Story by Jacqui Robbins
Art by Matt Phelan
Published by Richard Jackson Books, 2004
Themes: first day in new school, friendship,
The first day the new girl comes to our class, the other girls all shout, “I’ll show her around.” When Ms. becky asks the new girl to tell us her name, the new girl says, “I have an iguana.”
On Shakeeta’s first day in a new school, she introduces herself by telling the class that she has an iguana. Mia wants to get to know Shakeeta and show her around, but she’s afraid of the iguana. After a boy calls Shakeeta “Shakeeta Mosquita” and Shakeeta threatens to punch him in the head, Mia is also too afraid to speak for fear of getting punched in the head herself.
Unkind circumstances on the soccer field find the two girls alone on the playground, and Mia overcomes her fears to brave reaching out in friendship with sweet consequences.
Why I like this book:
This book expresses so many feelings and experiences: shyness, being the new kid, making friends, curiosity, fear, teasing, isolation. The illustrations are simply wonderful. Light and colorful and full of amazing simplicity. AND one of the main characters is a child of color and there are other children of color in the class. It is a fabulous classroom book for the beginning of the year or any time a new kid transitions in. There is a super emphasis on making any student really feel at home in their new classroom environment.
- Maybe brainstorming all the things that might make a new kid feel uncomfortable entering a classroom for the first time. Then brainstorm what the established children could do to help.
- Team Building Activities
- Other recommended reads: Little Chicken’s Big Day by Jerry Davis & Katie Davis, Sea Monster’s First Day by Kate Messner and Andy Rash
Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.