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Even though eight-year-old Ernestine lives with her family up North, "back home" is Lumberton, North Carolina, the place where she was born and where her mama grew up. From the moment she steps off the train, Ernestine feels right at home in the lush, green countryside, working on the family farm, and spending time with her aunt, uncle, and cousins. This nostalgic, sweetly humorous visit home?based on Gloria Pinkney's own childhood memories?is perfect for intergenerational ...

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Even though eight-year-old Ernestine lives with her family up North, "back home" is Lumberton, North Carolina, the place where she was born and where her mama grew up. From the moment she steps off the train, Ernestine feels right at home in the lush, green countryside, working on the family farm, and spending time with her aunt, uncle, and cousins. This nostalgic, sweetly humorous visit home—based on Gloria Pinkney's own childhood memories—is perfect for intergenerational sharing.

Eight-year-old Ernestine returns to visit relatives on the North Carolina farm where she was born.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A summer vacation turns into a warm and joyous lesson in family history when young Ernestine visits her relatives in North Carolina. A long train ride from the north has landed her on Uncle June, Aunt Beula and Cousin Jack's farm--the same farm where Ernestine was born and where her mother grew up. The girl's initial shy inquisitiveness gives way to a comfortable confidence as anecdotes, mementos and her own imagination help her weave a tapestry of family ties that she'll treasure forever. Gloria Pinkney's text has a relaxed pace that is perfectly suited to the summer setting. Her characterizations are particularly well drawn, and her dialogue thoroughly convincing. In some of Jerry Pinkney's finest work, sunlight filters through his pencil and watercolor illustrations, imbuing them with a feathery soft glow. Rustic elements such as mule and plow, a pipe stove and Uncle June's beloved old truck create a vivid sense of time and place. The human figures seem to spring to life in several atmosphere-laden scenes, their expressive, down-home faces shining with surprise, admiration and love. In a similar vein, Donald Crews's nostalgic Bigmama's evokes the same fond sentiments through slightly younger and more rambunctious protagonists. Ages 5-9. (Sept.)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This semiautobiographical story follows an African-American girl from "up North" as she visits her relatives in North Carolina; PW's starred review singled out the author's fine characterizations and pacing, and said the illustrations were "some of Jerry Pinkney's finest work." Ages 3-8. (June) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Back Home brings to life Gloria's remembrances of a childhood summer when she left Philadelphia to spend time with her "kinfolk" in Lumberton, North Carolina. The main character, Ernestine, bears her mother's name. The writing is a blending of true events and characters, a fiction built on "giving myself and my mother the childhoods we really wanted" and the intrigue needed to turn personal history into a universal story. Jerry Pinkney's radiant watercolors depict the enchantment of Ernestine experiences. Detailed patterns and textures picture a home that has been loved for generations. Shining yellows predominate in the profusion of colors that tangle in country gardens. This harmony is typical of Jerry's work, as he balances "strong light and warm color." He uses yellow, not as color, but as light and also to create a hopeful sense.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-- A long train ride takes Ernestine to visit her great-uncle and aunt in North Carolina, to sleep in the house where her mama grew up, and to visit her own birthplace. Cousin Jack teases her for her city ways, but she quickly learns about raising goats and canning peaches, and by the time she has been to church and visited her grandmama's grave, Ernestine looks forward to a future visit. This is more a reminiscence than a plotted story, warm with Southern summer and family affection, a vignette of times gone by and roots rediscovered. Jerry Pinkney's full-page watercolors complement this account of a young girl's journey several decades ago. Their sketchy, impressionistic style softens the rural poverty and strengthens the genuine family feelings that greet Ernestine. Like Donald Crews's Bigmama's (Greenwillow, 1991), Back Home draws on personal history and celebrates the lives of an African-American family. --Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140565478
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/28/1999
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 962,962
  • Age range: 5 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.02 (w) x 10.99 (h) x 0.11 (d)

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2014

    Highly Recommend

    The story is wonderfully told and the artwork is beautiful. I purchased this book as a read aloud to do a comparison with Donald Crews book Bigmama's. It worked out great.

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