cover image Home Is Where the Birds Sing

Home Is Where the Birds Sing

Cynthia Rylant, illus. by Katie Harnett. Beach Lane, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-534-44957-2

What makes a place a home? As Rylant (We Give Thanks) and Harnett (Monty and the Poodles) take readers through differing dwellings, highly specific particulars blend with a sense of reverie, evoking feelings of connection and belonging. In one spread, lines of plainspoken poetry read, “Home is where someone calls you ‘sweetie’ or ‘dear’ or a dozen other names for love.” Lovingly detailed gouache and colored pencil vignettes, meanwhile, place readers in a light-filled kitchen, where something is cooking in a big orange pot, goodies sit on a side table, and an intergenerational duo beam at one another. A few pages later, attending a lullaby-like litany, the illustrations survey a couple of beloved objects (a globe, a stuffed bear) and a cozy bedroom: “Home is where everything waits for you// waits for you.” Throughout, images show families and friend groups of varying abilities, ages, body types, and skin tones engaging in daily rituals. Sensations, people, and things constitute a sense of place, one that is all the more profound, this creative pair hints, when that place is home—“where your own story starts.” Ages up to 8. (May)