NEW BUFFALO — A group of New Buffalo Elementary School pupils who have November birthdays celebrated on Friday, Nov. 22, with books and cake.

The occasion was the monthly Birthday Book Party sponsored by the Rotary Club of Harbor Country during which 24 students in preschool through fifth grade got to open gift-wrapped Scholastic books that they had previously chosen.

For some, it was truly a surprise as they had forgotten which one they had ordered.

“You get to keep them and take them home. We think it’s very important you have books of your own,” said Darlene Heemstra of the Rotary Club.

Popular titles included: “I Survived the Great Molasses Flood,” “Detective Pikachu: Super Sleuth,” “Adopt-A-Palooza” and “Miss Porter is Out of Order.”

The books were accompanied by birthday cards, and of course there was cake with plenty of frosting.

Heemstra said Birthday Book Parties are held monthly at NBES (those born in the summer attend a larger celebration in June while September and October were combined this year).

“It’s something that the students look forward to every single month,” said NBES Reading Specialist Melissa Lijewski. “And it’s also a way to get books in their homes … We love this program.”

The Rotary Club also sponsors a birthday book program in the River Valley school district. Those books are mailed home to students.

Last year RV also had a ‘One Book: Two Schools” endeavor for National Reading Month (March) which combined “Sled Dog School” with special events such as a visit from a sled dog team and their owner/trainer.

Heemstra said both New Buffalo and River Valley are slated to have a special National Reading Month program this year.

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