Skip to Main Content

Graduation Groove

Illustrated by Addy Rivera Sonda
Published by little bee books
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

"This book is a great addition on the topic of entering first grade, even more so because it features students and teachers of many races, ethnicities, and abilities, in an engaging and joyous school environment."-School Library Journal

"A bubbly kindergartner crew of varying abilities and skin tones keeps a jaunty beat during preparations for their continuation to first grade...Rivera Sonda's sunny illustrations add to the book's friendly, assuring vibe about moving on from-and into-beloved experiences."-Publishers Weekly

"Myriad books talk about the first day of school; few address the other end of that rite of passage: kindergarten graduation. The kids' exuberance can barely be contained on the pages. A solid pick for the end of a momentous year."-Kirkus Reviews

Got the graduation groove in my kindergarten feet. I'm zipping up my gown to a first-grade beat.

Graduate from kindergarten in style, dancing all the way to first grade!

It's time to graduate from kindergarten!
This book celebrates all of the things that make kindergarten great. From classmates to projects, teachers to pets, kindergarten is full of amazing experiences. Graduating from kindergarten and starting first grade is an important milestone in every kid's life. Whether you're excited or nervous, this book is perfect for your special day and will help you dance to first grade!

In this celebration of the transition from kindergarten to first grade, snappy, rhythmic text follows a group of kindergartners who are diverse in race and ability as they express their exuberance and readiness to move on to the next grade. Each page offers four stanzas in a repeated pattern, starting with "Got the graduation groove in my kindergarten heart/brain/head/hands," and finishing with two lines about first grade. The illustrations show the students preparing for a graduation ceremony, complete with blue caps and gowns. The tone is ebullient, at least until one of the children crosses the stage, experiencing a moment of nervousness and reluctance about moving on. The children's faces are fairly uniform, with dots for eyes and little button noses. The vignettes, often in the form of scrapbook pictures depicting the highlights of the year, are merged with swirls of dots, stars, and musical notes. ­VERDICT This book is a great addition on the topic of entering first grade, even more so because it features students and teachers of many races, ethnicities, and abilities, in an engaging and joyous school environment.

– School Library Journal

A bubbly kindergartner crew of varying abilities and skin tones keeps a jaunty beat during preparations for their continuation to first grade. Heling and Hembrook highlight anticipation as the kids don blue caps and gowns, pose for photos, and remember how far they've come in lines that highlight kindergarten experiences: "Got the graduation groove/ in my kindergarten heart./ Know my letters and my numbers,/ feeling first-grade smart." For one brown-skinned child getting ready to take the graduation stage, everything freezes momentarily as "first-grade jitters" take hold. Though "I'll really miss our hamster/ and projects that we made," the friendly faces of family and an enthusiastic audience help the figure get things back on track, head to the class party, and look forward to a new year. Rivera Sonda's sunny illustrations add to the book's friendly, assuring vibe about moving on from-and into-beloved experiences.

– Publishers Weekly

Myriad books talk about the first day of school; few address the other end of that rite of passage: kindergarten graduation. Combining scenes of the kindergarten students as their day progresses toward that fateful moment onstage with mentions of body parts in the rollicking verses, Heling and Hembrook really maximize the beat. The kids' exuberance can barely be contained on the pages. A solid pick for the end of a momentous year

– Kirkus Reviews