Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Starred review from Kirkus

Author: Hyewon Yum
Illustrator: Hyewon Yum
An ode to a place called home, related by a young girl describing photos of a brick building and the memories her family made there through three generations.

With the feeling of a photo album, the book leads readers through the story of a simple house. “This is the house / where my grandparents arrived from far away / with just two suitcases in hand.” On the left side of the page, above the text, is a painted “photograph” of an unassuming building—there’s no color, a bare tree, no life to be seen. On the facing page, the full-bleed illustration shows a man and a woman, holding hands, stepping up to the building with two suitcases in hand. Reflective and quiet, the pages progress with the staged photographs of this young couple’s life displayed on the left, while the right side reveals more. A baby is born and learns to walk, children pose on the stairs before school, a child leaves for college. When the perspective shifts to the narrator’s family, the pattern of the double-page spreads reverses itself in a lovely shift. The contrast between the simplicity of the text (“This is the street / where I learned to walk, / just like my mom”) and the richness of life revealed in the watercolor illustrations shows how the building becomes alive with the history of the young girl’s family.
A lovely, unassuming paean to place and belonging. (Picture book. 3-8)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

When we tell our stories, we make power

My little one is graduating from his preschool, and this is what they wrote on their t-shirts.
How simple, yet true.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Review from PW (5/27/13)

This Is Our House
Hyewon Yum. FSG/Foster, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-374-37487-7
A small girl with twin braids narrates her family’s history with pride, starting with when her grandparents arrived at a brick rowhouse on a leafy street, coming from “far away with just two suitcases in hand.” Since then, three generations have marked the seasons and personal milestones outside the house’s front door (“This is the street where I learned to walk, just like my mom,” says the girl), found snug shelter within its walls (“This is the room where they all slept together on cold winter nights”), and consumed homemade soup in its kitchen. Told in sunny, openhearted watercolor vignettes and snapshotlike framed images, Yum’s (Mom, It’s My First Day of Kindergarten!) story of how a house became a longtime home may feel exotic to readers whose own family histories are comparatively transient. But its essence will ring true, regardless: we’re connected not just by genes and bloodlines, but also by the places we share. An inviting personal history that would pair well with Jacqueline Woodson’s similarly themed This Is the Rope, also out this summer. Ages 3–8. Agent: Sean McCarthy, Sheldon Fogelman Agency. (Aug.)