The Year We Learned to Fly

Illustrated by Rafael López
Look inside
Best Seller
Hardcover
$18.99 US
9.44"W x 10.81"H x 0.43"D  
On sale Jan 04, 2022 | 32 Pages | 978-0-399-54553-5
| Grades K-3
Reading Level: Lexile AD1010L | Fountas & Pinnell O
Jacqueline Woodson and Rafael López's highly anticipated companion to their #1 New York Times bestseller The Day You Begin illuminates the power in each of us to face challenges with confidence.

On a dreary, stuck-inside kind of day, a brother and sister heed their grandmother’s advice: “Use those beautiful and brilliant minds of yours. Lift your arms, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and believe in a thing. Somebody somewhere at some point was just as bored you are now.” And before they know it, their imaginations lift them up and out of their boredom. Then, on a day full of quarrels, it’s time for a trip outside their minds again, and they are able to leave their anger behind. This precious skill, their grandmother tells them, harkens back to the days long before they were born, when their ancestors showed the world the strength and resilience of their beautiful and brilliant minds. Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael Lopez’s dazzling art celebrate the extraordinary ability to lift ourselves up and imagine a better world.
© John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Jacqueline Woodson (www.jacquelinewoodson.com) received a 2023 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, a 2020 MacArthur Fellowship, the 2020 Hans Christian Andersen Award, the 2018 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, and the 2018 Children’s Literature Legacy Award. She was the 2018–2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, and in 2015, she was named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. She received the 2014 National Book Award for her New York Times bestselling memoir Brown Girl Dreaming, which was also a recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award, a Newbery Honor, the NAACP Image Award, and a Sibert Honor. She wrote the adult books Red at the Bone, a New York Times bestseller, and Another Brooklyn, a 2016 National Book Award finalist. Born in Columbus, Ohio, Jacqueline grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, and Brooklyn, New York, and graduated from college with a B.A. in English. She is the author of dozens of award-winning books for young adults, middle graders, and children; among her many accolades, she is a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a four-time National Book Award finalist, and a three-time Coretta Scott King Award winner. Her books include Coretta Scott King Award and NAACP Image Award winner Before the Ever After; New York Times bestsellers The Day You Begin and Harbor Me; The Other Side, Caldecott Honor book Coming On Home Soon; Newbery Honor winners Feathers, Show Way, and After Tupac and D Foster; Miracle's Boys, which received the LA Times Book Prize and the Coretta Scott King Award; and Each Kindness, which won the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award. Jacqueline is also a recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement for her contributions to young adult literature. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York. View titles by Jacqueline Woodson
Rafael López (rafaellopez.com) won Pura Belpré medals for Drum Dream Girl and Book Fiesta, and has also received three Pura Belpré honors, two Américas Book Awards, and the 2017 Tomás Rivera Children's Book Award and Society of Illustrators Original Art Silver Medal. His work has been featured in Communication ArtsAmerican Illustration AnnualGraphic Design USA and Huffington Post. He's a founder of San Diego's Urban Art Trail movement, created seven US Postal Stamps, and created official posters for the '08 and '12 Obama-Biden campaigns. He lives in San Diego, California, and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. View titles by Rafael López
Praise for The Year We Learned to Fly:

★ “Two Black siblings use their imaginations to escape their immediate surroundings throughout the seasons in this picture book by previous collaborators Woodson and López (The Day You Begin). . . . Learning to soar 'from the people who came before,' the children are told both that their feelings have been experienced by others, and that “nobody can ever cuff/ your brilliant and beautiful mind,” a lesson they pass on in turn. Energetic layered multimedia illustrations accompany the poetically repeating lines, vividly depicting winged escapes over images of a slave ship and contemporary real-world high-rises.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

★ ”A narrative rich with literary and visual symbolism, simultaneously simple and profound…With this book, Woodson and Lopez create a path that children may follow as they gain confidence and imagine a way forward no matter what challenges arise." —Booklist, starred review

★ "An intergenerational family story of freedom. . . . López illustrates the inside of the family’s apartment with drab, muted colors that emphasize the children’s confinement. In contrast, the outdoor scenes, illustrated primarily in pastels, exude luminosity and convey the youngsters’ exuberance. . . . The ebullient mixed-media artwork explodes with color and extends the richness of the text. An uplifting story that will inspire kids, especially brown girls and boys, to dream." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

★ "Woodson and López are thankfully, and marvelously, back together. . . . Honoring echoes of the past (masterfully captured in both text and art) with an eye set on the possibilities of the future, this uplifting and honest reflection of the experiences of many children is a perfect example of the power of the picture book. It helps children, through words and art, to be seen and also challenges them to embrace their own power and agency. The many layers of both art and language will provide fodder for rich classroom discussions. . . . A must for any collection, and an outstanding example of the picture book as an artistic and literary form." —School Library Journal, starred review

"Poetic text. . . . The book reminds children that imagination is a powerful tool in any situation, and López’s colorful, eye-pleasing art enhances this message. Readers also are reminded that they have support from the past." —Horn Book

"Like its companion The Day You Begin, this reassuring picture book takes a gentle approach, but the layered storytelling leaves much to explore. While the pandemic is never mentioned, plenty of kids will relate to days on end stuck inside, with hot tempers and short fuses, an experience our young narrator notes with wry humor: 'We fought and frowned and made silent promises to never speak to each other ever again.' The grandmother’s advice moves beyond a general directive to a more specific reference of the siblings’ family ancestry in a scene that showcases López’s luminous art. The grandmother lifts the little girl up into a sky resplendent with yellows and golds foregrounded by a garden of verdant greens with silhouettes of relatives past looking upon them." —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Dynamically illustrated and poetically written. . . . Woodson's expressive text makes each ordeal realistic and accessible, even as the stakes get higher. López's mixed-media art matches Woodson's tone, his figures realistic even as the landscapes become dreamy and fantastical. As with The Day You Begin, this picture book manages to entertain, educate and inspire with the lightest of touches." —Shelf Awareness

About

Jacqueline Woodson and Rafael López's highly anticipated companion to their #1 New York Times bestseller The Day You Begin illuminates the power in each of us to face challenges with confidence.

On a dreary, stuck-inside kind of day, a brother and sister heed their grandmother’s advice: “Use those beautiful and brilliant minds of yours. Lift your arms, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and believe in a thing. Somebody somewhere at some point was just as bored you are now.” And before they know it, their imaginations lift them up and out of their boredom. Then, on a day full of quarrels, it’s time for a trip outside their minds again, and they are able to leave their anger behind. This precious skill, their grandmother tells them, harkens back to the days long before they were born, when their ancestors showed the world the strength and resilience of their beautiful and brilliant minds. Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael Lopez’s dazzling art celebrate the extraordinary ability to lift ourselves up and imagine a better world.

Author

© John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Jacqueline Woodson (www.jacquelinewoodson.com) received a 2023 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, a 2020 MacArthur Fellowship, the 2020 Hans Christian Andersen Award, the 2018 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, and the 2018 Children’s Literature Legacy Award. She was the 2018–2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, and in 2015, she was named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. She received the 2014 National Book Award for her New York Times bestselling memoir Brown Girl Dreaming, which was also a recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award, a Newbery Honor, the NAACP Image Award, and a Sibert Honor. She wrote the adult books Red at the Bone, a New York Times bestseller, and Another Brooklyn, a 2016 National Book Award finalist. Born in Columbus, Ohio, Jacqueline grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, and Brooklyn, New York, and graduated from college with a B.A. in English. She is the author of dozens of award-winning books for young adults, middle graders, and children; among her many accolades, she is a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a four-time National Book Award finalist, and a three-time Coretta Scott King Award winner. Her books include Coretta Scott King Award and NAACP Image Award winner Before the Ever After; New York Times bestsellers The Day You Begin and Harbor Me; The Other Side, Caldecott Honor book Coming On Home Soon; Newbery Honor winners Feathers, Show Way, and After Tupac and D Foster; Miracle's Boys, which received the LA Times Book Prize and the Coretta Scott King Award; and Each Kindness, which won the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award. Jacqueline is also a recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement for her contributions to young adult literature. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York. View titles by Jacqueline Woodson
Rafael López (rafaellopez.com) won Pura Belpré medals for Drum Dream Girl and Book Fiesta, and has also received three Pura Belpré honors, two Américas Book Awards, and the 2017 Tomás Rivera Children's Book Award and Society of Illustrators Original Art Silver Medal. His work has been featured in Communication ArtsAmerican Illustration AnnualGraphic Design USA and Huffington Post. He's a founder of San Diego's Urban Art Trail movement, created seven US Postal Stamps, and created official posters for the '08 and '12 Obama-Biden campaigns. He lives in San Diego, California, and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. View titles by Rafael López

Praise

Praise for The Year We Learned to Fly:

★ “Two Black siblings use their imaginations to escape their immediate surroundings throughout the seasons in this picture book by previous collaborators Woodson and López (The Day You Begin). . . . Learning to soar 'from the people who came before,' the children are told both that their feelings have been experienced by others, and that “nobody can ever cuff/ your brilliant and beautiful mind,” a lesson they pass on in turn. Energetic layered multimedia illustrations accompany the poetically repeating lines, vividly depicting winged escapes over images of a slave ship and contemporary real-world high-rises.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

★ ”A narrative rich with literary and visual symbolism, simultaneously simple and profound…With this book, Woodson and Lopez create a path that children may follow as they gain confidence and imagine a way forward no matter what challenges arise." —Booklist, starred review

★ "An intergenerational family story of freedom. . . . López illustrates the inside of the family’s apartment with drab, muted colors that emphasize the children’s confinement. In contrast, the outdoor scenes, illustrated primarily in pastels, exude luminosity and convey the youngsters’ exuberance. . . . The ebullient mixed-media artwork explodes with color and extends the richness of the text. An uplifting story that will inspire kids, especially brown girls and boys, to dream." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

★ "Woodson and López are thankfully, and marvelously, back together. . . . Honoring echoes of the past (masterfully captured in both text and art) with an eye set on the possibilities of the future, this uplifting and honest reflection of the experiences of many children is a perfect example of the power of the picture book. It helps children, through words and art, to be seen and also challenges them to embrace their own power and agency. The many layers of both art and language will provide fodder for rich classroom discussions. . . . A must for any collection, and an outstanding example of the picture book as an artistic and literary form." —School Library Journal, starred review

"Poetic text. . . . The book reminds children that imagination is a powerful tool in any situation, and López’s colorful, eye-pleasing art enhances this message. Readers also are reminded that they have support from the past." —Horn Book

"Like its companion The Day You Begin, this reassuring picture book takes a gentle approach, but the layered storytelling leaves much to explore. While the pandemic is never mentioned, plenty of kids will relate to days on end stuck inside, with hot tempers and short fuses, an experience our young narrator notes with wry humor: 'We fought and frowned and made silent promises to never speak to each other ever again.' The grandmother’s advice moves beyond a general directive to a more specific reference of the siblings’ family ancestry in a scene that showcases López’s luminous art. The grandmother lifts the little girl up into a sky resplendent with yellows and golds foregrounded by a garden of verdant greens with silhouettes of relatives past looking upon them." —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Dynamically illustrated and poetically written. . . . Woodson's expressive text makes each ordeal realistic and accessible, even as the stakes get higher. López's mixed-media art matches Woodson's tone, his figures realistic even as the landscapes become dreamy and fantastical. As with The Day You Begin, this picture book manages to entertain, educate and inspire with the lightest of touches." —Shelf Awareness

Books for Black History Month

Join Penguin Random House Education in celebrating the contributions of Black authors and illustrators. In honor of Black History Month in February, we are highlighting essential fiction and nonfiction to be shared and discussed by students and teachers alike. Black History Month – Elementary Explore additional books by Black creators that will educate, empower, and

Read more

PRH Education Translanguaging Collections

Translanguaging is a communicative practice of bilinguals and multilinguals, that is, it is a practice whereby bilinguals and multilinguals use their entire linguistic repertoire to communicate and make meaning (García, 2009; García, Ibarra Johnson, & Seltzer, 2017)   It is through that lens that we have partnered with teacher educators and bilingual education experts, Drs.

Read more

PRH Education Classroom Libraries

“Books are a students’ passport to entering and actively participating in a global society with the empathy, compassion, and knowledge it takes to become the problem solvers the world needs.” –Laura Robb   Research shows that reading and literacy directly impacts students’ academic success and personal growth. To help promote the importance of daily independent

Read more

Celebrating Juneteenth

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. It commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce the freedom of the more than 250,000 enslaved Black people in Texas. The newly freed Black Americans observed Juneteenth as a celebration of freedom and

Read more

Books for Black History Month

Join Penguin Random House in celebrating the contributions of Black Authors, Creators and Educators all year long. In honor of Black History Month, we are highlighting stories that reaffirm the youth, innocence, and humanity of Black children to instill confidence in them every day. Penguin Random House remains committed to supporting the next generation of Black

Read more