My copy of When It’s the Last Day of School by Maribeth Boelts is missing. With the end of the school year being tomorrow, I’m a bit frantic about finding it. I’m sure it’s at school, in my picture book bookshelf filed under “B” for “Boelts,” however, I’m not 100% sure.
Last year, when I read through the book, I realized that another way to use this book was not just on the last day of school. (However, I haven’t used it since the last day of school in NYC.) You see, Boelts describes items in the text with precision. This book, which is lovely for reading to kids at the end of the school year, can teach kids a lot about the craft of writing with precise details in order to create a crystal-clear image in the reader’s mind. It almost seems like a shame to save this book by Boelts for the last day of the school year, but alas, for the second year in a row, I have.
I wrote down my favorite two pages last year. Here they are so that you can see what I mean about the precise details she uses:
I’ll clean out my desk, and I’ll scrub the top of it with paper towels and the spray stuff that smells like my dentist, and I’ll give my desk three squirts, not a bunch, just like Mrs. Bremwood says.
I’ll load my backpack with my lucky pencil and my leftover crayons and the markers that work and the scissors that don’t and the sucker from a long time ago that I forgot to eat.
Can’t you just picture that dirty desk?
However, there’s something exceedingly charming about this book: The voice of the little boy, who is the main character in the story, and the way in which he goes about everything he wants to do on the last day of the school year. It created a strong, sinking feeling inside of me when I wrote about my reading (of this book), since the end of this school year, just like every other one, is bitter-sweet.
I am a literacy consultant who has spent over a decade working with teachers to improve the teaching of writing in their classrooms. While I work with teachers and students in grade K-6, I'm a former fourth and fifth-grade teacher so I have a passion for working with upper elementary students.
I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).