Being Home

Family and finding one's own rhythms lie at the heart of this striking new picture book by two-time Sibert Medal honoree Traci Sorell (Mascot) and Caldecott Medalist Michaela Goade (We Are Water Protectors). The collaboration, much like its dynamic characters, moves with a compelling, powerful beat.

A Cherokee child lives with their etsi (mother) in a city where "cars rush" and "crowds collect." Etsi says this is not their rhythm, so they are moving to the Cherokee Nation Reservation. The pair are excited to be leaving a place where, as more houses are built, "fewer animal relatives visit" and "family is too far away." The exuberant child and Etsi pack up the car and head home. The drive is long, but the destination promises to be sweet--the child finds animal relatives, a new swing, and plenty of wonders to explore on their ancestral land. The child and Etsi are "close enough to gather, eat,/ laugh, dance, and share" with their people--the wonderful "rhythm of being home."

Sorell's poetic text focuses on the deeply felt reasons that drive the child and their etsi's move from city to reservation. The author beautifully expresses core themes of family and the importance of full self-realization on ancestral land; in doing so, she echoes the oh-so-important rhythms which animate her characters. Goade's mixed-media art is at once delicate and strong, with spirited, sparkling colors and a keen sense of motion that reinforces the text's rhythm and energy. Alive with movement, Being Home is an exceptional offering, emphasizing the inherent rhythms and motions of life. --Lynn Becker, reviewer, blogger, and children's book author

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