Faraway Home

Book review by
Sharon Asta, Common Sense Media
Faraway Home Book Poster Image
Captures the emotions of an immigrant family.

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

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What parents need to know

Parent's need to know that this story's heartwarming situation and lyrical writing captivates readers. The realistic watercolor illustrations convey the children's emotions and draw kids into the story.

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What's the story?

Desta worries that her father (who is going home to Ethiopia to visit his mother) will not feel enough love for his home in America and his family to return. Lyrical writing and stunning watercolor illustrations capture the emotions of an immigrant family.


Is it any good?

Descriptive words evoke a sense of Ethiopia many readers are unfamiliar with, yet give the homeland a character and realism. Author Jane Kurtz calls forth a loving picture of shepherds piping haunting songs of longing in the hills and a young boy who sleeps on the floor of his mother's home and thinks of the moon and stars as night-lights to comfort him. Kurtz brings the relationship of a father and daughter into the reader's life and cleverly guides the reader with haunting words and descriptive passages. Readers will feel the emotional tug along with Desta, who is being temporarily separated from her father.

Stunningly realistic illustrations evoke a rugged wild beauty of the homeland. They depict character expressions and landscapes that capture personality with the smallest of details -- like an upturned face, the placement of a hand on a blanket, or the love reflected in the characters' eyes. This poignant, gentle story will prompt many discussions to challenge and excite a child's imagination and will help them understand a world beyond their own.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the land and people depicted in the book. How are they different from your home, your family, and other people you know? How are they similar?

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