Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THIS IS OUR HOUSE by Hyewon Yum Kirkus Star


by Hyewon Yum ; illustrated by Hyewon Yum

Age Range: 3 - 8

Pub Date: Aug. 6th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-374-37487-7
Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

An ode to a place called home, related by a young girl describing photos of a brick building and the memories her family made there through three generations.

With the feeling of a photo album, the book leads readers through the story of a simple house. “This is the house / where my grandparents arrived from far away / with just two suitcases in hand.” On the left side of the page, above the text, is a painted “photograph” of an unassuming building—there’s no color, a bare tree, no life to be seen. On the facing page, the full-bleed illustration shows a man and a woman, holding hands, stepping up to the building with two suitcases in hand. Reflective and quiet, the pages progress with the staged photographs of this young couple’s life displayed on the left, while the right side reveals more. A baby is born and learns to walk, children pose on the stairs before school, a child leaves for college. When the perspective shifts to the narrator’s family, the pattern of the double-page spreads reverses itself in a lovely shift. The contrast between the simplicity of the text (“This is the street / where I learned to walk, / just like my mom”) and the richness of life revealed in the watercolor illustrations shows how the building becomes alive with the history of the young girl’s family.

A lovely, unassuming paean to place and belonging. (Picture book. 3-8)