Title: The Day You Begin
Author: Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrator: Rafael López
Published: August 28, 2018
Theme: Differences and Bravery
Character Origin: Human
Book Type: Picture Book | Pages: 32
Ages: 5-8 | Book Level: 4.0 | Lexile Measure: AD980L
Synopsis: There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it’s how you look or 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 López’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 our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.
This story explores how our differences can make us feel uncomfortable and lonely. However, we should never be ashamed of them. Embrace your differences and share them. If we were all the same, the world would be very boring. Our diversity in color, culture, and appearance are some of the things that make the world so beautiful.
Lopez’s illustrations were warm and vibrant. He skillfully captured the broad diversity of the characters. The yellow hues in the background of the pages make the illustration’s beautiful artistry more salient. I commend Woodson for celebrating our differences, validating that it’s okay to have them, and encouraging kids to share theirs. This book should be a read in the classroom and used as a tool to explain the things that make us different.