Chu’s First Day of School by Neil Gaiman is about a sneezing, boy panda who is nervous about his first day of school and the fear of not being accepted. This picture book could be used as a class read-aloud on the first day of school or as a way to discuss that everyone is different and that we all have strengths and weaknesses. It can also be used to discuss the theme of acceptance. There are a few pages in the middle where there are no words and would lend itself for some inferencing to happen as well.
The classroom that Chu is a part of can be considered diverse due to the fact that it is composed of a variety of animals ranging from a snail to a rhino. Many of the animals are stereotyped, such as the giraffe’s favorite thing to do is “get things down from high place” or Pablo the monkey likes to “climb up things.”
In the end, Chu is no longer nervous about school and returns home to his family that consists of a mother and father panda.
Here are some lesson resources that can be used with this text: