When the Stars Came Home

Little, Brown. Nov. 2023. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780316592499.
PreS-Gr 3–A young boy, Ojiig, leaves his home to move to the city with his parents but struggles with all that he has left behind. Missing his grandparents and the more traditional way of life that grounded him in nature, particularly in the sky and stars, Ojiig and his family search for a way to bring the stars to his city life. Eventually, the resolution is found in the creation of a star blanket. The stories of family are stitched into each piece of the blanket and, in keeping with Indigenous traditions (detailed in the author’s note), the star blanket connects the boy with his community and his ancestors. Luby (Anishinaabe) and Donovan (Métis) have created a story of identity that is grounded in a specific community with universal themes that will appeal to many readers. The illustrations have a maturity that will engage older readers, making this picture book broad in appeal and useful for classes engaging in discussions about cultural identity, migration, and remaining connected to one’s culture. A pronunciation guide and further information about Anishinaabemowin is included.
VERDICT The solution does not come easily, and therefore resonates. Highly recommended.

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