The Queen of Kindergarten
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Queen of Kindergarten is the follow-up to The King of Kindergarten. Both are written by Caldecott Honor author Derrick Barnes (Crown: An Ode to a Fresh Cut) and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton. Like its predecessor, this book follows a young protagonist through the first day of kindergarten, but this time, it's a spunky little girl named MJ. The positive energy in this book is undeniable, flowing from dynamic illustrations, realistic dialogue, lovable characters, and positive messages about how to carry yourself and how to treat others. The images of diverse representations are beneficial for all readers, from the natural hairstyles to the ethnic variety among MJ's classmates.
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What's the Story?
It's the first day of school, and young MJ Malone couldn't be more ready! But before she gets going, her mom has an important responsibility for her: She places a sparkly tiara on MJ's head and deems her THE QUEEN OF KINDERGARTEN. Momma tells MJ that a queen brightens up every room she enters, is caring and kind, and is helpful to others. MJ is determined to live out these qualities, and this special first day of school gives her many opportunities to do so. Along the way, she shines as a leader, makes new friends, and shows that she is deserving of the title.
Is It Any Good?
Vivid illustrations, a bold main character, and gentle lessons on kindness and leadership will help young readers get ready for the first day of school. The Queen of Kindergarten is a captivating read for members of the whole family. It's easy to fall in love with MJ as a character, rooting for her along with the members of her fun and endearing family. The representations of a confident Black female protagonist, her supportive family, and her natural-hair-rocking teacher are positives for all kids to see and admire. Author Derrick Barnes has a gift for empowering young Black readers through the written word, and illustrator Vanessa Brantley-Newton is ingenious at bringing important stories to life with infectious energy.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about positive role models in The Queen of Kindergarten. What qualities do role models have? How does MJ show those qualities?
How can you tell that MJ has a fun and loving family? How is her family like yours? How is it different?
What is MJ's first day of kindergarten like? What helps MJ feel ready for her first day of kindergarten? What helps you get ready for a new experience?
- Author: Derrick Barnes
- Illustrator: Vanessa Brantley-Newton
- Genre: Picture Book
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models
- Character Strengths: Communication, Compassion, Courage, Empathy, Humility, Integrity
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
- Publication date: May 24, 2022
- Number of pages: 32
- Available on: Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: May 24, 2022
Our Editors Recommend
The King of Kindergarten
Fun tale pictures a kid's royally good first day of school.
Docuseries about real kids will engage youngsters.
I Am Every Good Thing
Dynamic art, poetry enhance vivid celebration of Black boys.
I Am Enough
Girl celebrates herself in poetic picture book.
For kids who love school school stories and self-esteem tales of Black and Brown kids
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