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Saturday Is Swimming Day

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New things can be scary -- but as one endearing little girl discovers, it's perfectly fine to take your time. Swimming lessons are on Saturdays, and every Saturday one little girl has a stomachache. When she gets to the pool it's loud, the floor is wet and slippery, and her swim cap is too tight. Her swimming instructor, Mary, says it's OK to sit by the edge if she doesn't New things can be scary -- but as one endearing little girl discovers, it's perfectly fine to take your time. Swimming lessons are on Saturdays, and every Saturday one little girl has a stomachache. When she gets to the pool it's loud, the floor is wet and slippery, and her swim cap is too tight. Her swimming instructor, Mary, says it's OK to sit by the edge if she doesn't want to get in the water this week. The next Saturday the girl has a stomachache again, but with Mary's gentle encouragement, she eventually manages to make it into the pool to practice her kicks. Little by little, the girl's confidence grows -- until one Saturday comes around when she has no stomachache at all! In a charming and relatable story about trying something new, author-illustrator Hyewon Yum shows that sometimes a little bravery and a lot of patience are all you need to face your fear.


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New things can be scary -- but as one endearing little girl discovers, it's perfectly fine to take your time. Swimming lessons are on Saturdays, and every Saturday one little girl has a stomachache. When she gets to the pool it's loud, the floor is wet and slippery, and her swim cap is too tight. Her swimming instructor, Mary, says it's OK to sit by the edge if she doesn't New things can be scary -- but as one endearing little girl discovers, it's perfectly fine to take your time. Swimming lessons are on Saturdays, and every Saturday one little girl has a stomachache. When she gets to the pool it's loud, the floor is wet and slippery, and her swim cap is too tight. Her swimming instructor, Mary, says it's OK to sit by the edge if she doesn't want to get in the water this week. The next Saturday the girl has a stomachache again, but with Mary's gentle encouragement, she eventually manages to make it into the pool to practice her kicks. Little by little, the girl's confidence grows -- until one Saturday comes around when she has no stomachache at all! In a charming and relatable story about trying something new, author-illustrator Hyewon Yum shows that sometimes a little bravery and a lot of patience are all you need to face your fear.

30 review for Saturday Is Swimming Day

  1. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    This book is totally terrific. I'm smitten with the illustrations, especially once the narrator gets to the pool—her and all the characters' gestures and expressions are perfect. The narrator is scared of swimming and gets a "stomachache" every Saturday. I so enjoyed seeing the MC gradually progress because of her patient teacher and then experience accomplishment and connection with others. A triumph and joy!

  2. 4 out of 5

    KC

    This is a great story of a young girl who needs to confront her fears of the swimming pool and was able to because of a kind and caring swim instructor. Being a former Aquatic Director, this is key to success.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Alex (not a dude) Baugh

    A young girl has been signed up by her mother for Saturday morning swimming lessons and she isn't very happy about it. The first Saturday, she says she has a stomachache, but with no fever, she is off to the pool. And spends the time standing by the wall, watching the other kids have fun during their lesson. The next week, she gets as far as sitting on the edge of the pool, watching the other kids have fun during their lesson. But the third week, Mary, the instructor, helps the girl get into the A young girl has been signed up by her mother for Saturday morning swimming lessons and she isn't very happy about it. The first Saturday, she says she has a stomachache, but with no fever, she is off to the pool. And spends the time standing by the wall, watching the other kids have fun during their lesson. The next week, she gets as far as sitting on the edge of the pool, watching the other kids have fun during their lesson. But the third week, Mary, the instructor, helps the girl get into the pool and by the end of the lesson, she is a more willing beginning swimmer (with lots more lessons to go). This is a sensitive, simple story about fear of the water, a fear that many young kids experience, and overcoming it. The real beauty of this story is not only that the girl gets past her fear and begins to enjoy learning to swim, but that the adults, her mom and Mary, don't pressure her, and let her come to the water in her own time. Hyewon Yum's watercolor and colored pencil illustrations are done in a palette of pool blues and tile whites, with lots of colorful bathing suits. Pair this book with Jabari Jumps for your young swimmers.

