This story is joy. 🙂
All the children in the orphanage are waiting for their special day, their birthday! Today is the Day is inspired by real life events at the Creation of Hope orphanage in Kikima, Kenya. The author notes at the end of the book that “birthday celebrations” in general are often not a big deal in several cultures around the world BUT this orphanage decided to make a yearly birthday celebration to remind the children that they are special. Many of the children at the orphanage’s parents died from HIV and AIDS and they don’t know their birthdays. So, once a year, they hold a special celebration to celebrate their existence and they also get a government-issued birth certificate!
In the story, Mutanu wakes up excited for the day because she knows it is their birthday! Her energy is contagious and she walks around their home, doing her chores and checking on the baby animals. She remembers their birthdays as well! Mutanu is at the orphanage because her parents died and she went to live with her grandma but when her grandma got too old to care for her, she had to take her to the orphanage. On this special day, she reunites with her beloved grandma and can hardly wait to hear her name called to get her gift bag and to sing Happy Birthday. Happy Birthday Mutanu! It’s truly your day.
Today is the Day features very cute acrylic illustrations that are joyful and full of energy. Fernandes bases Mutanu on an actual girl (her photo is in the back) and she is happy with eyes full of love and kindness. This book is a great way to introduce important social issues to your child; issues of HIV and AIDS in Kenya, homelessness, orphans, building community and self-confidence. If you enjoy this story, Eric Walters and Eugenie Fernandes have two more books in this series called My Name is Blessing and Hope Springs.
P.S. The cover of the book opens to a beautiful poster!
Recommended for: All ages
Great for: Community, Friendship, Birthdays, Orphans, Social Issues, Diversity, Cultural Diversity, We Need Diverse Books, Kenya, Joy
Book Info: Today is the Day by Eric Walters/Illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes, 2015 Tundra Books (Penguin Random House), ISBN: 9781770496484