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The Day You Begin

4.54  ·  Rating details ·  6,778 ratings  ·  1,353 reviews
National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson and two-time Pura Belpre Illustrator Award winner Rafael Lopez have teamed up to create a poignant, yet heartening book about finding courage to connect, even when you feel scared and alone.

There will be times when you walk into a room
and no one there is quite like you.

There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it's how
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published August 28th 2018 by Nancy Paulsen Books
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AJ Wolf I think this book is for anyone any age because it is very inspiring to me and i think anyone else would agree with me. :)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.54  · 
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 ·  6,778 ratings  ·  1,353 reviews

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Laurie Anderson
Gorgeous and sweet and affirming.

Every child starting school should have a copy of this book!
Dave Schaafsma
Nov 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: picturebooks
Each year my family reads all the Goodreads-award-nominated picture books. This is book #15 (of 20) of 2018, a book written by a well-known and lauded author, illustrated by Rafael Lopez. Lyra takes the lead in the defense of this book, and I take the prosecution.

Lyra (11): 4.5 stars. I love how the pictures show both sides of the world. I like how it shows that we're all different, but in the end we're all very similar.

Hank (12): 4.5 stars. Lyra is totally right!

Harry (13): 3 stars. I don't kn
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
Another critical darling that didn't impress me. I've loved Jacqueline Woodson's previous picture books, but this one I did not like much. The language is poetic. The illustrations are nice. But it's very message-y. And it felt long. But the main problem I have with it is the way the negative feelings of otherness and inferiority dominate the book. It's 90% negative (I'm embarrassed, I don't feel as good as everyone else), and 10% positive (diversity is wonderful, everyone is unique). So it's th ...more
The little girl in me wishes someone had read this very book to me when I was starting out on the scary adventures that loomed large in my life. The mother in me wishes I had this book in hand when I settled my bright-eyed crew down for their night read back in the very disconcerting days of the 80's. It would have helped, I just know it.

Today in our 'grandma reads' session, The Day You Begin was on the list, and it is so good, I had to work hard not to get misty and interrupt the magic. When I
Scottsdale Public Library
I loved this picture book, which was inspired by a poem in Woodson's award winning memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming. She takes a theme of feeling alienated because of one's differences, and slowly evolves the theme toward embracing how those differences make you unique.
Highly recommend this, as it can open the door for great discussions. -Sara Z.

An exceptional look at how it feels to be different, yet the same in some ways. This book is a wonderful way to introduce kids to how varied cultures can m
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: great-kids-books
Wonderful, wonderful story, and the illustrations are simply breathtaking. My 7 yr. old enjoyed this so much, and we had a great discussion about the meaning behind the storyline as we read it together. We'll definitely read this many times. Great bedtime and classroom read!! ...more
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Wow. Powerful and perfect. A beautifully illustrated and told story of encouragement and empowerment for kids who feel different from others, one that urges them to tell their stories and lift their voices.
I'm always kicking myself for not discovering a wonderful author sooner as if the world isn't full of amazing authors I will never read or even hear about. Better I think to count my blessings when I'm lucky enough to find someone so gifted and so brave and so brightly burning who wants to share their work with me.

The story here is one that every single child (or adult for that matter) can relate to. That moment when you walk into the room or the school or the playground or the office and nothi
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cybils, picture-book
It's not easy to impress me.

I was an elementary school librarian for years and years. I've been reading books nominated for the Cybils Awards for eleven of those years.

I've read a lot of good books.

The Day You Begin impressed me.

It's the simple story, told in unrhymed verse, of children who feel like they don't belong and who find connection in the little things.

I have loved Jacqueline Woodson for so many reasons, for her poetic words, for her truth, for her bravery. And now, with this book, I
Stephanie Anze
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, favorites
"....where every new friend has something a little like you- and something else so fabulously not quite like you at all."

In 'The Day You Begin' Jaqueline Woodson delivers a timely, impactful, universal and beautiful message. When current times are so overwhelmingly divisive and full of hate, we need to be reminded that we are better together than apart. The illustrations perfectly flow with the tone and theme of the book: inclusion and mutual respect. The prose is lyrical and well executed (I ha
Maria Caplin
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Finally had a chance to read this masterpiece several times this morning 💕#heartprint
Michele Knott
This is going to be one of the most important books to have in your library, regardless of the ages you teach.
CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨
Every child of colour - and every reader of colour, tbh - needs to read this.

