Jacqueline Woodson and Rafael Lopez combine their talents in The Day You Begin. The story is how a classroom of children feel like outsiders in their classroom. Told through poetic text, Woodson shows how these two children learn they are not alone.
We have all probably felt like Rigoberto and Angelina at least once in our lives. Due to our names, accent, being the new kid at school, at church or another event. Perhaps we are not good at a particular sport or subject or we like an unusual food. Or perhaps we, like Rigoberto, we are an immigrant. This book is a good addition for the classroom to teach how everyone feels “alone” and “different” at times. It might not lend itself to a more casual read for the younger child, but an older one will appreciate it.
The vibrant colors will capture the eye. Lopez has created many different looking children. They are all colors though there is little variety to the shapes of the children but the multicultural aspect allows a child to find someone who looks a little like them. The illustrations are a lyrical as the Woodson’s text.
Woodson is known for doing books that are not usually mainstream subject. This book fits into that category as well as being more contemporary with its diversity. She is equally at home writing novels or picture books. She is 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, but she always has been. Her themes rang from racism, to sexuality, a family member in prison, to becoming an older sibling. Many of her books have biographical information or are autobiographical. While she does not shy away from tough topics, she is equally at home with more common themes.