PPBF: The Twelve Gifts of Birth

Today's PPBF will be a valued gift for your inspirational collection.

Title:  The Twelve Gifts of Birth
Author:  Charlene Costanzo
Photography: Jill Reger
Illustrator: Wendy Wassink Ackison
Publisher: Featherfew
Date: 1999
Suitable for all ages
Themes: values, traits, inspiration, self-esteem
Opening pages:  Once upon a time, a long time ago, when princes and princesses live in faraway kingdoms, royal children were given twelve special gifts when they were born. You may have heard the stories. Twelve wise women of the kingdom, or fairy godmothers as they were often called, traveled swiftly to the castle whenever a new price or princess came into the world. Each fairy godmother pronounced a noble gift upon the royal baby. 

As time went on, the wise women came to understand that the twelve royal gifts of birth belong to every child, born anywhere at anytime. They yearned to proclaim the gifts to all children, but the customs of the land did not allow that.

Simple synopsis:  This royal treasure encourages parents and caregivers to nurture the gifts with which their children are blessed at birth.

Resources:  The Twelve Gifts website {here}
Browse inside the book at HarperCollins {here}
You Tube Music Video: 
The Twelve Gifts of Birth - We All Have Gifts To Share

Why I like this book: I received a copy of this book when our third child, Joshua, was born and I've had the Twelve Gifts poster hanging in my office ever since. Every time I read it, I'm moved by its simplicity and beauty. It shares a positively powerful message of hope and healing

To get students thinking about their strengths, follow up by asking:  
How are you a gift to {your school, your family, your community, your world}? 

Then encourage them to affirm one another with notes that read: You are a gift to {me} because _________. We did this with our faculty one year and it brought great joy to give and receive these little notes. 

Finally, find somewhere to publicly post them. Here's a bulletin board that hangs in our character cafe to visibly share our gifts and keep them alive.


  1. What a simple but powerful message packed in a picture book which, as you point out, can be read by everyone. Thanks for sharing it here, Barbara.

  2. What a beautiful book, Barbara. And I love the theme of your blog...much needed these days! I'm checking this one out soon. Thanks so much for introducing us to it.

  3. This book sounds truly wonderful -- inspiring and affirming. Thank you!

  4. Just checked...and my local bookstore has three copies! This sounds like an amazing book. Thank you!

    Grade ONEderful
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  5. Barbara, this is a very unique book. Thank you for introducing it to me. What a wonderful gift book for new parents. I really liked your activities for older children. Such a beautiful idea.

  6. Beautiful! What is there not love about this inspiring book. Loved also the link. Thanks for sharing with us.

  7. This book sounds like it has a powerful message. You provided great activities.

  8. What an amazing book, Barbara...I love this! Thanks for sharing it and for a great review and activity list. :)

  9. This post is a great gift in itself. I have not heard of this book but it looks fabulous!! I especially like the ways that you are using it at your school to highlight the gifts that we each have and the gifts we can share. Thank you!


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