Good children’s books lead to empathy, something our nation and our world surely needs right now. Stories about diverse cultures show children of all ethnicities and backgrounds that we are all human, all equally valuable, all very much alike.
In Far from Home, children will empathize with the emotions of a young refugee who journeys with his parents away from all that’s familiar and loved.
Far from Home: A Story of Loss, Refuge, and Hope
written by Sarah Parker Rubio
illustrated by Fatima Anaya
published by Tyndale Kids (2019)
hardcover picture book, 32 pages, 11.1 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
On his journey, the boy meets an old woman who tells him about another child who made a similar journey. The woman doesn’t name the child in her story, but the details (and a Scripture at the end of the book) are clear: she’s talking about Jesus and his nighttime escape with Mary and Joseph into Egypt .
“What happened to the boy?” I asked.
The old lady smiled. “He learned how to live in a new place. And another new place after that. He grew up and helped many people. He could heal people when medicine didn’t work. He could feed a crowd with one person’s food. He saved a lot of people’s lives.”
She put her hand on my shoulder again. “But he never forgot what it was like–the leaving and the waiting and the different.”
The old woman’s story comforts and encourages the boy while he’s traveling and when he’s settled in a new home where everything—the food, the weather, the people—is different.
Illustrations that focus on faces and postures throughout the book will help children pick up the boy’s emotions as his journey progresses.
We don’t know exactly how old Jesus was when Mary and Joseph left Bethlehem to escape King Herod, but I think he may have been younger than the illustrations of him suggest.
Still, I like what this book attempts to do, and others agree—Far from Home was named an ECPA 2020 Children’s Book Award Finalist.
Making His wonders known to the next generation,