Book Review: Sumi's First Day of School Ever

Author: Soyung Pak
Illustrator: Joung Un Kim

From the Book Jacket: When Sumi arrives at school on her first day, she sees a big building. She sees strange children. (Some are big.) She sees wide stairs and a big metal fence. School is a lonely place, she thinks. When Sumi enters the noisy classroom and hears loud children saying things she doesn't understand, Sumi feels even worse. School is a scary place. And when a little boy squishes his eyes and makes a face at Sumi, thats when she decides school is a mean place. 

This is a thoughtful picture book about a young Korean girl trying to find her place in a new classroom on the first day of school. For Sumi, the first day is extra hard because she doesn't know the same language as everybody else. But with some help from a kind teacher and the fortunate acquaintance of a friendly girl at recess, Sumi realizes that maybe school is not as lonely, scary, or mean as she thought.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: What a wonderful read aloud for the first month of school! This is a time when we are building community around new students and making sure everyone is feeling welcome and included. We also have students from different countries and this is their first school experience. Students get to experience the feelings of fear and loneliness through Sumi's eyes. There is a boy who displays mean behavior but turns his actions into kindness thanks to his teacher. But a friendship begins to bloom when another little girl approaches Sumi and introduces herself. Loved this story and the impact it is having on our students. 

A Link to This Book and Others You Might Find Useful: 

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