Cover image for The day you begin / Jacqueline Woodson ; illustrated by Rafael López.
The day you begin / Jacqueline Woodson ; illustrated by Rafael López.

Publication Information:
New York, NY : Nancy Paulsen Books, [2018]
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 28 cm
Other students laugh when Rigoberto, an immigrant from Venezuela, introduces himself but later, he meets Angelina and discovers that he is not the only one who feels like an outsider.
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WOO Book Easy Collection

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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, 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 Lopez'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 stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.

Author Notes

Jacqueline Woodson was born in Columbus, Ohio on February 12, 1963. She received a B.A. in English from Adelphi University in 1985. Before becoming a full-time writer, she worked as a drama therapist for runaways and homeless children in New York City. Her books include The House You Pass on the Way, I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This, Lena, and The Day You Begin. She won the Coretta Scott King Award in 2001 for Miracle's Boys. After Tupac and D Foster, Feathers, and Show Way won Newbery Honors. Brown Girl Dreaming won the E. B. White Read-Aloud Award in 2015. Her other awards include the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the 2018 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. She was also selected as the Young People's Poet Laureate in 2015 by the Poetry Foundation.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Woodson (Brown Girl Dreaming) imagines being "an only" in the classroom-what it's like to be the only one with an accent ("No one understands the way words curl from your mouth"), the only one who stayed home during summer vacation ("What good is this/ when other students were flying/ and sailing"), the only one whose lunch box is filled with food "too strange or too unfamiliar for others to love as you do." Without prescribing sympathy, Woodson's poetic lines give power to each child's experience. She describes the moment when the girl who didn't go on vacation speaks her truth, her "voice stronger than it was a minute ago." She has cared for her sister all summer, she tells her classmates, reading and telling stories: "Even though we were right on our block it was like/ we got to go EVERYWHERE." And "all at once" in the seconds after sharing one's story, something shifts, common ground is revealed, and "the world opens itself up a little wider/ to make some space for you." López (Drum Dream Girl) paints the book's array of children as students in the same classroom; patterns and colors on the children's clothing and the growing things around them fill the spreads with life. Woodson's gentle, lilting story and López's artistry create a stirring portrait of the courage it takes to be oneself: "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." Ages 5-8. Author's agent: Kathleen Nishimoto, William Morris Endeavor. Illustrator's agent: Stefanie Von Borstel, Full Circle. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

What will it take for a child who feels different to share her stories? Woodsons picture book, told in second-person and (mostly) future tense, tells readers that sometimes they will feel like outcasts: There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you. The classroom of a young African American girl with a big, curly afro is such a place. The girls new classmate Rigoberto, recently moved from Venezuela, looks crestfallen when the class laughs at his name, but he recovers when his teacher makes his name and homeland sound like flowers blooming the first bright notes of a song. Other students feel left out when friends make fun of their lunch foods as strange and unfamiliar, or when no one chooses them for playground games. The story keeps returning to the original African American protagonist, who has trouble finding her voice when others recount their summer vacations full of domestic and international travel; she had to babysit her sister all summer. She finally realizes that the books she has read and shared with her sister have afforded her boundless travel. Like Woodsons memoir for older readers Brown Girl Dreaming (rev. 9/14), this story places great value on literacy, reading, and imagination. The matte-finished pages feature illustrations in vivid, brilliant colors, with repeated appearances of flying birds and lush, twining vines and flowers. michelle h. martin (c) Copyright 2018. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

New York Review of Books Review

THE TANGLED TREE: A Radical New History of Life, by David Quammen. (Simon & Schuster, $30.) The tree of life as we imagine it, with new species branching out over time, is much more complicated than Charles Darwin dreamed. Quammen's book describes the years of research to discover "horizontal gene transfer," which allows traits to jump from branch to branch. WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING, by Delia Owens. (Putnam, $26.) Owens made her name as a wildlife scientist. In her first novel, she sets a tale of crime and isolation in the North Carolina marshlands. BORROWED TIME: Two Centuries of Booms, Busts, and Bailouts at Citi, by James Freeman and Vern McKinley. (Harper Business, $35.) The authors make the point that throughout its 206-year history, Citigroup and its predecessors have repeatedly used political connections to help the bank survive when it otherwise might have failed. AMERICAN AUDACITY: In Defense of Literary Daring, by William Giraldi. (Liveright, $30.) In this full-throated book of essays - the rare example of a collection that coheres into a manifesto - Giraldi argues passionately for literary standards, comparing modern examples unfavorably with great works of the past. INTO THE HANDS OF THE SOLDIERS: Freedom and Chaos in Egypt and the Middle East, by David D. Kirkpatrick. (Viking, $28.) The former Times Cairo bureau chief offers an eyewitness account of the upheavals of 2011-13 that began with hopes for democracy, moved through counterrevolution and ended in a renewal of military dictatorship. RISING: Dispatches From the New American Shore, by Elizabeth Rush. (Milkweed, $26.) Do we have language sufficient to capture our changing landscapes and shifting coastlines? In meditative essays, Rush looks at how we are confronting climate change and the psychic and literary toll it is taking. MY YEAR OF DIRT AND WATER: Journal of a Zen Monk's Wife in Japan, by Tracy Franz. (Stone Bridge, paper, $16.95.) An American expat considers the paradoxical experience of being married to a Buddhist monk, also American, who has been cloistered for his training in a Japanese temple. THE DAY YOU BEGIN, by Jacqueline Woodson. Illustrated by Rafael López. (Nancy Paulsen/Penguin, $18.99; ages 4 to 8.) A lovely, poetic book that soothes back-to-school concerns about not fitting in by encouraging children to tell their own stories. MR. WOLF'S CLASS, written and illustrated by Aron Nels Steinke. (Graphix/Scholastic, $9.99; ages 6 to 10.) This upbeat graphic novel - the start of a promising series - chronicles the funny problems of a fourth-grade class and its harried teacher, a wolf. The full reviews of these and other recent books are on the web: