Home Now

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Vicki Foote
Sieta is a young girl in South Africa who was orphaned because her parents died of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The story begins as Sieta goes to live with Aunty in Home Now where people are building new houses and new lives. Sieta feels depressed, but when her class visits the elephant park, she finds that the elephants have lost their families and are orphans, too. She makes friends with the smallest elephant, Satara, and visits him the next day. She begins to accept her situation and find happiness with Aunty in Home Now. Beautiful watercolor paintings in luscious warm colors skillfully enhance the text. The last page has "A Note About the Story" which tells about this plight that is shared by many children in Africa. Websites are listed which provide more information about the AIDS crisis in Africa. This difficult subject matter is thoughtfully written and presented in a manner that young children will comprehend, and the story lends itself to discussion at school or home.
School Library Journal

K-Gr 3
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.

Kirkus Reviews
Sieta is told that her new village is Home Now. But she remembers another home-during a time when her parents were alive, and together, they tended the geraniums outside their house and attended church on Sundays. There are sad memories too, like when her parents became weak and thin, and when she realized that they were gone. One day during a school trip to the zoo, Sieta sees an orphaned baby elephant and is allowed to stroke him. She returns to see the elephant again and imagines him with his family, running free in a faraway land. Back in Home Now, she sees the village with a fresh eye. When she sees her aunty planting geraniums, Sieta hugs her close; Home Now has now become home. Littlewood's lush, evocative watercolors place Sieta in the African landscape. This subtle depiction of loss is moving and painful but ultimately a story of survival; Sieta's grace and strength will help build knowledge, understanding and empathy in readers. An afterword provides information about AIDS in Africa and includes informative websites for further inquiry. (Picture book. 5-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580891639
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/28/2007
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 580L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 10.70 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer


    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

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