The Shape of Home

Levine Querido. Sept. 2021. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781646140985.
K-Gr 3–It’s hard to find a more joyful take on the first day of school in a new country than that found in Kheiriyeh’s new work, narrated by a small Iranian girl named, like the author, Rashin. Artfully recalling her old home, where the girls dressed in traditional garb resemble, sweetly, a carton of eggs, Rashin embraces everything new, from honey in plastic bear bottles to the city walk to school in the rain. In a school room full of children from all over the globe, their teacher, Mrs. Martin, explains her parents originally hail from the country of Benin, and shows them its shape—a flashlight. When it is Rashin’s turn, she shows them that Iran is shaped like cat, and she meows. The shape of home, for all the children, is the warmth of sharing, without prejudice or mockery, and with an understanding that no matter where they are from, they are welcome in the here and now. The illustrations are verve-filled and colorful, in a New York City setting in which almost everyone is smiling.
VERDICT As an ode to the idea of home, wherever that is and whatever that means, this is bliss. If all children had this kind of first day, who could predict what might happen next?

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