This Is a School

by John Schu (Author) Veronica Miller Jamison (Illustrator)

Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

A moving celebration of school and all it may signify: work and play, creativity and trust, and a supportive community that extends beyond walls.

A school isn't just a building; it is all the people who work and learn together. It is a place for discovery and asking questions. A place for sharing, for helping, and for community. It is a place of hope and healing, even when that community can't be together in the same room. John Schu, a librarian and former ambassador of school libraries for Scholastic, crafts a loving letter to schools and the people that make up the communities within in a picture book debut beautifully illustrated by Veronica Miller Jamison.

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Publisher's Weekly

Making his picture book debut, librarian and book advocate Schu invites readers into a school community in which all voices are heard, each person learns, and everyone—and everything, including the plants in the school garden—grows. Starting with the school’s most basic unit (“This is a kid”), spreads pull back to reveal a brick building where children and adults of various abilities, ethnicities, and skin tones come and go, learning, talking, and working. Narration that spotlights “we” and mixed-media spreads by Miller Jamison (A Computer Called Katherine) focus on the communal rather than the individual. Learning means that things can be uncomfortable: “Sometimes we don’t have all the answers. Other days we just feel stuck.” In the spreads that follow, a child who’s “stuck” on a math lesson gets help from teachers and from a fellow student, too. Jamison’s palette uses a full spectrum of gently faded colors in friendly, sun-bleached spreads and vignettes. This introduction to school communities shows children what happens inside a classroom via a vision of school at its best—one that leaves readers with a sense of belonging and inclusion. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Molly O’Neill, Root Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Lori Kilkelly, LK Literary. (Mar.)

Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.


Starred Review
Schu emphasizes the school as a community, where growth, celebrations, transformations, and work all occur, providing a reassuring introduction to this near-universal experience.



John Schu

John Schu has made a career out of advocating for the people and things he cares about most: kids, books, and the people that connect them. He was named a Library Journal Mover and Shaker for his dynamic interactions with students and his passionate adoption of new technologies as a means of connecting authors, illustrators, books, and readers. He is the children’s librarian for Bookelicious, a part-time lecturer at Rutgers University, and shares his love of reading with countless educators and students around the world. He served as the Ambassador of School Libraries for Scholastic Book Fairs for almost 6 years.

He is the author of This Is a School (Candlewick Press, 2022) illustrated by Veronica Miller Jamison, This Is a Story (Candlewick Press, 2023) illustrated by Caldecott Honor artist Lauren Castillo, Louder Than Hunger (Candlewick, 2024) and The Gift of Story: Exploring the Affective Side of the Reading Life (Stenhouse, 2022). He is a contributor to The Creativity Project (Little, Brown, 2018), edited by Colby Sharp. John Schu lives in Naperville, Illinois.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Candlewick Press (MA)
Publication date
March 29, 2022
BISAC categories
JUV039060 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Friendship
JUV039090 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | New Experience
JUV035000 - Juvenile Fiction | School & Education
Library of Congress categories

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