Book Review: El Día En Que Descubres Quién Eres by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by Rafael López

Review by Gustavo Hernández

When was the day you began to be you?  

El Día En Que Descubres Quién Eres (Eng. original The Day You Begin) talks about cultural differences during the time when children are discovering themselves and their identity. It explores children feeling like outsiders among their peers because of their home language, food diversity, skin color, or even the way they talk.  

The key concept in El Día En Que Descubres Quién Eres is for characters (and readers) to realize that there are more kids feeling the same way. This leads to a search how these differences can make children part of the same community while at the same time recognizing that everyone’s  uniqueness and experiences are part of their identity and must not be suppressed. 

This book can be used as a community builder in the classroom, helping students create meaningful personal connections based on experiences of similarity and difference.

“Y, de repente, en ese sitio donde nadie es como tú, el mundo se abre un poco para hacerte un lugar.”

In its Spanish version, El Día En Que Descubres Quién Eres is especially empowering to Spanish-speaking students. The book offers the perspective of a character trying to fit in their new lives. As an immigrant myself, I know it can be difficult to find a sense of belonging in a new place, where everything is new and few can understand you.The book is directed to elementary school audiences, Grade levels Kindergarten to 4th. With 32 pages of episodes about friendships and hope, El Día En Que Descubres Quién Eres teaches a very valuable lesson. It shows students that they are not alone. There will always be someone like you. And they are willing to be part of your world as you can be part of their world too.

Bio: Gustavo Hernández. I am an educator with over ten years of experience in elementary education, six of them as a Spanish immersion educator. I am pursuing a Master’s in Immersion Education at the U of M. I will totally add this book to my multicultural classroom library and will use it to empower my students to appreciate different perspectives.

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