Today is MULTICULTURAL CHILDREN’S BOOK DAY. MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the need for kids’ books celebrating diversity in homes and schools and libraries. It also works to get more of these books into the hands of young readers, parents, and educators.
The Day You Begin was written by award winning children’s author Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by Rafael López. It was published in 2018 by Nancy Paulsen Books (Penguin).
In The Day You Begin Woodson and López beautifully handle a tough theme—belonging. Woodson’s voice is one of authority, to me. The narrator of this picture book sounds like she’s been there—on the outskirts of a group, trying desperately to belong.
The children in the book are multiethnic, multicultural. But being “different” and feeling alone in a group isn’t limited to those traits. Longing to belong is, I think, an American epidemic.
And I think that Woodson handles the subject courageously and competently and beautifully. Her gentle message, in my opinion, is YOU HAVE A VOICE: SPEAK UP.
López’ artwork complements the sensitive text beautifully, too.
I highly recommend The Day You Begin to classrooms, to churches, to families.