  4. 5 out of 5

    June

    A feel-good story about the fear of something new and that with the help of a patient teacher one can discover something new to enjoy. Plus, multicultural aspect of illustrations.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Michele Knott

    Young readers will relate to the topic. A good book to show that growth mindset can also occur over time.

  6. 3 out of 5

    Sandy Brehl

    When little Mary wakes one Saturday morning feeling ill, there's no malingering involved. Those Saturdays circled on her wall calendar were not marked in happy anticipation. They indicate the mornings for Mary to go to swimming lessons and hee misery is deeply felt. On the surface (my pun on that threatening water surface is intentional), this is clearly a story for little kiddos who are afraid of the pool, or some other mundane childhood experience. It's there, and it's well done. But I'll argue When little Mary wakes one Saturday morning feeling ill, there's no malingering involved. Those Saturdays circled on her wall calendar were not marked in happy anticipation. They indicate the mornings for Mary to go to swimming lessons and hee misery is deeply felt. On the surface (my pun on that threatening water surface is intentional), this is clearly a story for little kiddos who are afraid of the pool, or some other mundane childhood experience. It's there, and it's well done. But I'll argue with anyone who says that it is ONLY that. Just as easily as many would plunge right into that pool, we can dive deeper and see that this is a universal human story. Granted, there are many kids (and older folks) who embrace adventures, challenges, even change itself with a full-throated COWABUNGA. I believe, though, that even those brave souls have at some time encountered something that caused a twinge in their guts, put a wobble in their chins. It would be a something that they recognize as not only scary for them but thrilling to peers. A something that doesn't appear to have the least bit of scary attached, and yet... that gut feeling screams danger! May each of us have someone to coax us through those times. Someone like Mary's swim teacher. Someone who knows when to stay within reach and when to step away. Someone whose wisdom allows us to own our success and face the next challenge confidently. This is yet another testament to the truth that picture books are not only for the young.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tasha

    A little girl wakes up with a stomach ache on Saturday, worried about her swimming lesson. When they get to the pool, it is loud and cold and wet. She doesn’t enter the pool at all, only getting wet when she takes a shower afterwards. The next week, she has a stomach ache again. This time, her instructor asks her to try getting in the pool and gently encourages her to try some movements in the water. The following week, she doesn’t have a stomach ache at all! She tries bobbing her head and even A little girl wakes up with a stomach ache on Saturday, worried about her swimming lesson. When they get to the pool, it is loud and cold and wet. She doesn’t enter the pool at all, only getting wet when she takes a shower afterwards. The next week, she has a stomach ache again. This time, her instructor asks her to try getting in the pool and gently encourages her to try some movements in the water. The following week, she doesn’t have a stomach ache at all! She tries bobbing her head and even floating on her back, though she’d like her instructor nearby at first. This picture book looks positively at giving children time to adjust to new experiences and yet to continue encouraging them to try new things. Yum captures the feelings of a child learning to swim. It is a frightening experience at first, filled with echoing noise, dampness and others enjoying it far more. All of the adults in the little girl’s life allow her time to be brave and don’t push in a negative way. The book is told her voice, so she demonstrates on her own how her viewpoint changes over time and the experience becomes positive and source of pride for her. Yum’s illustrations are expressive and center on the little girl in each image. She uses watercolors very successfully to capture the flow of the water in the pool and its blue depths. Against that softer texture, the characters pop in bright colors as they swim, or don’t swim yet. A winning book that shows how bravery sometimes takes time. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

