The Day You Begin — 19 Comments

  1. I want to read this book aloud to EVERYONE IN THE WORLD! I want to shout it from the rooftops…the messages in this story is all-encompassing. I was all to hear the words and feel compassion for those around you 24/7 in this great world…on EARTH!! Love the story-the illustrations and everything that this book represents! 5 of 5 stars

  2. Let me begin by saying I love Jacqueline Woodson, and this book did not disappoint me. The illustrations and the story were both wonderful, and paired so well together. I agree that it would be a great book to use at the beginning of a school year and provide a lot of opportunity for discussion about fear, differences, and new beginnings.

  3. WOW! This is why I love Jacqueline Woodson books! All students can relate to this book. It celebrates our differences and similarities. It is great for new students and students who have always attended out school. I love it recognizes that not all students will have a summer of travel and adventure. But adventure can be found even in your own home (or in books!). This will be a great book to start the year off on a high note!
    P.S. Love the illustrations!

  4. I enjoyed the pictures in this book – the illustrations draw you into understanding and capture your attention. The words work together with the illustrations to help children understand all the ways they could feel different and encourage them to share their experiences with others. I love how this book talks about the world being a wider place, making space for ourselves and others. 5/5 stars

  5. Great book for celebrating diversity. Students can easily see themselves either through the diverse children in the illustrations or the thoughts they have. I would also use this book at the start of the school year as a read aloud. I would read the last page twice- “Where every new friend has something a little like you – and something else so fabulously not quite like you at all.” We have to make friends and cherish friendship. Would make a great independent read also. 5/5 stars

  6. I received this book as a gift last year and my first graders LOVED it. They were completely engaged with the book throughout. Judging from their comments, they seemed to see themselves reflected in the text and illustrations. Jaqueline Woodson is an amazing author. I will definitely be reading this book at the beginning of the year and revisiting it as the year goes along. 5/5

  7. This book hits me in the heart. The page that gets me the most is the one that reads, “There will be times when the world feels like a place you’re standing all the way outside of…” and the landscape around the child who is outside of the group is bleak, but the landscape where the children are playing happily is so colorful and lively. The text touches on so many ways that a human can feel “other” in our world: race, socioeconomics, cuisine, language…and in specific examples from a child’s life.
    I would use this during our month when our PBIS character trait is empathy. I also think that this book would be a good partner book with the book I’m New Here to do a social lesson on what it would be like to join a classroom/group and how we can welcome others.

  8. Jacqueline Woodson did not disappoint again! I really enjoyed this book and could see it being used at the beginning of the school, especially in our school which has a very high concentration of ESL learners. It was a tad bit confusing that the viewpoints of students changed a few times during the story, but that could lead to a good reading strategy discussion. It also could lead to a good discussion of a time when you struggled to feel like you belonged and how you coped with that feeling. Rafael Lopez’ illustrations were beautiful and added a lot of warmth and feeling to this story. This is a book that I would absolutely add to my classroom library and share with students at the beginning of a school year.

  9. This would be a great book to read at the beginning of a school year. Things are different each year for all students and especially for new students. Discussing some of these things before a read aloud would be a good idea. As the students become more acquainted with each other and their surroundings they feel much more comfortable with themselves. I love how the author takes us there and it would be a good place for a discussion. Have they felt that? Be brave and be ready for the future is a great message for everyone any age. The illustrations are so colorful and bright and do remind me of “Drum Dream girl”.

  10. I really appreciated the way in which Jacqueline Woodson explored the theme of uniqueness in this book. She showed how there are times when you’re completely comfortable with your understanding of self and identity, and that there too are situations where that comfort is rocked. I liked how the feelings of loneliness, alienation, and insecurity are normalized — everybody feels this way from time to time (but maybe not at the same time), and that’s okay. I also really liked how Woodson approached the ways in which a person returns to feeling comfortable with their own identity. In so many other books that explore uniqueness, this is done by remaining true to your dreams and aspirations, and doing something grand that nobody else has ever done before. Conversely, Woodson shows that this can be done through small acts like introducing yourself or making a connection through what someone else has said.

