Each year, Joni Rubinstein reads to her children when they say goodnight on the eve of a birthday.

Her three children are now 33, 30 and 26 — Rubinstein still calls them each year, reading from “The Night Before My Birthday Book.” The tradition started when her kids were young, curled up in bed as Rubinstein read a special poem to celebrate the coming of a new year. When her daughter’s friend had a baby seven years ago, Rubinstein, a counselor at a Marana eementary school, realized she wanted to share the tradition with other families.

So she wrote a book and self-published it through her company, Three Hearts Presents, named for her children.

With spaces in the book for parents and kids to fill in thoughts about each birthday, Rubinstein hopes the book becomes more of a keepsake than just an average picture book. She imagines families pulling it from the bookshelf each year, paging through the illustrations by Juana Martinez-Neal of Scottsdale.

“You bring it out and have this magic to it, and that’s what it felt like for me and my children,” Rubinstein, 59, said. “You’re celebrating not just a birthday, but that transformation of becoming a family, the magic of waking up and being a year older.”

Contact reporter Johanna Willett at jwillett@azstarnet.com or 573-4357.

Writing about Tucson's heart and soul — its people, its kindness, its faith — for #ThisIsTucson.