In Praise of YES Day + Books for the Birthday Kid


Happy YES day from the Asby family, where our family of four celebrates three birthdays this week.

But wait – YES Day?

YES Day is the one and only day of the year, when the answer to every request is an enthusiastic YES.

May I have birthday cake for breakfast? YES.

May I wear pajamas all day long? YES.

May I play video games for four hours straight without even a side-eye of disapproval from my mother?? YES.

We have Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld to thank for our family birthday tradition of YES Day, and we will never go back.

Now, lest you think you will have to hand over the car keys to your ten-year-old on YES Day, let me share a few ground rules:

  1. Requests must be reasonable (relatively, anyway).
  2. Requests must not hurt another person (“Please can you make my sister eat the vomit-flavored jelly bean?” would be promptly vetoed)
  3. Requests must live entirely within the current day (you can’t ask for permission for a sleepover next month or a raise on your allowance)
  4. Requests that involve money must not be extravagant (you could ask to eat lunch at Boxer Ramen, but not for that $400 Harry Potter LEGO set).
  5. YES Day ends at your regularly scheduled bedtime.

You may adjust the rules for your family, perhaps creating a firm budget that your child may spend however they like. We allow requests that require a little prep work; my son wanted a homemade cake and a scavenger hunt* to find his presents (see photo above; it was spectacular!), both of which we prepared beforehand, but you don’t have to do that. If you’re afraid that your kid will be sad to have missed a traditional party, remind them that they can have friends over on YES Day, and even sing “Happy Birthday” and eat cake. I like this glorified play-date version of a party, because I don’t have to clean my house or be in party-mode, and the birthday kid still gets to be with friends and feel celebrated.

I see your skeptical face, reader, but let me tell you that every parent I’ve known to try out a YES Day has been astounded by how ordinary the requests are. It seems that simply having an entire day of not being told what to do, of finally getting to hop into the driver’s seat (metaphorically speaking!!!) is pretty priceless.

Whether you go YES Day or traditional party (or both!), the following reads pair well with cake and ice cream.

Happy reading and happiest of birthdays to you all!

Of course, Yes Daywhich started it all.


When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree is hilarious and charming and manages to teach without being preachy at all.


Ten Rules of the Birthday Wish makes me feel like we maybe need Ten Rules of the Perfect YES Day . . . 


When’s My Birthday has the names of Julie Fogliano and Christian Robinson on the cover. Enough said.


Of course, there is Seuss. “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”


And for the perfect gift for that one-year-old who has everything, try Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s Your Birthday Book, complete with exclusive interviews to be completed in later years.



*Many thanks for the clues that came from or were inspired by!

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