Author: Kevin Henkes
Grade Level: Pre-K- Grade 2
Year Published: 2000
Wemberly Worried is a book that is all about worrying. Narrated by Wemberly, the book starts off by describing all the times that she is worried (which is ALL of the time). She also talks about her family's reaction to her worrying. They think that she should stop worrying. One of the subjects that gives Wemberly the most anxiety is school. She worries about all the things that could happen at school, and she gives the impression that they are the worst things in the world that could happen! When she gets to school, she meets a friend named Jewel. After meeting Jewel, Wemberly starts to forget about her worries and enjoy school and her new friend.
About the Author
Kevin Henkes is a celebrated children's author that has written and illustrated books that have been used in classrooms very frequently. He has been writing/illustrating for over thirty years, and truly loves his job. Kevin was born in 1960 in Racine, Wisconsin. He grew up with a great love for reading, and would spend hours reading and looking at illustrations in books. He also paid many a visit to the Charles A. Wustum Museum of Fine Arts. These visits were very influential, and fostered an early love for art. Kevin published his first picture book in 1981, and has been extremely successful ever since. Some of his most famous titles include Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse and Kitten's First Full Moon. He has also published eleven novels.
How to Use it
This book exemplifies many themes, and the biggest one is anxiety about school. Seeing Wemberly worried about so many different things gives kids an avenue to relate to her and talk about their own feelings.
Pre-Reading: Have a class discussion about the first day of school. Before you begin this activity, have children sit next to assigned partners. How did you feel in the morning? How did you feel when you got to school? Were you worried about anything in particular?Did you feel excited? After asking each of these questions, have students turn and talk about their answer with their partners before sharing with the class.
Post-Reading: Interactive Writing: On chart paper, generate a list as a class entitled "What did Wemberly Worry About?" Record students ideas on the chart paper, then have a class discussion about if they have ever worried about similar things. Make a prediction with the class: Do they think that Wemberly will continue to worry about things as much as she did in this story?
What do I Think?
I absolutely adore this book. The past two years, I have used it on the second or third day of school in my first grade classroom. Students are always riveted by the story, and the discussion that stems from using it has eased many worried faces. Often, students don't even realize that they were/are worried about school, and this books helps them to confront their feelings. Also, seeing Wemberly worry so much helps them to realize that maybe they didn't need to be worried! We also talk about how Wemberly made a friend, and this year I led the discussion toward friendship and making new friends. This book is a gem. I highly recommend for use in any K-2 classroom in the beginning of the year.