March Break Review-a-palooza: Kindergarten Diary

One of the best parts of my new job as the Teacher Librarian has been that I get to work with all of the Kindergarten students – or “kindies” – as we often call them at our school. Right now, I’m working with them on the Blue Spruce reading program, which means I get a dose of Kindergarten almost every day of the week. Every time I come home with a new batch of stories and a renewed appreciation for the educators and assistants who occupy the special roles of “first teachers” for so many little people. If you haven’t been to Kindergarten for a while, I assure you, a great Kindergarten teacher is pretty impressive. I mean, have you ever had 23 tiny people answer a question all at the same time and just keep on talking at once like it’s totally normal and just fine thank you very much? I can now say that I have survived that experience. A little time in a Kindergarten class is a pretty humbling experience for an educator. You really see where it all starts. It’s awesome.

I think Antoinette Portis’s book, Kindergarten Diary, is going to be a lovely addition to our Kindie collection in the library. It will be perfect for start of year (“Look at everything you’ll get to do in Kindergarten!”) and for an end of year look back (“See all that we’ve done?”). It’s about Annalina, who doesn’t want to go to Kindergarten. Written as a diary through the month of September, we follow Annalina as she discovers all of the things about Kindergarten that are cool (swinging across the monkey bars, skipping with a new friend) and challenging (learning to share, printing your extra-long name). Portis has chosen the details well, really succeeding in highlighting experiences that a five-year-old would focus on. The design of the book is simple but clever and eye-catching. Many of the pictures are set against a background that looks like the lined paper kids use to learn how to print. The children are painted in a bold style and Portis integrates fun collage elements that readers will enjoy noticing.

Here’s the author illustrator, speaking about the inspiration for the book:

And just for fun, I found a neat series on Kindergarten done by the Globe and Mail. It’s worth checking out. Here is a video about the end of the project:

I’ve already discovered that Kindergarten is quite possibly the coolest room in school. I think that Kindergarten Diary will help lots of little ones discover that too.

Kindergarten Diary is published by Harper.

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