The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson ill Rafael López
Uncertainty. Anxiety. Fear.
We've all experienced a stomachache, teary eyes or wobbly legs symptom when venturing into the unknown. Jacqueline Woodson's latest picture book assures readers that these are natural and normal feelings. At some point we all are keenly aware that we don't "fit in." Appearing different, speaking an unfamiliar language, having a unique culture and capabilities can cause one to feel alienated from other members of the group.
Woodson doesn't stop with reciting a list of differences. She provides strategies for moving past negative thoughts and emotions. For example, she suggests that when someone feels excluded, the response may be to first relate a personal story. Then listen to the individual stories of others. Understanding commonalities and appreciating differences can help to build friendships.
Initially readers see several versions of a ruler: Angelina peeking around a ruler-measured door, a girl hugging her own lunch on a table marked in exact increments. A boy standing alone against a tree etched with calibrated lines. Each of these images suggest the fear and uncertainty caused by measuring oneself against others. Later the characters break free of the rigid, self-imposed requirements, causing ruled illustrations to disappear from the pages.
a little bit like you - and something else so fabulously not quite like you