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1001 Stories Collection

The Day You Begin

1001 thedayyoubegin
Added on 14th July 2020

Author Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrator Rafael Lopez
First published 2018
Publisher Penguin

Identity and fairness School Friends
1001

A powerful picture book for young readers that recognises how hard it is to feel different to everyone around you and shows that finding the courage to tell your own story starts to create connections with others.

Story

The Day You Begin is the story of Angelica, a young girl who has started at a new school in a new place, and feels like there is nobody there like her. Nobody looks like her, speaks like her, eats the same food or comes from the same place as her. But she soon finds a little bit of courage and finds ways to connect when she shares a little of herself.

Why we chose it

A powerful book for young children which recognises the courage it takes to walk into a place where no-one seems like you, where you feel an outsider because of how you speak or look or the food you eat and shows that if you begin to share your stories you can make connections and create community.

Where it came from

As a child, Jacqueline Woodson loved Virginia Hamilton and Judy Blume, and now counts An Na, Jason Reynolds, and Rita Williams-Garcia among her favourite writers. She has won countless awards, including the Hans Christian Andersen, and in 2018-19 was the US National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. The Day You Begin was inspired by a poem in her book Brown Girl Dreaming about her great-grandfather, who was the only black child in an all-white school.

Rafael Lopez is a Mexican artist. Alongside book illustrating, he is also a commercial artist. He illustrated posters for the Obama presidential campaign and a set of stamps for the US Postal Service. He has won three Pura Belpre Awards, two Americas Book Awards, and the Tomas Riviera in 2017.

Where it went next

The Day You Begin was a New York Times bestseller, and in 2019 it won the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award. In 2020, Stages Theatre in Minneapolis adapted it for the stage.

Associated stories

Woodson writes stories and poetry for children and adults, including the picture book Pecan Pie Baby (2010), the Maizon trilogy for young adults, and Red at the Bone (2019) for adults.

Lopez has illustrated a number of books, such as Tito Puente, Mambo King! (Monica Brown, 2013) and a collaboration with US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor (Just Ask! Be Brave, Be Different, Be You!, 2019).

Added on 14th July 2020

Author Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrator Rafael Lopez
First published 2018
Publisher Penguin

Identity and fairness School Friends
1001