As I mentioned in my introduction post, I am a media specialist/school librarian at an elementary school. One of the most fun parts of my job is matching kids with the perfect books. It can be a difficult task at times, but I enjoy it. Some of the hardest students to please are my 4th and 5th graders. 11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass is a title that caught on like wildfire this year. Also, students in grades 4-6 throughout Maryland recently elected this title as their favorite novel of the year.
Amanda and Leo’s friendship started at birth. They were inseparable for years but everything changed at their 10th birthday party. The book picks up a year later, as Amanda and Leo turn eleven. We see Amanda’s 11th birthday through her eyes and it’s a disaster from beginning to end. Amanda crawls into bed, eager to end the worst birthday in history. However, when she wakes up the next morning she realizes it’s her birthday all over again. Across town, Leo is struggling with the same experience. Can Amanda and Leo mend their friendship and find a way to stop the never-ending birthday?
As soon as I read this book, I couldn’t help but think of the movie Groundhog Day. There are fantasy elements with the repeating birthdays, but the characters and emotions are very real. Readers definitely relate to the struggles that come with friendships and families. While this book is marketed to ages 9-12, I feel it’s safe to share with younger readers who need a challenge or as a novel to read together. Even though more girls found the book on their own, several boys asked to read it after hearing the girls talk about the plot.
Did your child bring home 11 Birthdays this year? Do you think you’ll share it with your favorite reader?
I checked the book out from my school, but you can borrow this title from HCPL! The title is also available as an audio book for your kids who prefer to listen to a good story. I could not find it in the Kindle or Nook stores as of this posting.