I don’t think there’s a more excited human in Hoboken than me right now. Because, wait for it, I LOVE when it’s time for my daughter to head back to school.
Now, before everyone panics, I’m obviously obsessed with my daughter. She’s weird and funny and likes to play “what if”, a made up game where we think through scenarios like what if we were stuck on Jupiter, what if Wonder Woman came to our house, and what if the mummies at the Natural History Museum sprang up and chased us around. (True story, btw, and we would let them run around while we placed one foot on a loose part of their wrapping and wait till they came undone. I know, it’s a strange game.) But summers are exhausting between camp, after care, trips to the water park, and the carefully stitched together patchwork of childcare that constantly feels like it’ll unravel.
I love having her around and eating ice cream in the sunshine, but OMG, I really love dropping her off to school on my way to work. I know she’s happy there and learning all sorts of new things, exploring, and hanging with other curious little people. This year was a big one for us - she was going to be in a class with all brand new faces, and some older kids, and I was a little worried about what that transition would be like. And the truth is, we’re all nervous sometimes, and I wanted her to be able to have the tools to work through the nerves, whenever they creep up.
Enter Lena’s Shoes are Nervous: A First Day of School Dilemma. (Worth noting I didn’t read her the “A First Day of School Dilemma” bit. She wasn’t having a dilemma quite then and I wasn’t trying to cause one.)
I loved the story right away because Lena isn’t the one having the crisis, her shoes are! Her worried soles don’t want to go to the “big and loud and different” school so Lena enlists her green headband - who's friends with everyone, of course - to do the negotiating. A sweet story about bravery, friendship, empathy, and problem solving. And it’s an easy way to start a conversation with a kid about jitters. Plus, the teachable stuff isn’t heavy-handed, so kids won’t feel like they are getting a lesson.
What makes you nervous?
What do you do when you’re nervous?
What makes me nervous?
What was the most fun thing you did at school today?
Did you make any new friends at school this week? Can you tell me about them?
If you’re feeling inspired, tag us in some pictures of you and your minis reading. (You can find us at @LittleHoboken. Also, if I can ever answer any book questions, feel free to holler.)
Mention Little Hoboken’s Little Book Club at Little City Books and get 10% off “Lena’s Shoes are Nervous” for the month of September.
Raakhee Mirchandani is a writer, editor, and pediatric cancer crusader. Her first children’s book, “Super Satya Saves the Day”, inspired by her daughter and set in Hoboken will be out 10/2 with a special pre launch event at Little City Books on 9/30. You can pre-order the book here.