Excellent Confetti - July 28, 2022 | Kids Out and About Denver

Excellent Confetti

July 28, 2022

Debra Ross

Alexandra Penfold is the children's picture book author of such books as Eat, Sleep, Poop, Big Feelings, and others. I'm a little late to her party, but I'm here now. In 2018, she wrote on Twitter:


This weekend I sorted through some papers my mom saved from my childhood. The top one is my 4th grade self evaluation.

Writing. I love to write and I hope to become an author someday.

The bottom, my 4th grade state test score.

Score: 4 of 8. This student is minimally proficient in writing.

Random House published my 6th book last week.


The past four years have brought Penfold additional success: a few more titles and several Spanish editions. Her 8th book, All Are Neighbors, will be published next month.

Just imagine if Alexandra Penfold had let some standardized school test dictate the theme of her party! What if, at age 9, she had internalized what it meant to score 4 out of 8 on her writing sample, or if she had internalized that label of "minimally proficient"? We wouldn't have Food Truck Fest or Todo el mundo cabe aquí or The Littlest Viking. The kid-lit world would be a poorer place.

As we gear up for a new school year, it's good to keep in mind that we educate our kids not to place them on someone else's Bell Curve but to give them all the equipment and skills they need to throw the party of their lives. And it will be THEIR party. Not the school's, not their peers', not some state agency's, not even yours. You get to watch from the sidelines as it slowly finds its rhythm and then gets into full swing.

I hear shredded test scores make excellent confetti.

Deb