Thursday 12 August 2021


Home by Karen Hendriks, illustrated by Alisa Knatko (Daisy Lane Publishing) ISBN 9780648819301 PB $18.95 RRP

Reviewed by Nean McKenzie

Home is a picture book about a girl whose family and the rest of her village are forced by soldiers to leave Czechoslovakia just after the second world war. Told in first person, the story follows her journey by train to a forest, then across the border to a city, enduring hardships along the way. Eventually she gets on a boat and travels to Australia, to settle there. All the way the girl holds onto a heart locket, a symbol of hope that their family will stay together, their culture will be preserved and one day they’ll find another place to call home.

Attractive watercolour illustrations depict the girl’s journey, often showing the faces of her family and people from the village. The colours are used to contrast the dark village with soldiers and empty houses in the beginning with their arrival in bright, sunny Australia at the end. The use of the locket in the story is effective in demonstrating the importance of resilience when going through difficult things in life.

In the back pages of the book are details about the true story this is based on, where three million ‘ethnic Germans’ were expelled from an area originally called Sudetenland, which later became part of Czechoslovakia. A map of the area is also included.

Karen Hendriks has had a couple of picture books published in the past couple of years including Feathers and Go Away, Foxy Foxy. Her latest, Home, deals sensitively with a sad story that is largely unknown. It ends on a positive note which is great for its young readers and is suitable for primary school children.



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