The Day you Begin by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael Lopez
I always look forward to a new book from Jacqueline Woodson; I have yet to be disappointed. In a long string of inspirational and moving books, The Day You Begin stands out for its heartfelt themes of finding your own voice, inclusion, courage, and friendship. Woodson’s poetic and lyrical writing is gentle yet powerful, as the words invite even very young children to find and recognize the beauty of their lives, and to share it with others in the world around them. Lopez’s illustrations are bright and vivid, and attract readers; at the same time they have a kind of dreamy quality that is the perfect complement to the words. I especially appreciate the acknowledgement that we all have moments of loneliness, loss, and fear. We may lose our voices and feel alone, yet hope is always there. Gentle and optimistic, this is a book to read aloud, share, and discuss with friends and family. Recommended for the start of the school year as a wonderful read to build community.