A New School Year: Stories in Six Voices

illus. by Mika Song. 48p. Charlesbridge. Jun. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781580897303.
K-Gr 3—The angst suffered by many youngsters contemplating the first day of a new school year is charmingly and realistically captured in this collection of 24 poems that express the thoughts and concerns of six children entering kindergarten through grade five. Each of the book's four sections—"The Night Before," "In the Morning," "At School," and "After School"—includes a first-person narrative by one of the children. In the first section, Ethan hides his teddy bear's fuzzy jacket in his pants pocket to bring him comfort on his first day of kindergarten. Zach wonders if first grade rules will be different from last year's, and Katie contemplates the news that her second grade teacher is a man. Third grader Jackie worries about having to arrive "a whole hour before school starts/so Mama can catch the bus to work." Carlos (grade four) fears being friendless at his new school, and Mia falls asleep fretting about fifth grade homework and whether to fix her hair to cover her hearing aids. Song's delightful large cartoon illustrations—brushed sumi ink outlines and detail filled with watercolor—show various ethnicities at home and in the classroom and concerned expressions that become relaxed and happy as children quickly adapt to school routines. Kids in grades four and five share the same round faces and short stature as the younger children.
VERDICT Teachers will enjoy using this engaging collection as an ice breaker or as impetus for a first day writing project.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing