by Kevin Henkes (2010) Ages 4 to 8
This is the story of a young mouse named Wemberly, who worries about everything — big and small. When she starts school, she shares her long list of worries with a fellow worrier in her class named Jewel. They become friends and Wemberly realizes that school is actually fun!
This is a fantastic book for all students. Wemberly Worried teaches a life lesson about the importance of inclusion. Students who feel excluded may have concerns about coming to school every day, just like Wemberly, who counted this among her worries.
Educators can begin their lesson with the question: What makes you worry? The book will encourage students to express their fears about how they fit in, how others treat them or whether anyone will play with them. As a class, students can develop a list with their teacher about some of their worries and how to deal with them when they are at school.
This is an appropriate topic for students, especially if they are just starting school or have recently moved. Author and illustrator Kevin Henkes does a great job of connecting illustrations and text. The humour in the book is more apparent with repeat readings. In the end, the story shows how finding similarities in others will help us feel included and part of the bigger community.