I Know Here
by Laurel Croza
illustrated by Matt James
Groundwood Books, 2010
ISBN 978-0-88899-923-8 (hc)
$18.95, 40 pp, ages 4 – 10
Includes drawing of a map of Central Canada on the end papers
Moving brings all kinds of anxieties, no matter how old you are. Moving means leaving the old behind. Does that mean you have to forget those things? How do keep them so you can remember? Today, we have a variety of digital tools. But what if these were not invented yet? How do you store memories?
Laurel Croza tells us how she did it and why. We follow an unnamed girl on her journey from remote Saskatchewan, where her father is helping build a dam, to a new life in Toronto. She asks her teacher if the people in Toronto “have seen what I have seen.” When the latter suggests that she draw what she sees around her, she begins to view her world in a new light.
This hopeful and unsentimental story is perfectly illustrated by Matt James. His bold and bright renditions add to the stuff that memories of made of without the cloying nostalgia that one can fall into when thinking of things “lost.”
Classroom Connections: Be it to a new home, a new class, a new city, everyone has to move from some comfortable situation. This book is a great way to explore the emotions involved, the ways to deal with them and to start some good discussions. It also lends itself to some wonderful art projects about memories. What would your students want to remember? What do their parents remember or wish they still had? Their grandparents?
Review by Mary Moroska.
This review is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s Nov/Dec 2011 issue.