On John Green’s 38th birthday, here are 38 things we love about him

John’s main goal is to rid the world of “suck,” but he does so, so much more than that. He gives the world all he has, and we are so much better for it.

Well, Nerdfighters and YA lovers everywhere: Today is a very special day. Today, the wonderful John Green turns 38. Happy birthday, John! Here are 38 things we love about you, as if you need a reminder of just how much of a fangirling force you wield.

1. Um, his writing

Let’s just get the obvious ones out of the way, shall we? He crafts sentences into some sort of emotional weaponry that scientists haven’t figured out just yet. That’s why we cried so hard at the end of The Fault In Our Stars. Word artillery. (OK, we’ll stop making him sound like an evil mastermind now.)

2. Vlogbrothers, of course

Nerdfighters everywhere have been thankful for the past eight (yes, EIGHT — where does the time go?) years for the vids created by John and his brother, Hank. Really, it’s like listening in to a super interesting and hilarious eight-year-old conversation. Here is a perfect example of one of John’s installments, where he tackles an incredibly complex and important issue with his characteristic wit in just seven minutes.

3. Aaaaand Crash Course

Because the Green brothers are so darn good at breaking down difficult topics into easy-to-digest, delicious tidbits (yes, their videos are like SNACKS), they took it to the classroom with Crash Course, aka hundreds of episodes on various topics that are used by teachers as an educational tool. And they work, because it turns out that students DON’T EVEN WANT TO LEAVE THE CLASSROOM.

4. Project for Awesome

Founded by John and Hank in 2007, P4A’s four-word description is “online creators decreasing worldsuck.” In other words, it’s an online community-driven charitable movement on YouTube that takes place every December for 48 hours and has raised millions of dollars while increasing awareness for various user-chosen charities.

5. His relationship with his brother

Have you noticed that a lot of this has to do with Hank, too? That’s because they are BFFs and it’s just the best thing. Every John-and-Hank interaction makes us all warm and fuzzy inside. They’ve got each others’ backs.

6. His view on nerds

You might be saying, “Um, duh, the guy who’s dubbed his followers ‘Nerdfighters’ obviously thinks nerds are cool.” But no. You don’t understand until you watch this Vlogbrothers video, in which John addresses why nerds are so absolutely, unequivocally amazing.

Can we get that on a shirt?

7. His pure, unabashed love for The Mountain Goats

If we all could love something as much as John loves his fave band The Mountain Goats, the world would be a beautiful place.

  8. His reason for writing young adult books  

John has given many rad Reddit AMAs in which he’s dropped truth bombs on various subjects. But a particularly beautiful truth bomb arrived this past April, when John explained why he loves writing YA:  

  (That’s only a section of his response to that question in particular, so check out his entire response here.)  

9. He constantly emphasizes the importance of reading  

This is an early Vlogbrothers video — way back in 2007! — but it still rings true today. In the first 35 seconds alone, he shoots down the “I don’t have time to read” excuse. . . then gives a personal tour of his own library (which has probably grown a lot since then, but still). 

10. He takes the time to give advice to his fans  

Even though he’s a world famous author, vlogger, and online personality, John still has time for his fans. For example, back in April, a Tumblr user, who worried that his parents are homophobic and ableist (despite the fact that the fan has cerebral palsy), asked John for advice about coming out to them, and he responded beautifully.  

  (Again, this is only a small section of a beautiful and lengthy post — read the entire thing here.)  

11. He supports other YA writers  

The creative field can be competitive, but John never lets competition or jealousy get in the way. In fact, he lifts up other writers, including up-and-coming ones, with shout-outs to his large following on social media.  

12. He raises awareness about poverty…

John doesn’t just stick to books and vlogging. He makes sure to use his influence and huge follower count by highlighting important issues that should be at the forefront, always.

13. ….racism in today’s society…

14. ….and other issues that truly, deeply matter

15. During his BookCon panel, he was the first to point out the fact that there was only one woman on it.

16. He deals with people giving him casting recommendations hilariously

When John’s books took the world by storm, fans naturally wanted them to be adapted into movies. And some of those fans were, um, passionate about casting choices.

After some continuous pestering, John decided to change his bio to “I am an author, a vlogbrother, and a person who does not cast movies.” (Though TBH, I do miss his old bio that included an important fact: “Books are like tweets, but longer.”)

17. He always becomes super close with the actors and actresses in his movie adaptations. . . 

Even though John doesn’t choose who is cast in his movies, he certainly does not stand back and let things happen as they may. He immerses himself in the adaptations of his books, and often develops super close and adorable relationships with the leads in his films. Take a look at his social media, and you’ll see a bajillion (yes, exact number) posts about his acting friends. (Can’t forget about the time Shailene Woodley made John cry with happiness, breaking our hearts.)

