War ends, yet its dark shadow remains. A family is forced to flee their home. As they journey through hunger, long cold nights, and homelessness, a heart locket whispers words of hope.
And a country that’s far away, calls for those that are no longer wanted.
It offers new beginnings and a precious place, once more to call home.
Stunningly evocative. Hauntingly beautiful. Words and images that will stay with you for a lifetime. A story that whispers hope, love, and freedom. The power of a tiny heart locket that fills your soul with copious amounts of light. This is Home. This is their story. This is for them.
Home is a personal author story inspired by the challenges her family, amongst millions of others, experienced being expelled from the German Sudeten Mountains – in a village once called Wunshendorf – between 1945 and 1946 after World War 2. Karen Hendriks’s poignant story of displaced refugees is delicately told with heart, from the perspective of a little girl, clinging to the belief that, with the hopeful whispers of her heart locket, her family will find a new place to belong.
An exquisite blend of visceral language and visual authenticity paint a picture of the emotion and mood set in this historical fiction – of the sudden adversity that ensued as the German authorities forced the villagers to flee with nothing left but a bag and the warm coats on their backs. Alisa Knatko’s gorgeous line and watercolour illustrations beautifully capture the shade and the light; of the despair, hunger and uncertainty, with the promise of ‘home’ and a united community sparked by the joys of memories and the hope of a new future. The journey, with a genuine European essence, is reflected with a rich colour palette of deep greens, purples and greys that carries throughout as the tears of war are left behind and the new beginnings across the sea take sail.
Complete with words of strength, information about this largely unknown piece of history, and a sentimental dedication, this book is a masterful resource for primary school-aged children and their families to explore topics of interpersonal health, ancestry, current issues of war and historical contexts.
Moreover, Home is an uplifting story of overcoming adversity when hope, connection, strength, and heart – even a small one – clasp tightly together. Home is most certainly where the heart is.
Review by Romi Sharp.
Please follow Karen Hendriks at her website: karenhendriks.com (coming soon)
Alisa Knatko’s website: Alisa Knatko – Mixed media illustrator (wordpress.com)
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