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The Day You Begin, Jacqueline Woodson


As teachers, we are always looking for the very best books to help our students grow both as learners and as kind people in the world. The Day You Begin written by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by Rafael Lopez is one of those books. Jacqueline Woodson has beautifully expressed what many of us want to say to our students in a way they can believe and understand. Your voice is important to our community, please share your story!

Woodson writes a story we can all connect with. We have all experienced that feeling of not belonging or not fitting in for a variety of reasons. Woodson helps her readers understand that if we just begin to tell our story we can find a way to connect with others. This is a wonderful read-aloud to start the school year when students are all feeling a bit vulnerable, a bit different. The vibrant illustrations created by Rafael Lopez help make this a book students will easily be drawn to.

Jacqueline Woodson’s poetic language and writing style make this a story to read and read again. It is perfect for helping our students grow as writers. 

And as you stand in front of that room, you can only remember

how the heat waved

as it lifted off the curb,

and your days spent at home

caring for your little sister,

who made you laugh out loud and hugged you hard

at naptime. You can only remember the books you kept on reading

long after she had fallen

to sleep.



Teacher thoughts:

What a beautiful, important message we can share with our students! If you are feeling left out and are afraid to tell your story because it seems yours is so different from everyone else’s, just be brave and speak up. Your story is important, you matter! 

“And all that stands beside you is

your own brave self —
steady as steel and ready

even though you don’t yet know

what you’re ready for.


Kids said:

“This book is inspiring. It tells you that there is a place for you so tell your story!”

-2nd grader

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