2023 August Featured Book: ages 7-9

The Day You Begin   by Jacquline Woodson

Other students laugh when Rigoberto, an immigrant from Venezuela, introduces himself but later, he meets Angelina and discovers that he is not the only one who feels like an outsider. A beautiful and inclusive story that encourages children to find the beauty in their own lives and share it with the world. 

You may check this book out from your local library, or you may purchase it from our bookshop.org store.

Developmental Markers:

  • Establishing group identities and membership—often form groups to act within their own cultural rules and to reinforce a sense of group identity. Able to consciously code-switch between home, community, and school cultures.
  • Children of color are aware of racism against their own racial/cultural group. May show the negative impact of internalized racism.  
  • See a rise in name-calling based on racial, gender, class, disability, and sexual orientation identities. Show influence of dominant cultural myths about class (being poor is the individual’s choice/fault; having money is a sign of superior abilities).  However, they now have a greater capacity for empathy about the hurt name-calling causes.


  • Rafael Lopez, the illustrator places rulers throughout the book as a metaphor for feeling that because of our differences we don’t quite measure up. See if you and your child can find the rulers. Discuss what it means to “not measure up”.
  • Jacquline Woodson discusses feeling different when you enter a room…your hair, your language, your race…“There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you.” Discuss times or reasons your child might feel different. Do they have friends who might feel different. What are ways they are all the same?
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