to catch Mrs. Rubinstein before she hops in her car to head to Costa Mesa for the festival and ask her a few questions.
We love that your book is meant to be a special family tradition to celebrate birthdays. How did you come up with this idea?
When my first child was born I found a very short little poem about the night before a child’s birthday and read it on the night before her first birthday. The tradition continued with my next two children as well. Thirteen years ago when my daughter’s friend had her baby she wanted me to send her the poem. It was then that I thought about writing a new and much longer poem and making a book so we could share the tradition with other families.
Throughout the book, you leave blank spaces so that the reader can fill in their current and future age. My kids loved chiming in when I paused at those points in the story. Did reading to your own children inspire that part as well?
I love hearing that your girls liked that. Some of my favorite feedback came from a mom who was writing a review. Her son was about to turn three and he said, “I love how the book knows how old I am.” I like that it personalizes the reading for everyone, at any age.
At the end of the book, there are a few pages titled Birthday Chronicles. Can you tell us why you decided to add these in?
I wanted the book to be more than a children’s book. I always say it’s a family book, a tradition, and a keepsake. I think that traditions hold a family together. The keepsake part reinforces this tradition. As they get older, children can read it to parents and grandparents. I think it’s important for children to celebrate all their family members and to enjoy being a receiver and giver of this tradition. It deepens bonds and adds to a sense of belonging.
This book makes for the perfect gift, whether to your own child, friends or even grandparents. What’s your favorite story of someone starting their own tradition with your book?
It is a unique gift for a baby shower, a birth or adoption, and of course a birthday. I receive many posts from people on Facebook that share pictures of each year’s reading. I met a family at Mommy Con when their little one was about two. I receive a picture of her every year and she recently turned nine. At book festivals, families come up to me and tell me that they received the book as a gift and thank me for their new tradition. It’s very emotional for me, sharing this with other families was my dream.
The Children’s Book Festival is on Sunday, October 6th from 9:30am – 4pm at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa. The event and parking are FREE.
Orange Coast College • 2701 Fairview Road • Costa Mesa 92626
Main parking in Lot E off Merrimac Way w/ additional parking in Lot D and Lot C