The Day You Begin

Last Saturday I was at the NCSS conference in Chicago signing books. It was fun meeting enthusiastic teachers from across the country, but I also had another assignment that day.

My goal was to find a new book to feature in this week’s PBB post. After a bit of searching, a gorgeous cover caught my eye — a fantastic book I can’t wait to share with you, THE DAY YOU BEGIN by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael Lopez.

I loved the book before I even opened it. The bright, collage-style title really appealed to me (as well as the door made from a wood ruler.) And just as I expected, the story inside was just as charming.

This inspiring story begins with the dreaded experience of walking into a room and feeling a little out of place, or different. The text explains there are many factors that can make a person feel like there’s “no one quite like you,” such as hair style, skin color, clothes, the language you speak, or the way you talk.

Later, this idea is expanded as it shares how children feel left out if their summer plans aren’t as grand others,

or if their lunchbox contains strange foods their friends haven’t seen before,

or if they aren’t physically able to keep up with others on the playground.

The language in the text is absolutely glorious — just “like flowers blooming the first bright notes of a song.”

The festive color palette the illustrator selected is perfect! And the soft, moving illustrations are a wonderful treat.

I don’t want to give away the meaningful ending.

So all that’s left to say is … enjoy!

Suzanne Slade

Suzanne Slade is the author of more than 100 books. A mechanical engineer by degree, she enjoys writing about science topics and fascinating historical figures. Recent books include: SWISH! The Slam-Dunking, Alley-Ooping, High-Flying Harlem Globetrotters, A Computer Called Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Helped Put America on the Moon, The Daring Dozen, Countdown: 2979 Days to the Moon, Astronaut Annie, Out of School and Into Nature: The Anna Comstock Story, Dangerous Jane, The Music in George's Head: George Gershwin Creates Rhapsody in Blue, The Inventor’s Secret, and Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks. Coming soon -- MARS IS, JUNE ALMEIDA VIRUS DETECTIVE! THE WOMAN WHO DISCOVERED THE FIRST HUMAN CORONAVIRUS, THE UNIVERSE AND YOU, and TBA titles from Calkins Creek, Peachtree, and Random House. Learn more about Suzanne and her books at:


  1. I love this picture book, too! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Definitely an inviting cover! This is going on my list of “to read” books today!

  3. It is a wonderful book. Rafael’s art is gorgeous and pairs perfectly with Jackie’s text.

  4. This looks wonderful. I will be on the lookout for it.

  5. I love this book. It’s so gentle yet uplifting and no one can resist that cover! Congrats!

  6. Adults can feel this way also. Good to know that this book deals with that feeling early. I’ll check it out at the library or if they don’t have it suggest that they buy it.

  7. Looks wonderful.

  8. Thanks for the recommendation. It’s on order. Can’t wait to read it.

  9. I would love to read this book to a class and have an interesting discussion.

  10. I agree with everything you said. This is a really nice PB. Thanks for sharing it.

  11. I adore this book! I had the honor of meeting Jacqueline Woodson when she was being interviewed during her tour of Brown Girl Dreaming. Since then I read everything she writes. She only gets better! She is the kindest soul.

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