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May 9th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in September | 2017-2018 | Primary (Grades K-2) | 2017-2018 Primary

School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex. Illustrated by Christian Robinson. A Neal Porter Book / Roaring Book Press, 2016

We know about children’s anxiety on the first day of school but what about the school itself? Newly built Frederick Douglass Elementary is just as nervous about its first day as its students are. Before school starts, a man named Janitor mops and buffs the floors, and it’s nice when it’s just the two of them. But when the children start filing in—more of them than the school could have imagined—school begins to worry. It’s clear not all of the kids want to be there, while others are afraid. The kids are also noisy and messy (although school gets even by squirting a boy at the water fountain). But school discovers it can learn a thing or two in kindergarten class. By the time the kids leave at the end of the first day, school is eager to have them come back. Christian Robinson’s acrylic illustrations incorporate classic elements, like a flag, circle rug, and chalkboard with the alphabet above, in scenes showing a diverse, contemporary school in this perfect antidote for first-day jitters. Highly Commended, 2017 Charlotte Zolotow Award ©2017 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Start some conversation with these discussion prompts:

  1. What are some examples of the school acting like a person?
  2. What do the illustrations show the reader about how the school feels?
  3. How does the school change its mind about the freckled girl and other characters?
  4. How would the story be the same or different if told from the janitor’s perspective?

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