A girl with honey-brown skin and curly hair waits outside a classroom: "There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you." The omniscient narrator continues that sometimes others won't understand your words or might turn up their noses at your lunch. But then a small thing—say, you and a classmate have siblings who share the same name—changes everything up. Woodson catches the uncertainty, even fear, that comes with new situations. But her lyrical language also captures the moment when confidence sparks and friendships are born. In one instance, the girl feels different because her classmates have brought souvenirs from their travels to France, India, and South Carolina, while she stayed home and read books. Of course, books can take you anywhere, a point well made, though not all readers will relate to the idea of far-flung travel. The bold, bright artwork features a diverse cast of kids, all with huge eyes. The important message plays out in a striking design that mixes the everyday with flights of fancy. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Woodson, a recent National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, is one of kidlit's brightest stars, and this should find lots of eager hands. Preschool-Grade 1. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Woodson (Brown Girl Dreaming) imagines being "an only" in the classroom—what it's like to be the only one with an accent ("No one understands the way words curl from your mouth"), the only one who stayed home during summer vacation ("What good is this/ when other students were flying/ and sailing"), the only one whose lunch box is filled with food "too strange or too unfamiliar for others to love as you do." Without prescribing sympathy, Woodson's poetic lines give power to each child's experience. She describes the moment when the girl who didn't go on vacation speaks her truth, her "voice stronger than it was a minute ago." She has cared for her sister all summer, she tells her classmates, reading and telling stories: "Even though we were right on our block it was like/ we got to go EVERYWHERE." And "all at once" in the seconds after sharing one's story, something shifts, common ground is revealed, and "the world opens itself up a little wider/ to make some space for you." López (Drum Dream Girl) paints the book's array of children as students in the same classroom; patterns and colors on the children's clothing and the growing things around them fill the spreads with life. Woodson's gentle, lilting story and López's artistry create a stirring portrait of the courage it takes to be oneself: "There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you until the day you begin/ to share your stories." Ages 5–8. Author's agent: Kathleen Nishimoto, William Morris Endeavor. Illustrator's agent: Stefanie Von Borstel, Full Circle. (Aug.)
Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.
School Library Journal Reviews
K-Gr 2-A beautiful and inclusive story that encourages children to find the beauty in their own lives and share it with the world. A young girl with brown skin and curly black hair stays home through the summer to watch over her younger sister while her classmates travel to distant lands. A young boy from Venezuela arrives in his new school and finds the children in his class do not speak his language. Another child brings a lunch that her classmates find too strange while another isn't physically able to keep up with the play of other children. Each child feels very alone until they begin to share their stories and discover that it is nearly always possible to find someone a little like you. López's vibrant illustrations bring the characters' hidden and unspoken thoughts to light with fantastic, swirling color. Shifting hues and textures across the page convey their deep loneliness and then slowly transition into bright hopeful possibilities. Full-bleed illustrations on every page are thick with collaged patterns and textures that pair perfectly with melodic prose that begs to be read aloud. Though the story focuses on four singular experiences, there's an essential acknowledgment that everyone will experience a time when no one is quite like them, when they can't find their voice, or when they feel very alone. Woodson's superlative text sees each character turns that moment of desolation into an opportunity to be brave and find hope in what they have in common. VERDICT This masterful story deserves a place in every library.—Laken Hottle, Providence Community Library
Copyright 2018 School Library Journal.
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. - (Baker & Taylor)
The National Ambassador for Young People's Literature and author of the Coretta Scott King Award-winning Brown Girl Dreaming combines lyrical, reassuring text with artwork by the award-winning illustrator of Book Fiesta to inspire readers to find the courage to connect with others. Simultaneous eBook. - (Baker & Taylor)
A #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!
Featured in its own episode in the Netflix original show Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices!
National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson and two-time Pura Belpré Illustrator Award winner Rafael López have teamed up to create a poignant, yet heartening book about finding courage to connect, even when you feel scared and alone.
There will be times when you walk into a room
and no one there is quite like you.
There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it's how you look or talk, or where you're from; maybe it's what you eat, or something just as random. It's not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it.
Jacqueline Woodson's lyrical text and Rafael López's dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.
(This book is also available in Spanish, as El Día En Que Descubres Quién Eres!) - (Penguin Putnam)