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The King of Kindergarten

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  1,064 ratings  ·  208 reviews
A confident little boy takes pride in his first day of kindergarten.

The morning sun blares through your window like a million brass trumpets.It sits and shines behind your head--like a crown. Mommy says that today, you are going to be the King of Kindergarten!

Starting kindergarten is a big milestone--and the hero of this story is ready to make his mark! He's dressed himsel
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published July 2nd 2019 by Nancy Paulsen Books
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Average rating 4.20  · 
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 ·  1,064 ratings  ·  208 reviews

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Derrick Barnes’ work brought a smile to my face from the very first page. Supported by the wonderful illustrations of Vanessa Brantley-Newton, I hold that The King of Kindergarten is a fun read, especially during those days of leading up to the first day of school or the first day itself. Who could not enjoy a book with lines like “...garments from the far-off villages of Osh and Kosh. B’gosh!” (Tell the truth: Do kids these days even know about Osh Kosh B’gosh? Or am I showing my age? 😄)

I t
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Say hello to my new favorite first day of school book. This is such a gentle introduction to what to expect in a Kindergarten classroom and it is such a sweet story about making friends and putting positive energy into the world knowing it will come back to you. Ah. I love it so much, I need to go lie down to recover. And, of course, the artwork is stunning and as charming as the story.
La Coccinelle
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
I thought I would enjoy this one more than I actually did. Don't get me wrong; it's a cute book. But the whole "royal" gimmick seems kind of unnecessary (and aimed more at adults than kids), and with a child who has a different understanding of what being king means, the premise could be potentially problematic.

The narration is a bit odd, to begin with. It almost sounds like it's one of the parents talking to the child, but both parents are referred to in the third person, so it's obviously some
Patience K Phillips
Dec 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Penguin kids on Instagram read this. Who says we're ever too old to be read to is clueless of its joy at any age. Especially for an aspiring children’s series writer 😊

What I like most about Derrick Barnes and Vanessa Brantley-Newton’s The King of Kindergarten besides being read to (giggles) are a few things. The well thought out illustrations. The story invites learning new words with imagination, kindness, confidence, and comfort in the process of the FFT’s or as Brene’ Brown names this the Fn
May 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
Very few picture books earned a Newbery in the first hundred years of the award, but Derrick Barnes defied the odds in 2018, taking home a Newbery Honor for Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut. The book's playful way with words must have impressed the ALA committee, and two years later Derrick Barnes rolled out another picture book with a similar vibe, The King of Kindergarten. When you strap on your backpack and stroll into kindergarten for the first time, it marks the end of spending every day at h ...more
I read Derrick Barnes' award-winning picture book, Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut and absolutely loved it so I wasn't surprised to enjoy another picture book written by him. What I love about Derrick Barnes is that he places young black male characters at the forefront of his work. Everyone needs to see themselves in books and Derrick Barnes has a way of using his books to build confidence in his readers. This book focuses particularly on a young boys first day in kindegarten and how he should v ...more
Jillian Heise
I 💚 this book! The lyrical coolness of Derrick Barnes's (Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut) words combined with the exuberant joyfulness of Vanessa Brantley-Newton's illustrations makes for a perfect start of the school year read aloud. ...more
Christina Carter
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The King of Kindergarten makes my heart melt to see this brilliant Black boy shining with his smile so bright, donning his crown just right. He’s a big boy now, doing big boy things-all by himself! Just the way his mom and dad had prepared him to. When the first day of kindergarten arrives, he is so ready. He washes his face, gets dressed on his own and boards the bus with confidence. He meets his new teacher, says his name with pride, makes new friends and learns new things that he can’t wait t ...more
Jul 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Readers Looking for New Picture-Books About Going to School/Kindergarten for the First Time
A young boy, dubbed the "King of Kindergarten" by his loving mother, heads to school for his very first day in this sweet picture-book from author Derrick D. Barnes and illustrator Vanessa Brantley-Newton. Once there he has a wonderful time, getting to know his new teacher and making friends with his fellow pupils. By the end of the day he is ready to return home, full of exciting news to share with his parents...

Having enjoyed Barnes' Newbery Honor-winning picture-book, Crown: An Ode to the
Brenda Kahn
Exuberantly illustrated story of a little boy who's excited to go to kindergarten. Absolutely delightful. ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Oct 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's the first day of kindergarten, and this little fellow is off to rule the school as King of Kindergarten. It's a day of happy surprises, and the new king reigns with benevolence and generosity.

