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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

A New Home, written and illustrated by Tania de Regil. Candlewick Press, Penguin Random House. 2019. $$22.99 ages 4 and up

"Cheering loudly for
our team to win at the

And spending nights
out watching the dancers
at the concert hall.

But what if there is
nowhere for me to play
in my new city?"

Children are not nearly as different as we often think they are. In this very special book about two young children concerned about an upcoming move, readers are able to see that first hand. The title page shows a map with a young girl traveling north toward New York City, while a boy is headed south toward Mexico City. It does not appear that they have met along the way.

We meet the boy first. His parents have explained to him that they are making a move to Mexico City. On the following page, the girl reveals that her parents have just told her they are moving to New York. What a coincidence this is. Each is unsure about leaving the home they know for a place that will be brand new to them.

In a series of comparable scenes, the author shows readers the similarities between their two homes. From walking to school, to visiting mobile food vendors, to stadium sports and concert halls, the two share many complimentary experiences. They also share many comparable worries. Where will they play? What will school field trips be like? They also share those things that are not as easy to accept about the place they live in, such as homelessness and noise.

There is much to miss about their old home. Still, the story ends on a hopeful note when the two smile at each other in the airport, as one family prepares to depart while the other heads toward baggage claim.

Colored pencil, watercolor and gouache artwork explores the cultural differences, while also displaying the ways in which they are similar. Children sharing this book will want to talk about those things, and are sure to take note of both. The final spread is full of hope and a touch of wonder at the adventures ahead of them.

I enjoyed the thumbnail sketches found in back matter, as they includes pertinent information about both places and their culture. Each has been shown as part of the journey through the book's illustrations and add a further layer of context and understanding. Impressive!

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