For most grownups, the concept of ‘home’ springs to mind a collage of Pinterest-style, contrived materialism – all about the furnishings, but no so much the feelings.
Thankfully, children’s perceptions are less cluttered by what’s en vogue and the pursuit of flawless facades; the way they view our social constructions is more elemental, and, in truth, more in touch with the simple heart of things. Carson Ellis’ debut picture-book Home, a taxonomy of the various manifestations of the domestic abode, works much the same way.The book is breathtakingly beautiful, and the aesthetic effect is inarguably mesmerising, yet the subtle message, revealed sparsely in words and more distinctly in illustrative details and breadth of imagination, is one of meaning over bricks and mortar.
From city apartments and country farms to a Slovakian duchess’s mansion and the Kenyan blacksmith’s shack, rather than serve as a catalogue of wishful dream-boards, Home both fascinates and tethers our kids to reality; what we identify as ‘normal’ does not always transcend borders.
There are hidden markers of connectedness, however — the same house plant graces multiple buildings; a pigeon visits the young girl in Brooklyn and then perches on the Russian babushka’s window, among other clues emblematic of the fact that while no two houses may look exactly alike, we all possess that same need to have a place to call ‘home’.
The book’s diverse collection of domiciles encourages – as every good story should – a wonder for the world. It also makes it beautifully, artfully evident that home can be anywhere…even within the cosy pages of a beloved fairytale (whatever sanctuary in which you find warm comfort at the end of a long day).
In short, Ellis’ creation is a treasure, opening up a dialogue between parent and child on what home really means: Togetherness. Belonging. Wherever those essential elements for happiness may be.
Find the book HERE