An imaginative introduction to the first day of school.
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Never was there a more joyful book about starting kindergarten!
Feb 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book is much too cute for my own good. How am I supposed to sleep without drooling with this huge grin on my face?! Such a perfect book to get amped up for a first day of Kindergarten!!
Maria Marshall
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-picture
This is an uplifting, exuberant book about making friends, playing together, sharing, and loving school. In a great example of the collaboration between the author and the illustrator, Vanessa translates Derrick's "royal" text into a child's joyful "modern" experience of the first day of school.
It is perfect for summer reading before starting school or with children nervous about making new friends. It is also a great book for expanding a child's vocabulary. I was thrilled to see Derrick infuse
Mar 25, 2019 rated it liked it
A picture book that works for those jitters that kids might have entering school or a new grade, this one features a boy going in to his first day of kindergarten and figuring out a way to capture the excitement of meeting new people, having fun, enjoying the experience, and having the support of family. He'll do fine! He's got a superb teacher who lets them have fun and still take a nap, he dares to ask a girl to play during recess and shares his pudding with another friend, and in the end, he' ...more
Cheryl Meibos
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
I liked the upbeat illustrations, the teacher seemed kind and fun, and there will be friends and
fun things to do. I didn't like the assumption that the reader will do all of the things that the main
character does (wear Oshkosh? take the bus? take a nap?) Also, the "King" theme--does that mean you're the boss of everyone too? Perhaps I've talked to too many teachers who describe a student as "he thinks he's the king"--everything revolves around them syndrome. I'm still looking for more
Bonnie Grover
May 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
My new favorite book for the first day of school, particularly primary grades. I love the pictures and the magnificent comparisons to the royal life of school. I think the authors did a great job explaining the first days of school. They found ways to explain away the anxiety every student experiences. A great book for courage, confidence, character-centeredness, and friendship. This book is going to be a great addition to any teacher’s shelves.
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A young boy starts his first day of kindergarten like royalty-- confident, friendly, and ready to learn. There are no nerves here! Colorful, gorgeous illustrations on every page, and filled with nothing but kindness and excitement, with beautiful textured backgrounds that add so much to the joyful mood. Wonderfully inspiring book to help you feel like kindergarten royalty!
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The perfect book to read to anyone about to start kindergarten. Fun and empowering!
Ben Truong
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The King of Kindergarten is a children's picture book written by Derrick Barnes and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton. It stars a little boy on his first day of kindergarten, who puts the king in kindergarten.

Barnes' text is rather simplistic and straightforward. It is a wonderfully affirming narrative about going to school for the first time and how much of an adventure it can be. Brantley-Newton's illustrations balance bright colors, patterns, and textures, should put a spring in the step
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a great, positive introduction to kindergarten. I think the emphasis on being the king of kindergarten gives a special boost of confidence and ownership to kids, while I also appreciate that they're at a round table and sharing, with the messages "Be awesome" "we are kind to each other" on the chalk board behind them. I love the humor in the writing of Derrick Barnes ("You'll use a golden brush to clean Ye Royal Chiclets.") The artwork by Vanessa Brantley-Newton takes it up a notch and m ...more
Hannah Brown
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This is a great book for kids about to start school. It looks at school in a positive light and makes kids feel special for starting Kindergarten. I loved the awesome illustrations and the clever word choices.
Raven Black
Aug 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Great illustrations and a fun story about going to kindergarten
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I liked that this picture book wasn't about being afraid of school but about being excited for it. Sometimes I wonder if all the, I'm scared of school books, only perpetuate the feelings kids have. ...more
Sep 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I got this book for Chase’s first day of KINDERGARTEN! It features an African American boy who is almost as cute as Chase. I’m always on the lookout for books featuring African American boys.
Cuuuuuute! What a fabulous, confidence-building book!
First Day of School
Danielle Joseph
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
A great addition to any Kindergarten classroom library! All about making the most of the first day of school! Additionally, can't recommend Derrick Barnes enough- would make a great author study! ...more
Jun 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
A fantastic first day of Kindergarten book.
Kris Patrick
Oct 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Derrick Barnes has become a rising star. Let’s make Vanessa Brantley-Newton a well known name too. Looking at her bio, I think she would be an outstanding choice for school visits
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Where I come from, no one dreams of becoming an author.

I didn’t know any famous African American male authors. I didn’t actually meet one until I attended college. I wanted to be a football player, the next Sean Combs, or a rapper; anything that would instantly provide me with the riches I would need to “move my mama off of the block”. I was raised in a single parent household by my mother, the lo

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