FINDING HOME, by Estelí Meza, Orchard Books, Jan. 5, 2021, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 4-8)
Estelí Meza’s Finding Home tells the story of friendship and courage in the face of adversity.
With the arrival of fall comes a storm that blows Conejo’s house away. Conejo follows a trace of wind until he begins to tire and feel frustrated.
Luckily for Conejo, his friends are there to help. Each in their own way provides shelter and support, but they do not find his house.
Despite his friends’ good cheer and thoughtful gifts, Conejo still grieves. When the rain clears, so do Conejo’s thoughts, and he rebuilds, filling his new home with treasures he collected along the way.
There are a lot of things to like in Estelí Meza’s Finding Home. The sweet tales of friendship; the whimsical illustrations; and expressive text. My favorite part, though, is the emotion conveyed throughout.
One line in particular stands out: “Conejo sat with sadness for some time.” It’s a seemingly simple sentence that offers so much. With those seven words, Meza lets readers know that sitting with sadness (or any emotion) is not only normal, but OK. She gives children permission to sit with their own sadness. Also of note, is that Conejo isn’t depicted with those words. Instead, you take on his vantage point, surrounded by trees, leaves and flowers while rain drips from above.
Finding Home is an excellent way to teach emotional intelligence without actively teaching it. I can think of numerous applications in which it would be appropriate. I recommend this as a household staple.
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