    This book naturally lends itself to being used at the beginning of a school year or other similar situations where groups of people are coming together for the first time. It’s a good springboard for setting the tone of creating a new community and the accompanying discussions — we’re all coming together here, we all are bringing a mix of our own feelings and backgrounds, and together we will learn about each other, support one another, and help each other grow. I would also use this book with children to emphasize building empathy and using small acts of kindness to help others feel welcome.

    Overall score: 5/5 stars

  11. This book conveys a good message with amazing illustrations. I loved the colors Rafael Lopez used and the shapes and patterns he used. I did get a bit confused when the narrator changed. I’m not sure how it could have been made more clear who was speaking. I was good to see children of a variety of cultures having the fears and loneliness at some time or another. It was good to have a positive ending with friends of all backgrounds.

  12. I could see using this book as a beginning of the year story to emphasize the importance of getting to know people before you judge them based on outwardly appearances. It was a bit confusing when the author changed characters, but if broken into sections I think the students could comprehend the story well. I give this book a 4/5

  13. I love everything Jacqueline Woodson creates so yes, I loved this book. I also thought the illustrations were gorgeous and it has an important message.
    I would use this book at storytime and I also think it would make a great classroom read aloud, especially during the first few days of a new school year. I can see how it could foster a great discussion among students of when they have felt like “the only one” or the ways they feel different from others.
    This book belongs in all libraries and classrooms. It shows the power of being yourself and finding similarities with others who seem so different from you just by sharing who you are with them.
    5/5 stars

  14. Both the author and illustrator of this book are phenomenal and just an introduction to them and their award winning books would make for a great Book Fiesta project! It would be a fabulous beginning of the year book to help students face their fears and learn that their own personal stories need to be shared and to celebrate how we are both different and alike. “Where every new friend has something a little like you–and something else so fabulously not quite like you at all.” The exuberant illustrations only add to the poetic words. The ruler on the door or desk reminds me of the question, “Do I measure up?” I love that the main characters often have books in their hands!Just as a sideline as a media specialist who teaches about copyright, the publisher has written more about it in the front of the book! “It fuels creativity, encourages diverse voices, promotes free speech and creates a vibrant culture.” Rate this book 5/5 stars.

  15. I understand the focus of the book that each of the children are different and feel they don’t belong. As I continued to read the story at one point I had to go back and reread and realize the author had switched the children and their fears.
    I could use this book as a read aloud to discuss how everyone has different talents and you never know what qualities you will find in new friends.
    Rating 3/5 stars

  16. This book has a powerful message which resonated strongly with me. It would be especially empowering and encouraging for children who feel different and isolated from others. The simple prose and beautiful illustrations encourage the reader to find connections in the little things rather than focusing on our differences. I love the message that different doesn’t have to be hateful, ugly or divisive.

    This book would be a perfect read for the first day of school, when classroom communities are being formed and connections among students are being made. I could also see it being used to facilitate discussion around the character trait empathy.

    I rate this book 5/5 stars!

  17. This was book was okay. It was a bit confusing at first and I had to go back and read. The way the author switches point of view of different kids, but then comes back to the original made it a little confusing. The whole point to the book was good, but I feel it would need to be discussed with students.
    If I used this in a classroom, I would read it outloud to the class and then discuss. I would open up and ask the kids if they would share what fears they have, things others may not know and what helps when you are new. I’m sure students would have many ideas.
    The illustrations in this book were very well done. Doing a “picture walk” with students before we read could be very interesting to see what ideas they have just based not the pictures.

      • Surprisingly I could follow this book. It did switch view points a few times. I was reading from a newcomers point of view though. I would definitely read this during the first few weeks of school as we have a high percentage of students from other countries coming into our school and community.