Home at Last

Book review by
Jan Carr, Common Sense Media
Home at Last Book Poster Image
Fears faced openly when loving dads adopt older boy.

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Honest info on adoption process: it takes a long time, perhaps a year to do screening and paperwork.

Positive Messages

Even kids in rough circumstances have people who come forward to help them. Gay family life's portrayed as loving and strong. Family life's composed of small, connected events and moments that bind us together -- eating pancakes, riding bikes, stopping for ice cream. Pets comfort us. Parents who sometimes lose their temper can also strongly love their kids. Adjustment to loss and new circumstances takes the time it takes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The folks portrayed here feel real. The dads are loving, though one has a temper. The boy's happy to have a new home, but still experiences strong fears. Though the going's slow and bumpy, everyone sticks together and tries to work out solutions. The dads are patient and take Lester's feelings and worries into account.

Violence & Scariness

"Lester's first parents had died in a car crash when he was little, and he had lived with his grandma until she became very old and sick." Daddy Albert has a temper, knocks a toy action figure from Lester's hand, and yells at him in frustration, though he immediately softens.

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Home at Last is the last book by beloved author-illustrator Vera B. Williams, whose brightly colored Caldecott Honor books (A Chair for My Mother) pioneered progressive themes of inclusion, and who collaborated here with friend and Caldecott winner Chris Raschka (The Hello, Goodbye Window). This story, in which school-age Lester's adopted by Daddy Albert and Daddy Rich, has clear adoption and LGBT themes, but the feelings will be recognizable to any kid who's felt anxiety. Daddy Albert's loving but has a temper, and Lester, who lost his "first parents" in a car crash then bounced from grandma to an institution, has fears that aren't easily soothed. The book's most appropriate for older kids who can stick with the longer text and handle thornier emotions.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

HOME AT LAST is the story of Lester, a boy who's weathered some very rough knocks. His parents died in a car crash, he lived with his grandma until she got sick, and then in an institution. But now he's adopted by two dads, Daddy Rich and Daddy Albert, who bring him to their urban home and fix up a nice room for him, though Lester's scared at night and creeps into their room for comfort. After repeated sleepless nights, Daddy Albert loses his temper. Lester expresses his strong fears, and the family pup presents a happy solution. He trots in to sleep on Lester's bed, providing the nightly comfort the boy needs.

Is it any good?

In this sensitive portrait of a loving and recognizably human family facing very real challenges, an older boy's adopted by two dads and has trouble trusting he won't be yanked from his new home. Author Vera Williams excels at joyously inclusive portraits of hardworking families. (Her classic A Chair for My Mother, still immensely popular, celebrated a girl and single mom struggling after a fire.) Chris Raschka illustrates Home at Last with much the same bright splashes of color that characterized William's own art.

What distinguishes Home at Last is the honest detail, the acknowledgement that there are no easy answers or quick fixes. It takes a year for the dads to adopt. Lester's neediness persists, trying the family, and Daddy Albert, who can be loving and supportive, has a fiery temper. But Williams is deft at the touching detail. When the dads make cocoa for Lester in the wee hours, and when Lester playfully rams his head into Daddy Rich's belly, we know these humans are trying their best to forge a family and are lucky to have found each other.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the fears in Home at Last. Do you have fears at night like Lester? How do you calm them?

  • Do your parents ever get angry? Are they sometimes angry, other times loving? Do you ever have conflicting feelings yourself?

  • How is this family similar to yours? Do you have pets and cousins? Do you like action figures and pancakes? How are they different?

Book details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Our editors recommend

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate