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Children's Fiction Birthdays

Happy Birthday to Me

illustrated by Thao Lam

Groundwood Books Ltd
Initial publish date
Apr 2023
Birthdays, Diversity & Multicultural, Emotions & Feelings
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2023
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2023
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 3 to 6
  • Grade: p to 1


How does it feel to turn a year older? A child runs through a spectrum of emotions on the best day of the year, their birthday!

A child runs through a spectrum of emotions on the best day of the year—their birthday! Early-morning excitement gives way to shyness at the arrival of guests, hunger for cake, a craze for arts and crafts, and some real piñata problems. So how can a kid possibly answer that age old question: "How does it feel to be a year older?"

From bestselling picture-book creator Thao Lam comes this irrepressible celebration of emotions, captured in a rainbow of cut-paper collage. Happy Birthday to Me makes for the perfect birthday present or anytime-guide to naming our feelings.


Key Text Features



Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:


Identify words and phrases in stories or poems that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses.

About the author

THAO Lam has been creating pictures for as long as she can remember. For her, drawing has always felt as natural as breathing. She has an insatiable love for coloured and textured papers, which she uses to create her exuberant collages. Passionate about children’s books, Thao is especially interested in visual storytelling. She draws inspiration from the stories she hears, from the beauty in everyday things, and from the work of the many illustrators she admires. As an art buyer for an education publishing company, she has the opportunity to work with thousands of different artists from all around the world. Since studying illustration for three years at Sheridan College in Toronto, Thao has developed her dual careers of illustrating and art buying. Her art works have appeared in publications such as Cricket and Highlight magazines. In 2008, she won the Highlights Five Pewter Plate award for verse illustration of the year. She has twice been chosen for the American Illustration Award. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Thao Lam's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Happy Birthday to Me offers the gift of amusement and reassurance to readers who have found that being the center of attention makes them feel... well, a whole bunch of ways.

Shelf Awareness

Lam, as usual, has a finger on the pulse of a child’s life, and this self-centric version is absolutely spot-on in corralling just how important a birthday is to a preschooler. STARRED REVIEW

School Library Journal

Happy Birthday to Me by author-illustrator Thao Lam, is a beautiful book. The illustrations are gorgeous and the simple message is timeless.

Quebec Library Association

This is a lovely story that will help young readers sort through the big feelings that come with birthday celebrations, complete with the ups and downs that expectations can bring.

Canadian Children’s Book News

Worthy of a celebration, this is a multifaceted yet child-friendly exploration of the big emotions associated with birthdays. STARRED REVIEW


Colorful, intricate cut-paper collages … capture the high-flying, many-layered feelings of a kid at the center of a birthday celebration.

Publishers Weekly

Lam’s paper craft illustrations are intricate and layered, creating a rich, textured reading experience. … Happy Birthday To Me is a clever and calming ode to all the emotions we feel on the 'best' days of our lives, good and bad.

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

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