by Judy Newman with Alexie Basil
I am so grateful today that my kids are old enough to get their own BTS tickets if they want them. I have zero desire to camp out in the rain for days.
But when my children were younger, as a full-time working mom, I worked hard to say “yes” as much as I could. And, armed with lots of working-mother guilt, I would go to great lengths, staying up late in the night (literally and figuratively) to deliver surprise “yes” moments to my kids.
I would stand in line at Toys“R”Us to get special midnight releases of Cabbage Patch Kids and Beanie Babies.
I pulled every string I could to get sold-out tickets to Z100’s Jingle Ball, an annual holiday music extravaganza.
And, honestly, I probably would have been in that soggy mess waiting for a chance for my kids to see BTS.
As I am writing this, it sounds like silly consumerism. But at the time, being able to come home from work with special treats felt like super-important ways to show my kids I was on their wavelength and willing to go to the mat for them.
There was no way my own parents were ever going to stand in an all-night line for a toy or get me tickets to a rock concert. My parents were loving and responsible and were completely on board with helping me get as many books as I wanted to read. But they were also super-ready to say “no” to things they thought were frivolous or bad for me.
No, you can’t go out on a weeknight.
No, you can’t watch more than a half hour of television a day.
No, you can’t have soda for dinner.
No, you can’t get loafers (this one I never understood).
No, you can’t get contact lenses until you are 16.
No, you can’t go to the Tom Jones concert at the Music Hall in Boston.
No, you can’t go to see Elton John on a school night.
In hindsight, some of these restrictive approaches to life were more understandable than others. But at the time, I hated feeling like I couldn’t do what I wanted to do. And sometimes all those nos drove me to sneak out and do what I wanted.…
Like the time I somehow got tickets for Tom Jones at the Music Hall in Downtown Boston, convinced my friend Carol Waldman to go with me, and we snuck out and actually went. (That, along with how I said I was going to a Spanish-language movie with my class but really went to see Elton John on a Tuesday night—and then wrote a review of the concert for the Newton High newspaper—are stories for another day.)
Maybe this is why I love the energy of this week’s Dollar Deal, Yes Day! Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld dreamt up the idea of a day without nos.
“Lichtenheld’s cartoon-style illustrations capture the boy’s delight in each scenario and also provide narrative content when pictures, rather than words, fill in the details of a request’s outcome. Funny and on-target.” —Kirkus Reviews
Yes Day! is a cheerful and positive book that’s great for reading aloud with young students. It also cheered up David Vozar (sort of) when he remembered his own (somewhat conditional) childhood Yes Days.
We said “YES!” to Yes Day! and created some materials to help you and your students engage with the text: sing along with the Book Boys as they perform their newest original song; discover how to use Yes Day! as a shared reading experience in Book Talks; celebrate the many things Amy Krouse Rosenthal made in Behind the Scenes; and encourage your students to imagine their own Yes Days in Cooked Up from a Book.
I hope you and your students enjoy Yes Day! and that it encourages your class to consider saying yes to reading more great books.
This Book Is Available from Scholastic Book Clubs