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Sumi's First Day of School Ever

Last updated Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Author: Soyung Pak
Illustrator: Joung UN Kim
Date of Publication: 2003
ISBN: 067003522X
Grade Level: 1st    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jul. 2004

Synopsis: Sumi, a Korean American child, is lonely and afraid when she starts school, but with the help of a kind teacher and a friendly classmate, she comes to realize that school may be "not-so-lonely, not-so-scary, not-so-mean."

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What was your first day of school like? Scary? Mean? Lonely? What changed?
•  Has there been any new children in your class? What are they like? How do you think their first day of school was?
•  What do you do when you?re lonely?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Why did the boy make fun of Sumi? Would you have? What would you have done if you saw it happening?
•  How do you think it felt to not understand English?
•  What happens at school that makes Sumi feel that school is a scary place? Why did that change?

Craft ideas:
•  Design a welcome mat for new people at your school.
•  Draw a picture of yourself and the first friend you met at school.

Special activities:
•  One by one, blindfold a child, and have another child lead them through a maze of tables and chairs in the classroom.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!