Saturday, November 15, 2014

30 Days of Diverse Picture Books - Faraway Home by Jane Kurtz

It's Day 15 of 30 Days of Diverse Picture Books. We're halfway through the series, can you believe it? What's your favorite title so far? I hope you've seen some old favorites as well as some new titles to add to your wish list!

Tonight's pick is one by the amazing author Jane Kurtz - one of her older titles, Faraway Home. We've read many of Jane's picture books and look forward to reading more, but I recently realized that somehow I've never reviewed any of her titles on the blog. (What the what?!? Fixing that now!) We feel a special connection to Jane because she grew up in Ethiopia, and is a fierce advocate for the country and its people. I especially admire her work for Ethiopia Reads.

Faraway Home is about Desta, an American-born girl whose father must return for a visit to Ethiopia because her grandmother is ill. Desta doesn't know Ethiopia and it makes her a little sad to hear the longing her father has for his homeland -- she's afraid her daddy won't return to America. But the more her father talks about the beautiful country, the more Desta is reassured, and the more she feels connected to the Ethiopia that lives in her too. Jane tells the story beautifully, thoughtfully and tenderly, and the breathtaking illustrations by E.B. Lewis evoke the spirit of the tale. This one always makes Sprout thoughtful as well, and I love to read it to reinforce his own ties to the land of his birth, which will always be in his heart.

Include Faraway Home in your collection for many reasons - its gentle reassurance, its exploration of the lives of immigrants, its celebration of family and connection. It's tough to get (come on, let's see this one back in print!) but well worth looking for!

Faraway Home by Jane Kurtz, published by Gulliver Books

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