Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “What You Know First (Trophy Picture Books)” as Want to Read:
What You Know First (Trophy Picture Books)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

What You Know First (Trophy Picture Books)

4.1  ·  Rating details ·  309 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
The stunning picture book collaboration between Newbery Medal–winning author Patricia MacLachlan and acclaimed illustrator Barry Moser.

A young girl comes to terms with the fact that she and her family are leaving the prairie. As she talks herself into acceptance, her Mama helps her let go, commenting that the baby will need someone to tell him where he came from. So the gi
Paperback, 32 pages
Published February 14th 1998 by HarperCollins (first published March 31st 1995)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about What You Know First, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about What You Know First

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Patricia MacLachlan and Barry Moser created a book that hits straight into the center of your heart. The engravings and words fit like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. The story is going to stay with me always.
Debra Sabah Press
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lyrical. Gorgeous woodcuts. Beautifully told story from the point of view of a child forced to leave her beloved home for a new place.
Rachel Smith
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Patricia MacLachlan uses her signature crisp, simple, and poetic prose to tell a similarly simple and poetic story.
Cindy Benabderrahman
Apr 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: children and adults
A young girl's family is moving away from the only home she has ever known in the prairie. She thinks that her younger sibling - still an infant - won't be affected because he "doesn't know about the slough / where the pipits feed. / Where the geese sky-talk in the spring." In fact, he "hasn't even seen winter." She thinks about living with the new people who have bought their family's farm, or living in a tree, or even moving in with her Uncle Bly and eating pie for breakfast. She imagines hers ...more
Beverly Kennett
May 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
The story is about a family that is selling their farm to move closer to the ocean. It has the feel of the Great Depression, but doesn't specifically identify the timeframe. the young boy does not want to move and in a poetic form, tells the story of how he will choose to stay while his parents leave with his young sibling. He describes what his life will be like, until his parents explain that he can take the memories with him and how important it will be for him to share those memories with hi ...more
Katelynn Callahan
A girl's family is moving away from their farm and she is worried that her baby brother will not remember the home that she has grown up in and has meant so much to her. Her parents let her know that he will always remember where he came from and what he first knew. They also reassure her that she can help her brother by telling him stories of the farm and things that used to do together there. The black and white illustrations give a calming effect and portray the farm as a truly peaceful place ...more
Joleene Libby
Jun 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A little girl reflects on all of the things she loves most about her home as she prepares to leave her home with her family. Everyone is sad about having to leave the home they have sold and the little girl can't understand why they are leaving. She things of different ways that she can stay in the place that she loves most.

Favorite Line:
“What you know first stays with you, my Papa says. But just in case I forget I will take a twig of the cottonwood tree.”

