• Happy birthday Belinda Hurmence (A Girl Called Boy).
  • It’s the birth date of H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937), Dreams in the Witch House: And Other Weird Stories, Jeff Brown (1926-2003), Flat Stanley series, and Sue Alexander (1933-2008), Behold the Trees.
  • In 1775 the Spanish establish a presidio (fort) in the town that will become Tucson, Arizona. Read The No Place Cat by C. S. Adler.
  • Charles Darwin first published his theory of evolution through natural selection in The Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London on this day in 1858. Read Life on Earth: The Story of Evolution by Steve Jenkins.
  • In 1882, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture makes its debut in Moscow. Read Jeremy’s War 1812 by John Ibbitson.
  • In 1920 radio station 8MK (WWJ), created by a teenager, went on air in Detroit, Michigan. Read Radio Fifth Grade by Gordon Korman.
  • It’s the annual Sandcastle and Sculpture Day on Nantucket Island, MA. Read The Sandcastle Contest by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko.

Our book of the day yesterday, Wemberly Worried, has been around for a decade. But last year, Antoinette Portis added a new book to read during Get Ready for Kindergarten Month. Kindergarten Diary explores what a young child might think and experience each day in a new school. Portis, the very creative inventor of Not a Box, completely understands the imaginative and emotional landscape of young children. In Kindergarten Diary she gives us a child’s-eye view of the first month of school.

At first new kindergartener Anna focuses on dressing her best—although she definitely doesn’t want to wear socks. Rather than having a scary teacher, the children in Room 2 K find Ms. Duffy, who seems mild and friendly. The monkey bars on the playground suggest problems for our young girl—underneath lurk pretend alligators who just might eat you if you fall. As Anna practices sharing, writing her name, and jumping rope with a new friend, she discovers that she loves certain activities, such as show-and-tell. By September 30, our heroine is “Too Busy to Write Any More! P.S. We are room 2 K. We are fine!”

As in her other books, Portis conjures up the extensive fantasy world of her young heroine as it plays against the real world. Monkey bars “were on a spaceship and you had to hold on or you would float away forever.” The strong black line and bold art complements the simple story that shows the journey of a fearful child as she becomes completely engaged in her new world. Anna may well graduate from kindergarten with a “major in finger painting and a minor in show-and-tell”—not unlike Portis herself.

So if you have a kindergartener still tentative about what will happen in the coming weeks, pick up Kindergarten Diary. It will help any child understand that new experiences don’t simply have to be frightening—they can lead to friendships and exciting adventures. Kindergarten Diary reassures young readers that, a day at a time, they can go to school and end up triumphant.

Here’s a page from Kindergarten Diary:


Originally posted August 20, 2011. Updated for .

Tags: Humor, Imagination, School
Instructional materials from TeachingBooks.net for Kindergarten Diary


  1. suzi w. says:

    Wow, the voice of the child is spot on. Will have to look for this one!

    You might get some quibbles about WWJ being the first commercial radio station. Here are mine:

    Montreal had a station that started on May 20, 1920. Neither Montreal’s station (which became CFCF), nor WWJ had licenses when they started. (I had to check because I’m from Pittsburgh, where the station that became KDKA was the supposedly the first radio station, back in 1916.)

    The first officially licensed (at least U.S.) broadcast was on KDKA, November 2, 1920, the Harding/Cox election returns. (It’s tricky, the history of early radio…) I got my information from Wikipedia, but I double checked the sources.
    and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oldest_radio_station

    (those librarians–give us an inch, and we’ll research a mile.)


  2. Anita says:

    Suzi: I’ll look into the radio and reword. This is why I love having librarians as readers!

  3. suzi w. says:

    Oh much better! And as for fictional birthday lists, besides Harry Potter characters, there’s nothing online. I’ll keep looking, though…

  4. Jami says:

    we just read this yesterday! My little one begins kindergarten in a few days. She enjoyed reading about school especially with her older sister sitting next to her. Memories were made.

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