The Day You Begin

The Day You Begin
Written by Jacqueline Woodson, Illustrated by Rafael Lopez

Publisher’s Summary:
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.

Primary Source Pairing:
Through beautifully illustrated pages and a cause and effect storytelling style, this book will be a special one to read to remind students of the importance of being kind, welcoming, and open-minded. For this primary source pairing, use a feelings chart during storytime. It works best for me to model with students how to hold the feelings chart so it is not a distraction. Begin by asking students to find a feeling on the chart they are feeling that day. Invite them to share with a neighbor, then take a few volunteers to share. Next, use the cover of the book and study Angelina’s face. Ask students to infer how she may be feeling. Read the book and pause periodically to ask students to find a feeling on the feelings chart that matches how the character feels in the story. Upon completion of the story, revisit the front cover and ask students to see if they were right in guessing Angelina’s feeling. Invite students to revise their feeling choice after they know more about Angelina.

Additional Note: The feelings chart is a wonderful tool. I keep a class set with my storytime materials.

Questions for Discussion:

  • Describe what you see.
  • What do you notice first?
  • What people and objects are shown?
  • How are they arranged?
  • What feelings on the chart have you experienced?
  • While reading the book, think about how Angelina and Rigoberto are feeling. How do their feelings change from the beginning of the story to the end of the story? Why?

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
Feelings Chart: Ellie Peters, creator, linked on Pinterest