Lesson Ideas: Saying goodbye, Inferring
Aug 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
This book fell into my hands just after we had lost our family farm, first having to sell off the animals, and then the land and then the house, our home. My youngest was two, and I could not read this book without tears in my eyes. I imagine it is just as beautiful to anyone who doesn't so closely relate to it but I can't tell. All I know is that I am very glad to have it even now that we have a new home and are (hopefully) growing a new farm. The then 2yo is now nine, and delights to read his ...more
This is a beautiful story about leaving the place you were born. The child does not want to leave the prairie but finds that you will always remember because what you know first always stays with you. I will always be a Liberty girl! The pictures are amazing prints. The author and illustrator are neighbors, and they worked together to choose family photographs to make the engravings for the prints. I thought that this was a really cool idea.
Jan 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I love all of Patricia MacLachlan's books but this picture book is especially good at tugging at the heartstrings. The author touches on our deep, unbreakable connection with the land and the places we especially love because they are tied to our childhood, the first innocent years of life. Bary Moser's artwork is superb as well and compliments the story perfectly. This book evokes memories of personal connections with the places, animals and things we know first in life.
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a great lyrical text, comparable to The Goodbye Walk by Joanne Ryder or Alexander, Who's Not (Do You Hear Me? I Mean It!) Going to Move by Judith Viorst. It really clearly illustrates the feelings that moving brings on, and though it is set in the old midwest, it would be identifiable for readers with little or no understanding of that time in American history. What a combination Barry Moser and Patricia MacLachlan make. This book is perfect through and through.
May 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
A story about a little girl moving away from the home where she was born. The text is almost poetic and the wood carving illustrations are great. I almost teared up once (but I am an emotional mama). The first place you know stays with you. I can relate to this feeling from my childhood and moving at the age of 9 or 10.
Oct 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This really is a story that effects me differently each time I read it. Also, the class I read it to effects the reaction I have to it because they have such different reactions personally. It really is heartwarming and it makes you stop and think about what you would take with you if you moved, in terms of memories. A must have for everyone, especially those with children.
Rachel Dalton
This story is written from the point of view of a child who doesn't want to move away from the family home in the plains. The imagery and descriptive words in the writing allow students to visualize and feel the book as if they are in it. For this reason, it is a great book to use when working on visualization strategies.
Sep 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book brings tears to my eyes every time I read it! It tells the story of a young girl whose family is leaving the home she has come to love and teaches the lesson that what you know first stays with you; some memories are indelible.
The stark illustrations only add to the appeal of this book.
May 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A gift from Brooke. This is such a touching book. It truly reflects how I feel about my hometown and my childhood. If you have a special place you love you would connect with this simple, but beautiful story. The illustrations are amazing. This is a book that I will pass on to my own children.
Aug 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
I can see where this would lead to great discussion at the end and beginning of a school year when students are transitioning to something new, but this may better suited for fifth grade and middle school in order to have a more meaningful talk.
I really liked the book. The simple text really does relay the feelings of sadness the narrator feels about moving away from the place she has always known as home. I loved the woodcut illustrations. I'm really looking forward to sharing this book with my fifth grade students tomorrow.
Kelly Frio
Feb 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is written as a poem about a depression era girl whose family loses their farm and has to move. It has beautifully engraved illustrations that really add to the tone and content.It would make a great creative writing prompt.
Feb 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Another fabulous children's book for mothers and soon-to-be mothers. Some of the pictures are a little spooky, but there's a beauty to them, too, that complements the themes of loss and the importance of one's past wonderfully.
The Reading Countess
Jul 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
It's hard to go wrong with Patricia MacLachlan. I'm not sure if I enjoyed the spare, melancholy tone of her words or the photographs (from both the author's and the illustrator's families) more. Writers write what they know. Powerful prose for this most important rule.
Jamie Tedesco
Feb 04, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-book
This story was told with good imagination and it is great to give the reader (or listener) many visuals because of the details of the items in the story. Good book to use for children to get great pictures in their heads.
Tammy Ward
Jul 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Good middle grade picture book wth several possibilites. It might make a good read aloud for the beginning of the year to discuss what each brings to our class community or even more so as an end of the year read aloud to discuss what students are taking from the class.
Oct 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children
This book means so much to me. It is one of my all-time favorite Patricia MacLachlan books. I cannot read it without crying, and that is a good thing!! It touches my heart.
Feb 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Lavishly illustrated and touching picture book of an almost poetic quality.
Taylor Darst
Feb 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: visualization
Such a great book for visualization. A book to read to students without showing them the illustrations and see what they picture.
Michele Knott
Aug 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
"what you know first stays with you..."
I love that line and what it makes you think about. First impressions. First learning. First thoughts.
Great book to use at the beginning of the year.
Sandy D.
A beautiful, poetic look at the importance of where we grow up and the beauty of a farm on the Great Plains. The engraved illustrations complement MacLachlan's lyrical prose perfectly.
A lovely book about moving and change and keeping with you always what you know first.
Judy Desetti
Nov 25, 2013 rated it liked it
A lovely book but seemed more of a book adults would love. Not sure if kids would get as much from it.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Night in the Country
  • The Other Way to Listen
  • Fireflies
  • Someday
  • To Market, to Market
  • Those Shoes
  • Barefoot: Escape On The Underground Railroad
  • Something Beautiful
  • That's Good! That's Bad!
  • Author: A True Story
  • Falling Down the Page: A Book of List Poems
  • Flossie and the Fox
  • The Boy Who Loved Words
  • More Than Anything Else
  • A Boy Called Slow
  • A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams
  • Courage
  • A Fine, Fine School
Patricia MacLachlan was born on the prairie, and to this day carries a small bag of prairie dirt with her wherever she goes to remind her of what she knew first. She is the author of many well-loved novels and picture books, including Sarah, Plain and Tall, winner of the Newbery Medal; its sequels, Skylark and Caleb's Story; and Three Names, illustrated by Mike Wimmer. She lives in western Massach ...more
More about Patricia MacLachlan...