Sieta, a young African girl, is having a difficult time accepting her "home now" with her aunt in a busy town. She longs for the life she knew with her loving parents in a friendly village. During a school trip to the elephant park, she forms a special bond with a baby elephant�also an orphan. The connection helps her heal and embrace her new life. The text and illustrations provide a positive glimpse of life in Africa. The evocative watercolors effectively convey the child's loneliness, isolation, and, finally, emotional rejuvenation. The understated narration also creates a poignant sense of her loss. Unfortunately, it is never fully explained. Readers only know that "Sieta saw her mother getting sicker�and thinner�and quieter, and her father getting gentler and softer and sadder. One day they were just not there anymore." Young readers are bound to be left with many questions. An endnote explains the effects of AIDS on many African families. The book will need to be introduced to be fully understood and appreciated. It may fill a void since there are few books about AIDS for this age level, and none set in Africa.
Heide PiehlerCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Sieta is told that the new place where she lives with her aunty is her ¿home now.¿ It¿s a good place, filled with friendly men, women and children who work hard and care for each other. It is not Sieta¿s real home as she is an orphan, an African child whose mother and father died. She cannot help feeling sad as she remembers the happy times that she shared with her parents when they lived by ¿a green garden in a dry land.¿ Then one day her school class visits the elephant park where orphan elephants are kept safe and protected. She is drawn to the youngest elephant, Satara, and seems to understand his state of loss. Eventually, as Sieta visits Satara, she is able to make her peace with and find contentment in her new home. An author¿s note explains that this fictional story represents the plight of millions of African children whose parents have died of AIDS. ¿Home Now¿ is a poignant, touching tale intended to raise awareness of this very real problem in our world. - Gail Cooke