The opening line of this BANNED children’s book is “There will be days when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you.”
Ever felt that way?
The book follows the first day of school for children who feel like they don’t fit in because of their language or looks or what they eat or whatever.
Woodson offers her reader a remedy toward the end of the book: “There will be days when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you……until the day you begin to share your stories.”
Ah, there’s that magic of stories .
Reverend Chris Bruillard-Coyle writes about the power of story as it relates to Woodson’s book:
“The turning point in the book is the same turning point we all need. ‘The day we begin’ is the day when we intentionally make space for people to share their stories, embracing all of who they are even if that challenges us. Even when that changes us!”
So why has The Day You Begin been banned since 2021?
According to PEN America, a literary advocacy group that defends freedom of expression, 40% of the 1,648 unique titles banned in 2021 had either main or secondary characters of color. An additional 21% of those titles banned address race and racism.
Over 50 different groups formed in 2021 with the sole intent of removing stories featuring characters of color. Three years later, this book is still banned in certain libraries.
Go ahead. Buy this book and read it to your kids and grandkids and great grandkids.
May the power of our unique stories continue to be a beacon for the world.