July 5, 2016

There's No Place Like Home

Make yourself at home. Home is where the heart is. Home, sweet home.

There are dozens of idioms about what makes a house a home (see what I did there?), but ultimately "home" can only be defined on an individual basis. Everyone sees "home" as something different and unique to them, and that's what makes the books I'm talking about today so special: they don't just encapsulate one idea of home, but many. They're diverse, inclusive, and go beyond the simple pleasures (a roof, a bed, a bathroom), exploring the meaning of "home" in beautiful and creative ways.

I suppose the most prominent example of exploring "home" in recent years is Carson Ellis' Home.




Ellis depicts homes from so many different points of view: suburban urban,


and even fantasy homes from fairy tales. 


No matter where you live or what you personally define as "home," Ellis' watercolor images will make you feel connected with yourself and others around you. Her illustrations are inclusive and diverse, featuring people from all walks of life, realistic or fantasy.

I came across A Place to Live by Case Jernigan and Kyla Ryman recently, and it's been on my mind ever since.

The illustrations and text aren't strict definitions of "home," but rather general translations of comfort and explorations of our imagination that we can only experience when we truly feel safe.

Jernigan uses watercolors to blur the lines between reality and fantasy in her illustrations, and the board book format, coupled with the images appearing only on the recto (right) page, makes each spread feel like a taste of a dream.


We only get a brief peak into these moments, but we immediately feel comforted by the soft illustrations and quiet suggestions of places to find safety. 

Last on today's list is Dave's Cave by Frann Preston-Gannon. 



Dave is in search of a new cave, but it turns out the perfect cave is much closer than he things.


The "caveman style" text makes for a fun read aloud, and the stationary, collage-style illustrations perfectly parallel the clunkiness of the text. Preston-Gannon cleverly utilizes the space on every spread to illustrate what is wrong with every new cave.


We see Dave squish into tight spaces, run from bats streaming from one side of the spread to the other, and appear as a tiny silhouetted character against a vast, empty cave. So when Dave finally finds his perfect cave--which was closer than he thought--we see how perfectly he fits inside.

Ironically, I wrote this post just after I had officially moved into my new home, so it's been quite the catharsis!