18. . . . especially Nat Wolff

Nat Wolff played Isaac in TFIOS, and recently played the lead role of Quentin in Paper Towns. He also plays John’s BFF everyday. Every single interaction between those two is absolutely golden. (They even scored better on a BuzzFeed friendship test than Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart.)

19. He apologized for using the r-word in Paper Towns

Though John is the master of word artillery, he didn’t hesitate to apologize for one word that he used in Paper Towns that was truly damaging — a slur that begins with an “r.” Everyone makes mistakes, but it’s truly refreshing when they’re owned up to honestly and genuinely.

20. And the inspiration behind Paper Towns is super feminist and empowering

In one, simple tweet:

21. He’s a mental health advocate

John has always remained refreshingly open about his mental health issues, which in turn has kept the conversation open for thousands of young people who may need to hear it. Most recently, John spoke up in an AMA about his anxiety, OCD, and panic attacks. He also has tweeted about these issues in the past in an attempt to remove the stigma surrounding mental illness.

22. Actually, he’s open about everything, really

Take a gander at the FAQ section of his website, and you’ll find more of John’s poignant and refreshing honesty. “I was quite nerdy and dearly wished that I could be popular,” he says of his childhood. “I think I was quite difficult to be around–my insecurity and anxiety made it difficult for me to have straightforward, engaging social interactions with anyone, and I was really super self-absorbed.”

He’s just one of those guys that doesn’t bother putting up a front. What you see is what you get — and what you get is real and genuine.

23. He’s proud of the important things

He could be proud of his books, or his videos, or his wildly popular online presence, or the way he’s impacted the world with his charities and awareness events. But no, this is what he’s most proud of:

24. He’s a fan of our faves, like Tavi Gevinson. . .

25. And JK Rowling. . .

26. And Beyoncé

Got those priorities straight.

27. He’s majorly supportive of his family, aka his “squad”

John doesn’t just have a family. He has a club. He has a SQUAD.

And he supports The Art Assignment, a weekly PBS Digital studios production hosted by his wife, Sarah:

28. He gives credit where credit is due

When John was alerted that a quote circulating the Interwebz — “I’m in love with cities I’ve never been to and people I’ve never met” — was being attributed to him when he did not write that quote, he immediately set out to clear the confusion up, devoting an entire video to the matter. (The quote actually originates by a 13-year-old Tumblr user named Melody.)

29. He asks for his followers’ opinions on what to wear to major events

. . . you know, like the movie premiere of the adaptation of his own book.

30. Oh, also, he looks snazzy in a suit

Wink, wink.

31. He’s always open to trying new things

. . . like the time he tried sweet pea sorbet and took to Instagram to document the event.

32. He makes cameo appearances in his own movies

He did one for TFIOS, which was adorable but was cut (though you can watch it in the deleted scenes). He also did one for Paper Towns, which yes, was kept in! And we all rejoiced.

33. His view on being a part of the creative community

It can seem easy to let fame and success go to your head, but in the April AMA, John explained that when it comes to creation, it’s all collective — not individualistic.

“I know that in America we are supposed to celebrate individualism and everything, but I feel like everything. . . is really a vast creation that we are all participating in,” he explained. “We participate in it by reading and by watching and by making stuff, and the stuff that gets a billion views matters in that process and the stuff that gets 10 views also matters. It’s too vast and complex a process for any individual to really claim significance within it.”

As always, a refreshing and beautiful perspective.


In that same Reddit AMA, when he was asked what he wants his legacy to be, he responded with just a simple sentence: “I think my only really important legacy will be my kids.”

And that’s clear, as John is always talking about his kids, Henry and Alice, on social media:

(Oh, and we can’t forget about the time John ate “slobber carrots” cooked by Henry. Now that’s love.)

35. Everything he’s ever written about love

Need I say more?

36. His love for Chipotle

It’s almost as big as his love for The Mountain Goats. Almost.

37. He covers his face in weird stuff for the sake of vlogging.

Like peanut butter.

And Sharpie.

And there’s the time that he and Sarah covered their faces in various condiments for charity, because THE GREENS, MAN.

38. He’s always questioning the status quo. . . often with very heartfelt beliefs.

Guys, if you haven’t already, watch this. You’ll want to get rid of all your pennies forever.

Happy birthday, John, and thank you, truly. We hope you have a day with absolutely NO suck.

(Image via Instagram)


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