  8. 3 out of 5

    Michelle

    I'm a sucker for beautiful illustrations and I fell in love with Saturday is Swimming Day for that very reason. But this book is more than some pretty drawings. It's also a very sweet story about some things in life can be very scary, but with the right people and encouragement, we can do anything we set our minds to. A little girl has swimming lessons on Saturday but her stomach hurts so she really shouldn't go. Her mom checks her over and doesn't find anything wrong so she gets her swimming su I'm a sucker for beautiful illustrations and I fell in love with Saturday is Swimming Day for that very reason. But this book is more than some pretty drawings. It's also a very sweet story about some things in life can be very scary, but with the right people and encouragement, we can do anything we set our minds to. A little girl has swimming lessons on Saturday but her stomach hurts so she really shouldn't go. Her mom checks her over and doesn't find anything wrong so she gets her swimming suit packed and off to lessons they go. Luckily, our little girl has a very understanding teacher and lets her sit by the pool while she waits for her stomach to feel better. But it never feels better so she never gets in the pool. When the next Saturday comes around, our little girl has another stomach ache. This time, her teacher offers to hold her so she can practice some swimming like the other kids. With help and guidance, our little girl gains the confidence she needs to not be scared of the pool. With beautiful illustrations and simple text, this story will be very helpful to little ones who need some extra help feeling confident.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    Saturday is Swimming Day is a story told by a little girl who is feeling uncertain about taking swimming lessons. On her calendar, the Saturdays are circled in red, marked off for time in the pool. Yum’s soft watercolor and colored pencil illustrations are a perfect match for the tentative mood of the narrative. At the beginning, as the little girl pretends to be sick to get out of going to swimming lessons, even her stuffed bear and the strawberry decorations on her bathing suit seem to be frow Saturday is Swimming Day is a story told by a little girl who is feeling uncertain about taking swimming lessons. On her calendar, the Saturdays are circled in red, marked off for time in the pool. Yum’s soft watercolor and colored pencil illustrations are a perfect match for the tentative mood of the narrative. At the beginning, as the little girl pretends to be sick to get out of going to swimming lessons, even her stuffed bear and the strawberry decorations on her bathing suit seem to be frowning. When the very small girl stands alone under the tall locker room shower against the blank white page, the reader can completely feel her discomfort and sadness. The story follows several weeks in which she watches the other children have fun and she receives calm support from the instructor until she is ready to participate. It’s a great depiction of adults giving a child time to get used to something and succeed on her own terms.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jana

    When I was a little kid, swimming lessons were very scary for me. I was afraid to put my face in the water and I never truly believed I would float if the swimming teacher took her hands away. It wasn't until I was in fourth grade and some after school lessons at the YMCA that I finally learned how to swim. Young readers will be able to relate to the little girl in this awesome picture book. On Saturdays, she attends swimming lessons and she starts out with a stomachache each time, but the very When I was a little kid, swimming lessons were very scary for me. I was afraid to put my face in the water and I never truly believed I would float if the swimming teacher took her hands away. It wasn't until I was in fourth grade and some after school lessons at the YMCA that I finally learned how to swim. Young readers will be able to relate to the little girl in this awesome picture book. On Saturdays, she attends swimming lessons and she starts out with a stomachache each time, but the very patient teacher figures out a way to ease the little girl's fears until she is finally able to float on her own. The artwork, rendered in watercolor and colored pencil, used soft and welcoming tones to tell this story of overcoming one's fears.

  11. 3 out of 5

    Amanda

    Saturday is Swimming Day. Somerville, Candlewick, 2018. Seemingly simple watercolor blooms on the endpapers, but that shade of blue allows the reader to dive into a relatable story about how fear can hold us back from the opportunity to learn something that might become a passion. The intersection of watercolor with color pencil vividly and gorgeously brings alive this tale. The pages with the pool have so much fluidity and movement because of the shading and blooming. So lovely. I adore the mai Saturday is Swimming Day. Somerville, Candlewick, 2018. Seemingly simple watercolor blooms on the endpapers, but that shade of blue allows the reader to dive into a relatable story about how fear can hold us back from the opportunity to learn something that might become a passion. The intersection of watercolor with color pencil vividly and gorgeously brings alive this tale. The pages with the pool have so much fluidity and movement because of the shading and blooming. So lovely. I adore the main character’s fruit-themed clothes; in fact, I want them. And I really love how Yum roots fear in the belly with a stomach-ache to show how the body provides emotional feedback, even at young age—a good reminder for adults too. A book that should be involved in Caldecott conversations, for sure.

