• Chantal Bufe

Book Guide: The Day You Begin

A child is never too young for a conversation about being different.

It is a life-long heart-to-heart that goes beyond any pages of a book.

It is a familial conversation that begins at home where our children listen and learn from their parents' school of thought and (hopefully) start to develop their own.

It is a personal conversation that continues throughout our lives as we - consistently and courageously - keep reevaluating whether our belief system still mirrors the human truth.

Finally, it is a collective conversation that asks us to encourage one another to raise our voices and share our stories in order to see the real beauty that lies within our differences.

And this is where The Day You Begin comes in. Published in August 2018 by American writer Jaqueline Woodson, this book is a must-read for all of us - children and adults, alike.  

Inspired by her great-great-grandfather's life (William J. Woodson was the only black student in his classroom in Ohio), Woodson lovingly addresses "the many ways we walk into rooms and feel like we don't belong there."

In the story, we meet characters who are all very different from one another which makes them feel uncomfortable at first. As the readers turn page after page of this beautifully illustrated book, we find the characters acknowledging their differences and starting to see them for what they truly are: unique treasures upon which friendships are built.

The Day You Begin lovingly encourages readers to move past this uncomfortable feeling we all know too well when we are amongst people who are different from us and asked us to raise our voices and share our personal stories. Woodson's message is clear: only by being our authentic selves and hearing others speak their truth, and learning from them, will we be able to understand one another better, appre