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by Eve Panzer, The Barefoot Librarian
I have always been intrigued by homes. I remember every home from my childhood and often the homes of my childhood friends. I love touring homes – both new and old. I love exploring the architecture of cities that I visit. When people have their curtains open, I unabashedly look inside to get a glimpse into their lives. And I watch endless hours of HGTV to unwind. This year I have given even more thought to the concept of home. For many people, their homes took on many new roles – a business office, a school, a gym, a movie theater, a studio, a bakery.
It has been said that “Home is where the heart is.” Our physical dwellings are often the heart of our family. I understand losing a home – as a child, I lost one to fire and one to a hurricane. When people lose their physical homes – whether by mother nature or otherwise – I feel for them. Homes give people a safe harbor, the space to gather with friends and family, a place to create memories, a sense of pride and dignity, and often the stability needed to hold a job.
Homes can form the center, backdrop, setting, or sometimes take the starring role in a book. Homes reflect our personalities and preferences and our localities, our countries, and our cultures. Homes are a great way to introduce children to diverse cultures. Books like Usborne’s All About Families and Barefoot Books Children of the World depict homes from around the world and are a great starting place.
Books about homes can also deal with social and emotional issues and foster creativity and imagination. Here and There describes the difficulty of a young boy adjusting to two homes when his parents separate. A Place to Stay, previously reviewed, is about a homeless young girl’s first night in a shelter with her mother. I had the privilege of reviewing Sissy Goes Tiny, a book explaining the pros of downsizing from a standard-sized house to a tiny transportable house. Build Me a House, a new book from Usborne, depicts children dreaming of places to call home.
Next time you curl up with a book, think about the dwellings of the characters and how it shapes them. When reading with children, this can be a fun and interesting topic to pursue.
Eve Panzer is the Barefoot Librarian, an experienced school librarian for kindergarten through eighth grade schools with passion for working with educators in their selection of the best of children’s literature. Holding a Masters of Library Science degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Eve has been a professional in children’s literature since 1999, helping educators select relevant books that are meaningful to their students.
For more information about Eve and her work, visit https://barefootlibrarian.com/.