Home, Sweet Home: What Makes a House a Home?

Kane Miller. Sept. 2019. 32p. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9781610678865.
K-Gr 2–This nonfiction picture book asks readers to consider the differences and similarities between modern and historic houses throughout the world. Dialogic questions and trivia in a smaller, lighter font add depth to the narrative and invite readers to engage with the questions posited in the main text. Starting with the premise that every home is unique and special, each spread explores a different concept, such as roofs, doors, kitchens, gardens, and stairs. Every spread takes the opportunity to present a variety of different perspectives on the concept. On the spread that explores kitchens, the main text talks about the smells and warmth found in kitchens and asks readers if they can think of a kitchen that is very different from theirs. The subtext talks about how dogs were historically employed to turn spits in European and North American kitchens and also viewed as traditional kitchen gods in Vietnam. The author notes, “Some homes in West African countries don’t have kitchens because it is traditional to cook on fires outdoors. Cooking together outside is a chance for neighbors to get together, chat, and share food.” Cultural differences are presented equitably and respectfully, without making non-Western traditions seem unusual or sensational, and care is taken to avoid sweeping generalizations. The illustrations are bright, diverse, cohesive, and full of fun details for readers to pore over.
VERDICT Welcome this title into libraries, where it is sure to be popular with nonfiction fans in classrooms and homes alike.

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