First Grade Dropout by Audrey Vernick
Illustrations by Matthew Cordell
Publisher: Clarion Books
Release Date: July 7, 2015
Have you ever made a mistake so big that you didn't want to go back to school? So is the case with one first grader who is sure that his embarrassing mistake is enough to make him want to drop out.
This is a story that most of us can relate to. "I put my hand on my hip, like someone who doesn't care if other people laugh." Who hasn't done this? Pretended like they hadn't just done something incredibly embarrassing, or acting like we had done it on purpose. I have a couple slip-of-the-tongues that people still bring up to this day that I always laugh about, but inside a small part of me seethes. Seriously, that isn't what I meant.
For little ones, embarrassment, particularly at the hands of strangers is a very new and hard emotion to process. Mistakes happen and while they may not be easily forgotten, one can learn how to deal with them in a way that doesn't include skipping school for the rest of one's life. Told in a way that will drawn in readers without feeling didactic, this story had just the right amount of humor and real emotion to make it feel significant.