A wise and beautiful book, The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson, is one that all teachers are going to want on their classroom shelves.
The children in this book feel like outsiders. They feel different because of the way they look, how they talk, or what they eat. Our classrooms are also filled with students who have at one time or another felt different. Many students can relate to the struggle to fit in with their peers.
This book can help students understand that they are not alone in this struggle. We are all different in many ways. There are also ways that we are the same and the sameness can bring us together. This is a book that empowers readers to embrace their uniqueness and share the stories of who they are. Our stories connect us.
The Day You Begin is a book that needs to be shared in classrooms. The discussions that take place around this book will foster community, empathy, understanding. Like other books that Jacqueline Woodson has written, this one ends with hope. The hope is that our students have the confidence to be themselves and the compassion to see past differences to the heart of who others truly are.
With poetic text and gorgeous illustrations, this book conveys an important message with warmth and gentleness. In classrooms of any age, this will be a powerful book to read aloud.
Thanks to the publisher, Penguin Young Readers, for a review copy of the book.