Book Review: Home Sweet Home

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Home Sweet Home

Written by Mia Cassany

Illustrated by Paula Blumen

40 pages

Published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

Publication date: 3rd October 2017

Age range: 5 +

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Summary (from Goodreads):

Kids will have their imaginations captured by this beautiful, non-fiction picture book that looks at home from around the world. Home from Home celebrates the wide diversity of living quarters people around the world live in.

Find out who lives in a Brooklyn brownstone or a Tokyo apartment! What about a London townhouse, or a cabin in Reykjavik?

Up and coming talent Paula Blumen illustrates all of these great views of home. There’s never been a better time to remember the importance of home for everyone.

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I was drawn to this book by the style of the illustrations and the subject matter of houses around the world. As regular readers of my blog will know, I am always on the look-out for diverse books and those that promote international-mindedness and a positive outlook on the rest of the world. I honestly believe that the books we read to our children make a difference so I try to do my bit as a teacher by promoting positive attitudes towards multilingualism and multiculturalism, as well as a sense of responsibility for caring for the natural world and treating others with care and consideration.

This is definitely a book I would add to our classroom collection and school library, particularly as it might attract readers who would not pick up the ‘fact’ books about the same topic. The colourful, detailed illustrations and the fact that each home is explained by the animals residents rather than the humans both make this very appealing.

This book could lead to hours of discussion as each picture reveals more detail on every re-reading. It could also spark your child’s interest to find out more about that country and the people who live there!

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What I liked: Beautiful illustrations with lots of hidden details – this would be a brilliant book to spend some time with, picking out all of the hidden objects and thinking about what they tell us about the lifestyle of the people pictured. View of homes around the world which is always good – encourage children to be more internationally-minded, to appreciate the world from the viewpoint of others and allows children to find themselves in the books they read.

Even better if: I would have liked a wider range of countries – yes, I understand that America is big, but we already have so many images from North America. I would have loved to see representation of more lesser-known countries and perhaps from the viewpoints of some more unusual pets. It is also important to discuss with children that these are just examples – perhaps ask them to relate it back to how different the houses of each of their friends are – so these are examples of houses you might see in a certain city, but each and every home will be unique.

How you could use it in your classroom: This would be a fascinating introduction to looking at how different people live around the world.

When I worked in a U.N. Rights Respecting School, where teaching children about their rights and the rights of others is an explicit part of the curriculum, this book would have been perfect for looking at the different wants and needs of children around the world. I also used these photos, showing children in their bedroom in various countries (Where Children Sleep by James Mollison).

Even if you are not explicitly teaching about these themes, this would be an interesting read-aloud to encourage your pupils to be internationally-minded and could even encourage some of them to find out more.

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(Thank you to Netgalley and Frances Lincoln Children’s Books for my e-ARC)

 

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