I Wish You Knew
When Estrella’s father has to leave because
he wasn’t born here, like her,
She misses him.
And she wishes people knew the way it affects her.
At home. At school.
But a school wrapped around a hundred-year-old oak tree is the perfect place to share and listen.
Some kids miss family,
Some kids are hungry,
Some kids live in shelters.
But nobody is alone.
A story about deportation, divided families, and the importance of community in the midst of uncertainty.
Praise For I Wish You Knew…
"Kramer’s homage to the “I Wish My Teacher Knew” movement draws attention to the many hardships children experience at home while still trying to succeed in school. The examples given are particularly poignant. Mora’s soft, mixed-media illustrations reflect a diverse and dynamic classroom and sympathetically portray many of the challenges faced by children. For success in school, the importance of empathy and compassion can’t be overstated."—Kirkus Reviews
"At the center of Estrella’s school is an old oak tree—a locus for the children and their teacher to explore, learn, play, and share their thoughts and fears. . . A teacher sees Estrella and, with the help of the all-knowing oak, finds a way to invite her and the other students to share the things they wish the teacher knew. The cheerful colors mirror the warmth and playfulness in the scenes of the school community, representing hope, which is ultimately the message. . . This mediation on social and emotional communication will prompt readers, old and young, to open up about their vulnerabilities."—Booklist
"Kramer’s latest tells the story of Estrella, a young girl whose father was not born in the United States as she was. During the school year, he has to return to his home country and Estrella is left to deal with his absence. With a hardworking mother and a scared brother, Estrella is stressed out and wishes that others at her school understood what she was going through. Her teacher sets up sessions that allow her students to share “what I wish you knew” with her and their classmates, either anonymously or aloud. This gentle story embodies the social media movement #IWishMyTeacherKnew that has helped build community and strong school relationships across the country. An author’s note describes her childhood, and the inspiration for this true story. Mora’s soft watercolor illustrations depict a diverse student population. Estrella’s memories of her father and experiences with her brother and mother after her father leaves are duller grays, conveying a sadder mood. VERDICT: Estrella and her classmates’ experiences are all too common and children will relate, if not for themselves, for others, to this compassionate recommended purchase."—School Library Journal
Roaring Brook Press, 9781250226303, 32pp.
Publication Date: May 25, 2021
About the Author
Magdalena Mora is a Minneapolis-based illustrator and graphic designer with a special interest in children's books and visual storytelling. She has illustrated Deborah Diesen's Equality's Call and Jackie Azúa Kramer's I Wish You Knew. When not drawing, she spends her free time reading, people-gawking, and trying to find the best tacos in the Twin Cities. Mostly the latter.