cover image A New School Year: Stories in Six Voices

A New School Year: Stories in Six Voices

Sally Derby, illus. by Mika Song. Charlesbridge, $16.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-58089-730-3

Through 24 sensitive poems, Derby (Jump Back, Paul) presents six students’ perspectives before, during, and after the first day of school. The children represent different grades, kindergarten through fifth, and their perspectives, voices, and concerns are realistically varied. “We were making calendars/ for September,/ and all my twos were backward,” confesses Katie, a mortified second grader. Fourth grader Carlos, whose poems are dotted with Spanish, worries that there aren’t any other kids with “brownish skin/ and black hair like mine” in his class. And fifth grader Mia, who uses hearing aids, winds up at a desk near the door “where the hall sounds get in the way of what I need to hear.” Set against white backgrounds, Song’s (Harry and Clare’s Amazing Staycation) spare ink-and-watercolor images focus on the kids, and their body language and expressions dovetail gracefully with the interior worlds painted in Derby’s poetry. Ages 5–9. Illustrator’s agent: Erica Rand Silverman, Stimola Literary Studio. (June)