Each month, the Chancellor selects a children’s book that she feels is inspirational and informative for the students, parents, and staff members who make up the City’s public schools. For past book selections, review the “Book of the Month” category right here on The Morning Bell.

I Knew You Could CoverI Knew You Could! A Book for All the Stops in Your Life
By Craig Dorfman
Illustrated by Cristina Ong
Platt & Munk, Publishers, 2003

June is a time of renewal, transition, and growth. It is the month when students, parents, and educators take stock of their accomplishments, identify their areas of improvement, and make plans for the future, whether for the upcoming school year or beyond.

This month’s book selection, I Knew You Could! A Book for All the Stops in Your Life, is perfect for children celebrating milestones as well as adults who are seeking their true path. This story—reminiscent of Dr. Seuss’, Oh, The Places You’ll Go, and the childhood classic, The Little Engine That Could—will also resonate with anyone who has overcome obstacles. The narrator is none other than the little blue engine, who takes readers on a trip past rolling hills, bustling cities, and dark foreboding tunnels, a journey that becomes a metaphor for life.

The book has plenty of wisdom to share:

On finding your track: “Pick out the one that works best for you.”

On perseverance: “Just stay true to yourself as you travel your track, with no second guessing and no looking back.”

On self-doubt: “When your belief in yourself doesn’t feel quite so pure, and your ‘I think I can’ doesn’t sound quite so sure. That’s when to push and to strive and to strain, to show the world you’re not a giving-up train.”

This inspiring story shows us that life is about figuring things out on our own and believing in ourselves. It reminds us as parents and educators that it is our job to help children climb every hill and stay true to their dreams. Teachers and parents can read this book aloud and use it to open discussions with children about trying new things, not getting derailed by the unexpected, and slowing down to enjoy the journey.

Most importantly, we should all follow the little engine’s advice:

“Say, ‘I think I can,’ and you know what? — You will!”

Posted by Carmen Fariña

Former Chancellor of NYC Schools, lifelong educator, native Brooklynite, and proud abuela.