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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The Day You Begin, written by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by Rafael Lopez. Nancy Paulsen Books, Penguin Random House. 2018. $24.99 ages 5 and up

"There will be times when the
climbing bars are too high,
the run is too fast and far,
the game isn't one you can ever
really play.

I don't want him on our team. 
You can watch. 
Maybe you can have a turn later. 

There will be times ... "

What a wondrous collaboration between two amazing artists!

Those who work and live with children who face the worries about being appreciated and accepted in a new school setting will know that those concerns can cause feelings of inadequacy and angst about being different. They joy in our differences can be lost on them. So many moments that happen at school seem to point out how they are not like the children who share their classrooms, lunchrooms and playgrounds.   

It might be the food brought for lunch, family traditions and celebrations, skin color, hair, clothing. So many things make us who we are. Finding the voice and courage to tell your own story can be a daunting task; it is well worth the bravery and confidence it takes.

"There will be times when you walk into a room
and no one there is quite like you until the day you begin

to share your stories. My name is Angelina and 
I spent my whole summer with my little sister, 
you tell the class, your voice
stronger than it was a minute ago,
reading books and telling stories and 
even though we were right on our block it was like 
we got to go EVERYWHERE."

Impressive and uplifting prose, with brightly colored, expressive artwork done with 'acrylic paint on wood, pen and ink, pencil, and watercolors, and put together digitally in Photoshop', will help readers see themselves on these extraordinary pages. It is a powerful reminder to children to be themselves, and to take pride in those very special things that make them exactly who they are. 

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