Since it’s my birthday today, I’ve been thinking about the significance of birthdays in books and children's lives.
In my kindergarten classroom, birthdays are huge. They are a source of power, e.g. “I’m not going to invite you to my birthday”, and conflict, e.g. “I don’t want to come if there’s a clown.” The child who has a birthday loves to feel the attention that’s showered on them on their special day, not to mention the cake and presents.
As kids get older, they develop some birthday savvy. They might invite kids they barely play with to their parties to get more presents. Or they might bargain for not having a party if they can have a bigger gift. With teens, I’ve noticed that a birthday “party” could be as apparently ordinary as a shopping trip to the mall.
I’ve never thought much about my character’s birthdays, but given how important they are to kids, I should. In fact, the day a child is born turns out to be pretty important in my latest novel because that’s the day a decision is made about where a character is going to grow up.
Have you ever given your character a birthday party? How important are birthdays in your characters' lives?