Our Favorite Day of the Year written by A.E. Ali and illustrated by Rahele Jomepour Bell
by Susan Kennedy
A great way to make new friends is by sharing things we like. For me, meeting new students is my favorite thing to do! That’s why the first day of school is my favorite day of the year.
While most of us will have a first day of school that will not look like any first day we’ve had before, it will be my favorite day of the year as always, the day we begin to form community and friendships. The day the students begin to know us and we begin to know them. Whether that day is at school or remote, whether they are all there or just some of them, that first day is the day we begin to form the foundation of this new school year.
To be honest, even the cover of this book makes me grieve a little knowing that we won’t be holding hands sitting close on our gathering rug. It will take the best of us to create intimacy, compassion, and friendship. We will have to make a virtual ‘gathering rug’ to draw in everyone. What else will we do to draw the students close, to value where they’ve come from, and where they are going to? Books are always a good beginning.
This book is a great first step. Whether you will be welcoming kindergarten students or much older ones, A.E. Ali and Rahele Jomepour Bell’s charming book will give you a place to start in your learning community. “What is your favorite day of the year?” will resonate with all, teachers and students alike. Whether like Musa in this book, you pick the summer holiday of Eid, or the early fall holiday of Rosh Hashanah, Thanksgiving, or Chocolate Chip Cookie day, every family has special days they celebrate.
Great, as this text displays, for show-and-tell both live and virtually, or as a writing assignment for those in the upper grades to share in a class book or calendar, this book and the idea behind it will make many days a celebration. We should find many ways and times to celebrate in this time when we are quick to find ways to mourn.
This books multicultural depiction of the class composition, the holidays, and the teacher are a just-right balance containing both authentic voice and a spot-on depiction of school. I love the way the students are initially skeptical to Ms. Gupta’s challenge as I know students will be in real life. These authors understood kids and classrooms and this book will ring true to you and your class.
My Favorite Day of the Year will be on my site as a read aloud/writing prompt as we go back to the fall. Can’t wait to hear some favorite days!