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Local family hopes their creation, 'Happy the Birthday Bird,' becomes birthday tradition for others

Posted May 24, 2020 8:49 p.m. EDT
Updated May 25, 2020 10:06 a.m. EDT

Courtesy: Monica Goodson

A boy's excitement over his eighth birthday sparked a local family to come up with a new birthday tradition for their own family and others, they hope, around the country and the world.

Monica Goodson, CD Strong and their son, Mylen, launched Happy the Birthday Bird in February. The package comes with an interactive book about Happy and for a child's own memories about their birthday, along with a plush stuffed animal for kids to cuddle. Goodson and Strong have worked in various information technology positions in the corporate world, but this is their first time as toy developers, toy producers and book publishers.

I checked in with Goodson to learn more about the offering and what they hope it will become. Here's a Q&A:

Go Ask Mom: What's the origin story for Happy the Birthday Bird? How did it all come about?

Monica Goodson: Creating traditions around our son’s birthday and celebrating his special day has always been important to us. On the morning of each birthday he wakes up to a house that’s been beautifully decorated with simple birthday decorations and a special breakfast which usually consists of chocolate chip pancakes.

On Mylen’s eighth birthday, he woke up very excited, with a big smile on his face and eyes bright with joy. He was so happy that he began flapping his arms, singing, and dancing around the room like a little bird. His father commented that he looked like a birthday bird. This magical birthday moment sparked the seed of an idea that hatched! We started brainstorming that day how it would be exciting for kids to have a tradition where a special, magical birthday character visits each year to help celebrate their birthdays.

With Happy, we wanted to create not just a fun toy, but a wholesome, customizable tradition that is unique to each child and grows with them.

Happy the Birthday Bird

GAM: How does it all work? Happy comes out around a child's birthday?

MG: Happy the Birthday Bird is about creating anticipation for the birthday celebration—big or small. Happy is the official birthday bird who flies from TuYu, the Land of Birthdays, to help celebrate a child’s birthday.

Children wake up Happy the Birthday Bird and experience his magic by giving Happy a last name, hugs, and a few other things. At night, Happy flies back to TuYu, carrying birthday wishes and memories. In the morning when a child wakes, Happy will be in a new spot and might have a special surprise in his backpack. Happy’s backpack is perfect for little gifts and birthday surprises! Children will be delighted to play bird-and-seek with Happy on the day of their birthday and discover where he may be hiding with a special birthday gift!

At the end of the birthday celebration, Happy flies back to TuYu where he will wait until it’s time for him to return the following year.

Happy returns each year to celebrate a child’s birthday.

GAM: Tell us about the book - it not only includes a story, but some space for memories?

MG: Happy’s accompanying birthday book is an uplifting, interactive story that will inspire children to overcome their challenges as they discover the story about how Happy learned to fly and follow his dreams- to help children have the best birthdays! Happy inspires us to tackle our challenges, big and small, and to never give up.

You’ll discover in his uplifting story that he overcame great physical challenges to achieve his dream of becoming an Official and Fully Licensed Birthday Bird. Even when it feels impossible, he encourages us to keep going. The keepsake book includes six beautifully illustrated memory pages to chronicle a child’s first birthday with Happy and every year after and an envelope for storing additional photos and keepsakes.

The book also includes a QR code that you can scan to listen to Happy’s Birthday Song - one of our two original birthday songs. Happy’s story creates a family ritual and countdown to every birthday.

Happy the Birthday Bird

GAM: What's been the reception so far?

MG: The response has been overwhelmingly supportive. Children of all ages have embraced Happy’s magic and fallen in love with the story. They find Happy soft, comforting and fulfilling. Adults like the book’s positive message about overcoming obstacles. Adults also appreciate that they can create new memories with this new tradition for many years to come. We receive many compliments about Happy’s quality craftsmanship and the beautiful illustrations used throughout the book, on the packaging and even the shipping box. The positive support has exceeded our expectations.

GAM: What's your hope for Happy the Birthday Bird's future?

MG: We have big hopes and dreams for Happy the Birthday Bird. We are currently selling direct to consumers on the happythebirthdaybird.com website. We hope to

  • partner with venues offering birthday parties and nonprofit organizations that provide birthday celebrations for children experiencing homelessness and for families in-need.
  • expand our product line.
  • sell wholesale to speciality gift and toy stores.
  • license our brand.

The sky is the limit!

People can find us online on the happythebirthdaybird.com website. They can also follow our journey on Instagram at @happythebirthdaybird and on Facebook @happythebirthdaybird.

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