cover image When the Stars Came Home

When the Stars Came Home

Brittany Luby, illus. by Natasha Donovan. Little, Brown, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-3165-9249-9

An Indigenous boy’s experience of his new life in a city, where he feels “like a stranger in his own skin,” worsens when he can’t see the stars. After his father’s new job moves Ojiig away from his home, “His family no longer fished from the river; they bought fish, already scaled, from the grocery store.” Neighbors keep to themselves instead of speaking with one another, he misses his grandparents, and he feels alone under a sky dimmed by too-bright streetlights. Glow-in-the-dark star stickers in his bedroom and a star-shaped night-light offer little solace, but in helping his Anishinaabe mother make a quilt, he hears stories of his ancestors’ challenges, including the specter of residential schools, and Ojiig pieces together a new understanding of home. Anishinaabe author Luby’s observational, yearning-tinged prose aligns with Métis illustrator Donovan’s art, in which a golden-hued palette and rich purples and indigos echo starlight and velvety night. An author’s note and Anishinaabemowin pronunciation guide conclude. Ages 4–8. (Nov.)