  12. 3 out of 5

    Juliana Lee

    The little girl narrates her own story about not wanting to go to swimming lessons on Saturdays. She tries to convince her mother and swimming teacher that she has a stomachache. The first time she goes, she stands alone by the wall. The second week she goes in only with the teacher and practices at home in the bathtub. By the end of the story, she is confident and looks forward to swimming lessons.

  13. 3 out of 5

    Becky

    This is a WONDERFUL first time swim lessons book. Our character has realistic reactions and concerns, and the adults don't give her dumb adult reactions. It's wonderful. It's a slow confidence build that reflects real life instead of being insta-perfect at a new skill. My only complaint is the swim caps. Because nobody wears those.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Shoshana

    A little girl is scared of her swim lessons, but eventually overcomes her fear and learns to love swimming. I like that the teacher was patient with her, and that the fear did not go away right away. I also liked the the family appears multiracial. Definitely a good recommendation for someone learning about perseverance. Or just for someone starting swim lessons!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Susan Kennedy

    This is a marvelous mentor text for primary students in narrative and small moments. With minimal words, the main character’s emotions and strategies are on clear display. Thanks Jennifer Serravallo for this recommendation from Summer Camp. Pair with Jabari Jumps for great kickstart of summer memories.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I took swimming lessons as a little, little kid on Saturdays and was terrified--the water was always freezing cold, the pool was gargantuan, and my tummy hurt the entire time. This book is so real for me; it's good to read something that shows kids triumphing over their fears.

  17. 3 out of 5

    Maureen

    As a child, I would identify with the little girl who is afraid to swim and feels left out when all of the other children seem to have no fear. As an adult, I cried for the child, cheered for the child, and finally, just wanted to jump in the book and give her a great big hug!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Pam

    A young girl is scared to go swimming. She tries the stomach ache option but her mom takes her anyway. Eventually she discovers she can swim and likes being in the water. Lovely illustrations capture the emotions on each page.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    As a mother of a boy who is fearful of swimming, this was a wonderful book. We enjoyed reading together and talking about the character's feelings and her actions. It's a beautiful and realistic story.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cecilia

    This picturebook is a master class of baby's first Show-Don't-Tell. You can feel your own stomach knotting up as you read it. The art is done really well. A good book about overcoming anxieties, fears, and maybe even bad memories.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Barbra

    This story is for every child afraid of swimming lessons, or trying other new things in their lives. Scared of entering the pool a young girl finds courage when her teacher gently teaches her she can do it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ruth Anne

    A little girl faces her fear of swimming lessons with gentle guidance from her mother and Mary the instructor. This encouraging story would be useful for young children and a variety of fears or anxieties they may face.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    A little girl is so nervous that she gets "stomaches" every Saturday, just in time for her swimming lesson. But her swim instructor is great. She calmly shows her, over time, that she can float, kick and swim on her own. Any kid, whether or not they take swim lessons, can empathize with this story.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    With the season of swimming lessons upon us, here is the perfect book to use with children who are NOT so sure they want anything to do with the water. Quiet and reassuring, Yum totally gets kids experiencing this fear.

  25. 3 out of 5

    Kelly

    I really enjoyed this little story. A little girl is taking swimming lessons, but is very reluctant to do so. But over time, and with the help of her instructor, she overcomes her trepidation.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jillian Heise

    A beautiful book about facing fears bit by bit. I adore the teacher who is so patient and supportive of this little girl as she learns to swim. Pair this with Jabari Jumps.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Relatable to lots of kids who fear the water.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Beverly

    This story brought back fond memories of learning to swim as a child; and being a swimming teacher as an adult.

  29. 3 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Sweet Story of a little girls fear of the unknown in taking swimming lessons! With the teachers assistance she becomes stronger and a little less fearful to learn to swim along with her friends!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Perfect book for any nervous first-time swimmers.

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