The Day You Begin
Author: Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrator: Rafael López
Publication Date: August 28th, 2018 by Nancy Paulsen Books
Summary: National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson and two-time Pura Belpre Illustrator Award winner Rafael López have teamed up to create a poignant, yet heartening book about finding courage to connect, even when you feel scared and alone.
There will be times when you walk into a room
and no one there is quite like you.
There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it’s how you look or talk, or where you’re from; maybe it’s what you eat, or something just as random. It’s not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it.
Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael López’s dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.
Kellee’s Review: A beautiful book about the power of differences while also acknowledging the challenges that feeling as if you don’t fit in cause. I loved that the story was not exactly narrative but instead of a snapshot into multiple kids’ lives to help show different examples of differences. We are all unique and that is what makes this book and our world beautiful!
Woodson’s lyrical language with Lopez’s collage and colorful illustration makes this book a piece of art that is going to bridge gaps, help students think about others, give readers a mirror and a window, and build empathy in all that read it.
Ricki’s Review: A great many kids and adults will find solace in the text. The writing and illustrations are stunning. Every once in a while, a book comes around like this one. It is simply magical. I don’t often purchase bound copies of my F&Gs, but I knew I needed to pre-order this one after I read it. It is a great book for teachers to read on the first day. The emotional impact is powerful. Everyone has felt excluded at some time or another, and this book digs deeply into that emotion and pushes readers to analyze that feeling and push through it to find strength and resolve. I am having a difficult time conveying the power of this book. I promise you will love it.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Building classroom community around kindness and empathy is essential in building a safe, trusting environment for our students, and this text will be a perfect addition to any text set you have that focuses on these topics. In addition to these social-emotional impacts, the text allows for talks of theme, mood, and author’s intent.
- What is one way that you feel very different than most people around you? How could people support you? How could you support others who feel different?
- What examples of people’s differences did Woodson highlight in the story?
- What was the mood for the first large portion of the text?
- What is the theme of the book?
- Why do you think the author felt compelled to write this book?
- Why are differences important in our community? Nation? Classroom?
Read This If You Love: Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson, I Walk With Vanessa by Kerascoët, Normal Norman by Tara Lazar, Adrian Simcox Does Not Have a Horse by Marcy Campbell, What Can a Citizen Do? by Dave Eggers, Pink is for Boys by Rob Pearlman, Come with Me by Holly McGhee, We’re All Wonders by R.J. Palacio