This week I decided to read one of the many wonderful Canadian children’s books that we have in The Word On The Street office. I chose From There to Here written by Laurel Croza, illustrated by Matt James, and published by Groundwood Books. Laurel and Matt will be reading from the book on September 21st in the TD Children’s Literature Tent.
A little girl and her family have just moved across the country by train. Their new neighborhood in the city of Toronto is very different from their home in the Saskatchewan bush, and at first everything about “there” seems better than “here.”
From There to Here is the continuation of the story begun in Laurel Croza and Matt James’ first book I Know Here (Groundwood, 2010). The eight-year-old narrator and her family have moved to Toronto, and she notes how different her new location is compared to her former home.
There, her dad built a dam across the Saskatchewan River, here he builds a highway. There they saw stars and the northern lights together, here her brother takes the bus to the CNE without her. The girl’s memories and observations are simple and poetic, and convey the longing she feels for her old home and life. Fortunately, a new friendship in Toronto and a fun bike ride through parking lots and past apartment buildings make the girl smile again.
Having moved from the country to the city when I was a kid, I remember having feelings and thoughts like the girl in From There to Here. Suddenly transitioning from forest paths to city sidewalks was pretty shocking, but just like in the book, new friends and explorations helped me come to see the positives of my new home.
From There to Here to here is a beautifully written and illustrated book, and one that I think will appeal to children getting used to a change in their own lives, or those who are interested in what life is like “there” in different parts of Canada.