Friday, August 2, 2013
by Hyewon Yum; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary Foster/Farrar 40 pp.
A young girl describes her home in terms of her family’s history, starting with, “This is the house where my grandparents arrived from far away with just two suitcases in hand.” The girl associates tangible aspects of the house and neighborhood (a tree, the street, the stairs) with meaningful kid-milestones and memories such as her mother learning to walk on the sidewalk outside the building. Time passes; Mom leaves for college, then returns “with the boyfriend who would be my father.” The young couple moves in, and new memories and milestones are celebrated, but some things remain constant (“This is the street where I learned to walk, just like my mom”). Yum’s rosy-cheeked, smiling characters and bright, expressive mixed-media illustrations (line and watercolor wash with homey smudges of crayon or pastel), some of which are set up in picture frames to reinforce the family-history theme, offer visual warmth to complement the comfortingly circular narrative arc. This is an immigrant tale, a celebration of family, a loving ode to place, and a study of the passage of time, all wrapped in a simply phrased narrative perfect for parental sharing and child commentary. claire e. gross
This Is Our House.
Yum, Hyewon (Author) , Yum, Hyewon (Illustrator)
Aug 2013. 40 p. Farrar/Frances Foster, hardcover, $16.99. (9780374374877).
Yum’s latest resembles a photo album and follows a little girl offering up a historical tour of the house she
shares with her parents, grandparents, and cat. She starts at the beginning, when her mother’s parents
“arrived from far away with just two suitcases in hand.” On one side of the spread (here and throughout
the book) is a watercolor framed like a photograph; the other side reveals a more complete view from the
same time period. The story continues, inside and in front of the two-story attached home, through her
mother’s childhood, departure for college, and return with “the boyfriend who would be my father.” Yum
depicts the girl’s grandparents as warm and welcoming, even as nervous new parents, and the girl’s
parents convey the same loving concern for their child. Some of the “framed” images pop up again on
walls in later pages, suggesting how the young narrator learned the history she’s relaying. Even before the
baby sibling is introduced on the last spread, this is a sweet tribute to continuity and togetherness.
— Abby Nolan
Thursday, August 1, 2013
Monday, July 29, 2013
Wall Street Journal
July 27, 2013
Hyewon Yum depicts actual picture frames on the gentle pages of "This Is Our House" (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 40 pages, $16.99), but with its sherbet colors and comforting domesticity, this picture book for small children stands in almost comical contrast to tales of swashbuckling. Here we are in total safety, in the brick row house where a little girl lives with her family. "This is the house where my grandparents arrived from far away," the child explains, as we see a framed drawing of the house in winter. Soon an infant arrives—a girl who will grow up to be the narrator's mother—as a lovely tree blossoms on the street outside.
As befits a book for the very young, this quiet chronicle moves in a circular way, like a literary hug. As the child explains the history of the house, from the kitchen ("where her mother made my mom's favorite soup") to the front steps ("where we sit in the sun on autumn days"), we see time passing, until a fresh cycle is complete and a newborn arrives to turn the young narrator into a big sister.
Saturday, July 27, 2013
Monday, July 1, 2013
I could imagine the scenery so well because my father is one great storyteller and also we'd visited the house he grew up every year for holidays.
In that old house, I could see my father, a young boy, walking out of the house with his lunch box(containing only rice and salted beans) wearing his big brother's worn out pants, past the big old tree.
It was such warm moments when I realized that I stand in the same place where my father, once a boy, had grown up.
Now I have my own kids, I read books to them before bedtime, but sometimes I love to tell my stories starting with "When I was a little kid like you..." and my kids loves it, too.
I wanted to make a book that can lead another stories, your own stories. I hope after you close the book "THIS IS OUR HOUSE", you can tell your own stories to your children.