The Day You Begin Encourages Kids to Embrace Their Authentic Selves

Venus Brady
Angelina feels like she is different from her classmates. The day that she shares those differences is the day that she begins to fit in.

Written by Jacquelin Woodson
Illustrated by Rafael Lopez

Published by Nancy Paulsen Books on August 28th, 2018

Age range: 5 - 8 years old

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Most of us are familiar with walking into a room and feeling like you don’t belong. Be it at a new job or school, we can all remember that quick scan around the room for your place. In The Day You Begin, Jacquelin Woodson sweetly captures that feeling for a little person.  

We meet brown skinned, curly hair Angelina as she goes back to class, armed with a book to show off what she did that summer. After hearing the adventures of her classmates, she worries that her journeys through books are not enough. When Angelina summons her courage to boldly share her summer time fun, she’s quickly embraced by her diverse classmates who are also facing their own fears of inadequacies.

The Day You Begin is brightly illustrated by Rafael Lopez and the spreads in this book could serve as posters. As the story takes place at school, the images of the classroom door, which happens to be a ruler; along with the colorful carpet, lush natural landscapes, and the playground monkey bars transport you right back to the first day of school.

Venus Brady

Venus will say that writing is her first love but that's tied with reading. When not wrangling her toddler, Venus works in marketing communications in healthcare. When not on the clock, she uses her professional experience in various volunteer capacities. If she could brunch with one author, it would be Nikki Giovanni. If she was stranded on an island with just one book and a tv show, it would be Manning Marable's Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, and the Office. Venus lives on Chicago's far south side with her son, Mars, and her dog, Phife.

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