Incredibly affirming and loving, The Day You Begin celebrates how our differences - and the things that we share - can bring us together.
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a very sweet children’s book which would be great for kids who feel different from their peers in some way. It discusses what it can be like to feel like you’re different and like you’re an outsider, and how friendships can form through finding commonalities.
Annie ⚜️
Apr 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. The illustrations were beautifully magical so I rounded up. I wanted to like this more than I did. It spent an inordinate amount of time on the parts where the children feel different and alone and it made me a little sad for the children that are different. When we finally come to the part where we learn how to deal and grow from it it felt too far in the hole to pull it back up.
Richie Partington
Richie’s Picks: THE DAY YOU BEGIN by Jacqueline Woodson and Rafael López, ill., Nancy Paulsen Books, August 2018, 32p., ISBN: 978-0-399-24653-1

“Be yourself.
Free yourself.”
-- Graham Nash (1971)

“There will be times when the words don’t come.
Your own voice, once huge, now smaller
when the teacher asks What did you do last summer?

We went to France, Chayla says.

These shells came from a beach in Maine.
A boy named Jonathan holds out a jar
filled with tiny shells so fragile,
they look like they’ll turn to
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
With careful and evocative words, Woodson addresses a child's sense of being excluded, for any number of reasons, race, hair style, lunch ingredients, athletic ability, family life-style. More than half the book gives examples of not being like anyone else and I can picture young readers/listeners nodding their heads, it has happened to almost all of us. But then, there are words of encouragement, "your own brave self", "steady as steel" and when you do find your voice, you are reminded that "th ...more
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I had a chance to read this book at NErDCampMI and I am so happy I did! What an important book to have in my library. A look at how we feel when we don’t fit in, but also how important it is to be who we are, too. I can’t wait to share this book with teachers and students.
Rebecca Caufman
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book celebrates differences and the importance of sharing YOUR personal story in order to let others in to your world and appreciate who YOU are.
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: diversity
There will be times when you walk into a room and no one is quite like you. Maybe it will be your skin, your clothes, or the curl of your hair.

This book was amazing. I did not have my student's write about it. We discussed when we felt different and it was so quiet but then slowly, so slowly, they started to share stories and it was magical. I loved this book so much and I loved the time we shared after read aloud and I need more books like this. It was so good. So very good. A great way to tal
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Quite possibly my favorite picture book I’ve read - and there have been some great ones so far! I think so much of what this sweet story talks about can also relate into adulthood, and the importance of remembering to be open to human connections. So moving, and gorgeous artwork 🥰 I’m smitten!
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
With lyrical text and vibrant art, The Day You Begin is a celebration of connection with others once you muster up the courage to set things in motion. This picture book captures perfectly the sense of not belonging we've all felt at one point or another in our lives (at school or at an unfamiliar environment) and how we then found ourselves being part of something special (with family, friends, or an entire community.) It's a lesson we need to constantly re-learn. ...more
Two words: Jacqueline Woodson.
Getting along, being kind, inclusion. Need I say more?
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
5+ stars. Everyone--child and adult--needs to read this. It will resonate with at least some small part of you. Wonderful book; one I want to hug and keep close to my heart.
Colby Sharp
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, picture-book
One of the best picture books of 2018. Read this aloud to my fifth graders to kick off the school year.

Elizabeth A
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-ya, 2018, art
First line: There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you.

Is there anyone who has not felt that exact way at some point in their lives?

This picture book just makes me happy. I love the message of being brave and taking the first steps into a place where no one knows you, or a place where you stick out because you are different in some way - maybe the color of your skin, or the curls in your hair, or the food your Mom packed for your lunch.

The text is lovely an
Kaylin Arrington
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I could read this book 100 times and never get sick of it and never stop crying. I loved it, I loved every page, every picture, every line, it was all so sweet and charming and there needs to be more books like it. This sweet story about accepting yourself and being strong even though you feel like there's no one quite like you makes you realize that that's the reason that you are awesome, strong and special in your own way. Children and most certainly adults could get a lot out of this book. ...more
Kate Foran
Sep 26, 2018 rated it liked it
A very “messagey” book. It’s poetic, the pictures are lovely too, but it feels like those heavy handed messagey kids books that adults love and kids are “meh” about.

It doesn’t have a plot exactly—just many vignettes of different children being ostracized for their differences — and later resolutions when the kids find ways to celebrate differences and commonalities.
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pbf-general
I liked this book and the illustrations were lovely, rendered in acrylic paint, pen, ink, pencil and watercolors. I am not sure, however, that I liked the author switching from child to child, instead of just following one child.
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Just like every other Jacqueline Woodson book - picture book, middle grade, teen, adult - this one went straight to the characters' hearts, and mine. ...more
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2019 Roe Reading ...: The Day You Begin 1 1 May 20, 2021 07:15AM  
2019 Roe Reading ...: The Day You Begin 1 2 May 17, 2021 11:58AM  
Ferial Pearson Mu...: Stuedemann-The Day You Begin-Feeling "Other"-Ages 5-12 1 4 Jun 21, 2019 04:11PM  
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