I never gave much credence to astrology, until I had a Scorpio kid, born in November, and found that he’s just as feisty and strong-willed as astrologers would predict. Whether your November birthday children act as though they’re under the influence of their sign or not, they will enjoy reading these books related to the month that made them a star in your universe.
Arthur’s Birthday, by Marc Brown
Marc Brown, who gave the world the beloved Arthur books (and their cartoon spin-offs) will celebrate his 73rd birthday on November 25. Brown published his first Arthur book, Arthur’s Nose, in 1976, but before that, he tried a lot of things that didn’t quite work out. He was a truck driver, a short-order cook, and a professor at a college that went bankrupt shortly after it hired him. Just like Marc Brown, Arthur has a knack for turning disappointments into victories, and Arthur’s Birthday is a good example. Arthur invites all his friends for his birthday party, which just happens to be on the same day that the Muffy, his wealthy monkey friend, has scheduled hers. Luckily, Francine and Arthur come up with a clever and generous way to celebrate with all of their friends.
Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade, by Melissa Sweet
November birthday kids have the right to pretend all those huge balloons in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade were inflated in honor of their birthdays. Balloons Over Broadway tells the remarkable story of how those balloons came to be. Tony Sarg, born in 1880, loved to build marionettes when he was a little boy, and even rigged up a pulley system that allowed him to feed the family’s chickens at dawn without getting out of bed. Sarg eventually took a job with Macy’s in New York City, designing puppet displays for the Manhattan store’s windows. In 1924, Macy’s decided to honor their employees by putting on a holiday parade and put Sarg in charge of the festivities. Over the years he experimented with techniques to produce the grandest display, until he finally came up with a method to create enormous, movable balloons.
Thankful, by Eileen Spinelli and Archie Preston
This sweet rhyming book about all the things people are thankful for is a great one to read with your birthday kid when she’s grumbling about writing all the thank you notes for her presents. “The waitress is thankful for comfortable shoes,” Spinelli writes, “The local reporter, for interesting news.” This book will spur kids to remember everything they’re thankful for, and finish up those notes, already!
Traitor: The Case of Benedict Arnold, by Jean Fritz
Jean Fritz was born on November 16, 1915, and lived to an incredible 102 years old. She was best known for her many books exploring the lives of America’s founding fathers, from George Washington to Paul Revere to Benjamin Franklin. Here’s a book that today’s kids might find of particular relevance, about America’s most famous traitor, Benedict Arnold. “When Benedict Arnold was a teenager, some people in his hometown of Norwich, Connecticut, predicted that he’d grow up to be a success,” Fritz writes. “Others said, No. Benedict Arnold would turn out badly. As it happened, everyone was right.” Fritz details Arnold’s evolution from the spoiled child of a rich family who bothered others at private school with his “hot temper” and “loud voice,” to an irascible soldier who betrayed his country.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, illustrated by Tudor Humphries
C.S. Lewis, who invented the enchanting land of Narnia for generations of kids to enjoy, was born on November 29, 1898. This charming, illustrated version is a great edition to introduce younger kids to Narnia, with Humphries’ detailed depictions of Mr. Tumnus the faun, the cozy tree stump house of Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, and the cold-hearted White Witch on her imposing sleigh. But maybe read it after your child’s birthday has passed so they don’t beg you for a magical wardrobe for a birthday present!
In November, by Cynthia Rylant and Jill Kastner
With November’s blustery winds and barren trees, few people who weren’t born in November would choose it as their favorite month, but in this picture book, Cynthia Rylant makes strong a case for its glories. “In November, the earth is growing quiet,” this cozy book, illustrated in rich, earth tone paintings begins. Tree branches in November are bare, but that’s how it should be. “They know it’s time to be still,” Rylant writes. Cats and mice sleep in warm, furry piles, and people get ready to eat. “Food is better in November than any other time of the year.” This book will make you smell the apple cider and the warm pie that is your due as a November birthday kid.
Hardcover $19.20 | $20.80
Who Was Mark Twain?, by April Jones Prince
One of the most beloved American authors, Mark Twain, was born in November. November 30, 1835, to be precise, the night that Halley’s comet zoomed across the sky. “He was so good at making up stories,” April Jones Prince writes, “that he even made up his name.” Read on to hear how the boy called Samuel Langhorne Clemens, born two months premature, made himself into the legend known as Mark Twain, working as a steamboat pilot, journalist, and gold miner before writing his famous novels.
The Busy Little Squirrel, by Nancy Tafuri
One of the best aspects of November is the chance it gives us to chill out—ask any squirrel to attest to this! Nancy Tafuri, who also happens to enjoy a November birthday, tells the story of a squirrel scampering everywhere to get ready for winter. He has no time to nibble a pumpkin with the mice, rest on a branch with the cardinals, or hop on rocks with the frog. Only when all his food is gathered safely into his tree hole nest will the squirrel finally take a well-deserved rest.
Earl the Squirrel, by Don Freeman
Okay, just one more squirrel book for those November birthday kids, since gray squirrels in the neighborhood are especially active now before they begin sleeping longer every day during the cold months. In this book by the beloved author and illustrator of Corduroy, Earl the Squirrel’s mother decides it’s high time he learn how to forage for acorns by himself. So Earl does what he always does—he goes and visits his friend, a little girl named Sally, who gives him an acorn, plus a bright red scarf she knitted for a doll. Mama squirrel isn’t happy. “Now that girl has done it. You are the most spoiled squirrel in the world.” But Earl takes his present and uses it to become very resourceful—the grand finale of this book involves him inadvertently inciting a bull to gore an oak tree, resulting in a rain of acorns.
Leaf Man, by Lois Ehlert
Lois Ehlert is a prolific author and illustrator who also happens to enjoy a November birthday. Perhaps her November-est book is Leaf Man, illustrated with a variety of leaves arranged in the shapes of animals, trees, vegetables and more. It begins, “Leaf Man used to live near me in a pile of leaves. But yesterday the wind blew Leaf Man away.” Leaf Man, a guy with a maple leaf face and acorn eyes, is a drifter, blowing wherever the wind takes him.
What books do you love for littles with November birthdays?