“Mom! Dad! I cannot be late for my first day of school!” Josephine exclaimed. “Just a second, sweetie. I have to get my video camera,” her dad eagerly replied as he finished upstairs. “Do not forget about me!” her mom shouted excitedly as she busily stuffed her laptop into her pouch and files into her briefcase. Josephine was starting her first day of kangaroo class. She had been dreaming of this day and was eager for school to begin. She shoved her colored pencils, pink highlighters, markers, papers, and lunchbox into her pouch. Josephine was ready! Her parents and younger brother Joe hopped down the stairs into the living room where Josephine patiently waited. “Are all of your supplies for this first day of school in your pouch?” her mom calmly asked. Josephine responded with gusto, “Yes, Mom. I have everything I need.” Josephine leaped outside followed by her family.
The school was only a block away, which was perfect hopping distance. Josephine’s dad followed behind his three family members with his trusted video camera. This was surely a day he wanted to remember. “If you need anything, remember that your teacher will help you… got it?” her mom checked. Josephine nodded her head and continued bouncing down the block where she curiously noticed a tiny green stem growing between two cracks along the sidewalk. Absentmindedly, she wondered if this could be the beginning of a beautifully bright, beaming flower.
Finally, they arrived at the school and gathered next to the classroom. Josephine’s eyes and smile grew big as she saw many other kangaroos her age springing through the doorway of the class, forming a small mob. Whispering goodbye, she hugged her mom, dad, and brother. “Have a great first day, Josephine. I will miss you,” her teary-eyed dad whispered back as he kissed the top of her furry head. Josephine told her parents goodbye one last time and confidently hopped into the classroom with her shoulders back and head held high. The teacher, Mrs. Coco, greeted all the students as they entered the classroom and directed them to sit on the oversized, grassy rug in the center of the room. Josephine made her way to the rug and sat next to a few chatty boys.
Mrs. Coco jumped to the front of the room near the board and gleefully announced, “Welcome to kangaroo class! I am delighted that you are all here. We are starting this year with a drawing contest. Please draw something that is meaningful or important to you. Can everyone please take out a piece of paper and colored pencils?” Josephine reached into her pouch and dug for her supplies. She heard a laugh coming from a boy to her left, “Hehehehe-hahahaha. You don’t have a backpack. All the boys in our class have cool, new backpacks. See?” Another boy’s voice chimed in, “Girls just have pouches. Backpacks are for cool kangaroos only.” Until now, Josephine had never thought anything different or negative about her pouch. Embarrassed and confused, she took a big kangaroo breath and listened to her teacher’s drawing instructions.
Gripping a colored pencil in her left forepaw, she brainstormed ideas for her drawing. Josephine got a bright idea. She would draw the tiny green stem growing between two cracks in the sidewalk that she observed on her way to school that morning. She used her imagination to draw what the flower would look like when it blossomed. When Josephine looked over her shoulder, she saw the boys near her drawing baseballs, sports cars, and video game logos. Since it was so different from the others, Josephine wondered if her drawing would be acceptable. As she colored, she also could not stop thinking about the remarks the boys had made about her pouch.
After working for nineteen minutes, Mrs. Coco rang her bell and declared, “It is time for snack. Please turn in your picture, and I will excuse you to go outside and eat.” Josephine hopped to the front of the room and handed her welcoming teacher her abstract artwork. With a smile beaming from ear to ear, Mrs. Coco proclaimed, “Wow! I have never seen a picture like this. I am looking forward to discovering more about your creativity and all the big ideas in your brain, Josephine.” After thanking her teacher, Josephine leaped through the classroom door and headed out to eat. She sat at an empty, round table near beautiful oak trees. Suddenly, a group of five rowdy boys from her class bounced over to the table where she quietly sat. The table was now full of hungry kangaroos. Josephine watched the boys take their snacks out of their bulky backpacks. She timidly slid her petite lunchbox out of her pouch and began to eat her tender leaves and fresh flowers. Boomer, the boy sitting directly across from her yelled, “Hey! No pouches allowed at this table. Backpacks only.” The other boys at the table copied Boomer and nodded their heads in agreement. “What is wrong with a pouch?” Josephine questioned. Boomer answered, “Pouches are strange. Backpacks are for those who are smart. If you have a backpack, you will get a great job someday. Everyone knows that.”