Welcome to School Book

With “It Began with a Song” by Katrina Morse

A partnership project of:IBWSshadowWEB

Local Schools
Family Reading Partnership
Jerry Dietz
M&T Bank

We like the project because “all these kids from varied backgrounds have a common experience — the book. Also it makes registration quite magical.” — Randi Beckmann, Kindergarten Teacher, Belle Sherman Elementary School


New kindergartners throughout Tompkins County and two adjacent towns receive a brand new book entitled “It Began with a Song” at kindergarten registrations each spring. This special Welcome to School Book is a gift from the child’s new school. It includes an enclosure with a personalized message about the importance of reading aloud, a note to “readers to be” from author/illustrator Katrina Morse, encouragement to use the library, and information about making books a part of everyday, summer, family fun. Contributions to buy books are donated by individual schools, PTAs, and school councils, and are matched by M&T Bank and Jerry Dietz.

  • Increase book ownership in all families.
  • Build books into community transitions and traditions.
  • Use quality children’s literature as a vehicle to promote family reading practices.
  • Begin a positive home school relationship by providing schools with a book for families.
  • Connect the excitement of beginning school with the pleasure of books.
  • Give children a tangible representation of school to have for the summer.
  • Give children a common “book experience” as they enter school.
  • Build a “classroom community”
  • Smooth the transition to school.
The Book

“It Began with a Song” by Ithaca author/illustrator Katrina Morse, was chosen as the new Welcome to School Book for the 2017-18 school year for its theme of new beginnings, friendship, and creating community, with age-appropriate text and beautiful illustrations. Welcome to School Books given in past years are “Feathers for Lunch” by Lois Ehlert, “Hattie and the Fox” by Mem Fox, “How Rocket Learned to Read,” by Tad Hills, and “A Splendid Friend, Indeed” by Suzanne Bloom.