The Day You Begin
There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you. So what are you going to do?
Where it takes place:
It takes place every single day all over the world.
Where I wrote it:
Right here in Brooklyn and while I was traveling around the country.
Why I wrote it:
It was inspired by this poem in Brown Girl Dreaming:
it’ll be scary sometimes
My great-great-grandfather on my father’s side
was born free in Ohio,
Built his home and farmed his land,
then dug for coal when the farming
wasn’t enough. Fought hard
in the war. His name in stone now
on the Civil War Memorial:
William J. Woodson
United States Colored Troops,
Union, Company B 5th Regt.
A long time dead but living still
among the other soldiers
on that monument in Washington, D.C.
His son was sent to Nelsonville
lived with an aunt
the only brown boy in an all-white school.
You’ll face this in your life someday,
my mother will tell us
over and over again.
A moment when you walk into a room and
no one there is like you.
It’ll be scary sometimes. But think of William Woodson
and you’ll be all right.
- Jane Addams Peace Association
- 2019 Winner Book for Younger Children
- 2019 Floyd’s Pick Book Award Winner