BIRTHDAY SURPRISES! 1 Prompt, 10 Authors, 10 Stories, Chosen by Johanna Hurwitz

Kids Wings
Grade Levels
4th - 7th, Homeschool
Resource Type
Formats Included
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Kids Wings


Johanna Hurwitz invited 10 award-winning authors to join her in writing responses to the same writing prompt phrase: "A BIRTHDAY SURPRISE"
The premise: "a young person finds an empty box among his or her birthday gifts"

The result? BIRTHDAY SURPRISES! 10 Stories by celebrated authors, collected by Johanna Hurwitz is not just the perfect birthday present. This collection of short stories by award-winning children's authors provides the perfect creative writing models that stimulate imagination and writing skills.

The stories and poems that grew were each unique and each one carried a special message! The results were a collection of stories (ranging from sad to heartwarming to amusing) that children will treasure! It is the perfect motivator for inspiring students to write imaginatively from a single prompt.

Each of the ten stories can be used for a week's reading, study, and writing. You can choose your own speed, but we think you'll want to pause to enjoy the fun. Writing takes time!

The Kids Wings Activities by master teacher Suzy Red come to you in PowerPoint and PDF formats for perfection in PROJECTION and PRINTING.

The Kids' Wings Study Guide for Birthday Surprises Contains:
The Empty Box: Brainstorm Possibilities
The Empty Box: Create a Story Map and Write
"The Special Powers of Blossom Culp" (Characteristics and Drawing)
Which Present (Logic Puzzle)
Gander? Posse? Gaggle? Partitions? (Vocabulary Check-up)
"The Special Powers of Blossom Culp": What Will She Be? (Partner Project)
No Such Thing (Setting) Multiple Choice
Birthday Box Creation
"What the Princess Discarded" (Vocabulary Multiple Choice)
"What the Princess Discarded" (Illustration and Venn Diagram)
"Hattie's Birthday Box" (Timeline)
"Hattie's Birthday Box" (Interview and Write)
"The Birthday of Madeline Blore" (Crossword Puzzle)
"Victor" (Drawing Conclusions Multiple Choice)
"Victor" (Figurative Language Multiple Choice and Illustration)
"Promises: (Rules of Friendship)
"The Empty Box" (Sequencing)
Math Challenges
Writing Prompts
Answer Keys

Order your Birthday Surprises novels through this link:


PLEASE NOTE: Kids Wings materials are written by highly experienced master teachers. We hire professional proof readers who are also master educators. We do our best to be sure each of our literature guides is top quality and error free, and classroom tested, but if you think we can do better, we welcome your input. If you find an error in our materials, please email us at so we can make corrections. After it is corrected, we will invite you to download a newly polished copy and will probably attach a surprise to our reply as a thank-you!

If you like our materials, we would be very grateful if you let us and others know!
Total Pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
2 months
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