Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I Know Here

I Know Here (2010 Horn Book Award Winner)
written by Laurel Croza; illustrated by Matt James
(Groundwood Books) 2010
Source: Mebane Public Library

A young girl lives in Saskatchewan while her father is helping to build a dam. This place is home to her and she loves every square inch. The woods where she can play hide-and-seek behind the pines and listen to howling wolves at night. Behind the trailers is a great tobogganing hill and a creek where her little sister can catch frogs. She has seen many things like an old moose staring her down. This little girl knows the road that goes from the dam to her beloved trailer school with its nine students and the wonderful teacher Miss Hendrickson. She is going to miss this place when her family moves to Toronto, but her teacher knows how she can keep it with her forever.

One of the reasons why we teach children to write is so they can share a piece of themselves with others. I Know Here would be a superb read aloud to demonstrate this. It really reminds me of What You Know First by Patricia MacLachlan where both female protagonists are reminiscing about a beloved place and what makes it special. These are not complicated books, but no less profound in their detailed descriptions of a love of place and how it can shape our lives. As the little girl in I Know Here says "This is where I live. I don't know Toronto. I know here."

Other reviews of I Know Here:
A Year of Reading
NY Times

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