No Place Like Home

Feiwel & Friends. Aug. 2023. 320p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250877628.
Gr 5 Up–Opin is an adventure seeker, an artist, and a 12-year-old boy living out of a car with his mom and older brother Emjay in central California. Opin’s mom has infused their family’s daily life with the language and lore of her Ojibwe ancestors, giving Opin a sense of agency and joy even as the family struggles to find stability in the form of a family member and a potential home in LA. Perpetually facing down “the cavalry” (unforgiving landlords and Child Protective Services workers) and the very real threats of physical violence and hunger, Opin’s new stray dog companion and rich imaginative world are vibrant sources of determination to keep going, even when circumstances are very bleak. Bird’s latest novel is a big-hearted story of growing up through hardship, told in language rich with metaphor and poetry. Back matter includes a playlist of the songs that fuel the characters’ journey, as well as a glossary of Anishinaabemowin terms.
VERDICT Highly recommended for middle school and public libraries, especially those seeking to add works from contemporary Native voices.

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