Today a box of books arrived at my school. I love books – and the book whisperer who sent them. They all looked amazing but the one that I read first was, The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson, Illustrated by Rafael López.
As I read the inside of the jacket, this stood out to me:
And they remind us that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our story, others will be happy to meet us halfway.The Day You Begin – Jacqueline Woodson and Rafael López
This is a great “new beginnings” book for those people starting a new semester or getting ready to start a new school year. And it’s also a reminder that while calendars or school years can mark the passage of time, there is nothing like the present moment to make the decision to begin something new or choose to see things in a new light.
This is the opening page of the book. It is framed to evoke a feeling of apprehension. My hope would be that kids read this as a positive statement of just how special and unique they are – and that everyone is. And because no one is quite like you, take the time to listen and learn from each other.
A lot of the book is framed in this way: emphasising the “different-ness” of one’s lunch, language, vacations, families. It ends with an affirming message of celebrating the differences in us all. I would just hope that this is the message that rings through.
I love Jacqueline Woodson’s books. Each Kindness and The Other Side are two favorites. I question sometimes whether these books are for kids or adults. I look at the way my daughter settles in with her “new best friend” be they boy or girl, older or younger, English speaking or not, and I wonder if she needs to listen to a book that points out our differences. Then I read the comments on blog posts and news sites and I wonder if it is not the adults who need reminding of the simple truth that “every new friend has something a little like you–and something else so fabulously not quite like you at all.”
I would read this book to humans of all ages. It’s a message we can’t hear too often.