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I Know Here

I Know Here

5.0 1
by Laurel Croza, Matt James (Illustrator)

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The little girl in this story lives in a trailer near a forest in Saskatchewan, where her father is building a dam. She knows and loves everything about the place, but the dam is nearly finished, and when summer comes the family will move to Toronto — a city marked by a big red star on the map at school. “Have the people in Toronto seen what I’ve


The little girl in this story lives in a trailer near a forest in Saskatchewan, where her father is building a dam. She knows and loves everything about the place, but the dam is nearly finished, and when summer comes the family will move to Toronto — a city marked by a big red star on the map at school. “Have the people in Toronto seen what I’ve seen?” the little girl asks, thinking of her road, her school, the forest where she plays hide-and-seek and where the wolf howls at night, the hill where she goes tobogganing in winter… And with her teacher’s help, she finds a way to keep everything she loves about home.

This simple, beautifully written story, complemented by Matt James’s vibrant, imaginative illustrations, will resonate deeply with anyone who has had to leave their home for a new place

Editorial Reviews

David Barringer
…simple and profound…A story about a child leaving home could have been treated as a weepy leave-taking shaded with sepia sentiment. Heroically, Croza balances her story on something far more hopeful and true: a child realizing that the act of making art is a way to preserve memories of home. And to remember, you have to do something: pay attention, draw a picture, and take it with you.
—The New York Times
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
A young girl relates her apprehension on learning that her family must move from their trailer in the countryside of Saskatchewan to the big city of Toronto. She knows well the nearby forest and the animals there, the hill for tobogganing in the winter snow, the beaver dam, and the frogs. Her teacher shows the class Toronto on the map. The girl wonders whether people in Toronto have seen what she has. She decides to draw what she has seen and knows, to take to Toronto with her, "safe in my pocket." She has found a way to cope with the difficult change in her life, as so many children do these days. As she tells us about the things she knows, illustrations of them appear on the pages: the ten trailers across the road and a caged fox on a double-page spread, the delivery truck and tree-lined road it travels, an old moose. There is an innocent robustness to these sketchy India ink and acrylic paintings, and a fresh charm to the young girl who appears in most of them. On the end pages is a map of Canada from Saskatchewan to Toronto, painted with the same vigor, and including some native plants and animals. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 2–5—Moving from rural Saskatchewan to the city holds a lot of opportunity for a girl and her brother. The young protagonist experiences her share of apprehension as well, "This is where I live. I don't know Toronto. I know here." "Here" is first described as a single, trailer-lined road that runs from the dam that her father is working on to the school. Readers are then treated to the flora and fauna of the forest, hills, and creeks that the girl will miss. There's the man who delivers the groceries, her teacher, and her classmates, too. Miss Hendrickson suggests that she draw a picture encompassing all that she'd like to remember. She does and after sharing it with the class, she folds it away for safekeeping. "I will fold up the howl of the wolf and the smell of the fox in his cage...and the feel of my heart beating fast as I swooped over my road in a five-seater airplane. I will fold my drawing up small, put it safe in my pocket and I will take my road with me. To Toronto." The simple, straightforward text is spot-on in capturing the child's sensibilities and feelings. James's vibrant acrylic and India ink on panel artwork brings the girl's world to life, with its starkness, beauty, and haunting appeal. The stylized paintings at times have a surreal quality and are almost dreamlike in their composition. A regional look at a universal slice of childhood.—Luann Toth, School Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews
Going walkabout down the small stretch of country road that she and her family are about to leave, a child offers a mildly comforting strategy to others who are about to pull up stakes. Her little brother is excited about moving to Toronto, but to the narrator, "This is where I live. I don't know Toronto. I know here." "Here" is rural Saskatchewan, where her family has been living while her father worked on a hydroelectric dam, now complete. Walking from home to school ("only me in grade three") and back, she counts her community's house trailers along the roadside, waves to a familiar passerby and recalls sighting a moose and hearing wolves in the surrounding woods. Her mood lightens at last when she realizes that she can capture and retain at least some of her small world by drawing pictures of it. James's vividly colored, naive-style scenes capture the bright intensity of the child's inner and outer landscapes and also the unaffected way in which she observes them. Good for sharing. (Picture book. 7-9)

Product Details

Groundwood Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
Second Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.90(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.40(d)
AD760L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Laurel Croza lived near four dam sites when she was a child, moving nine times and attending six schools before she was fourteen. I Know Here, her first book, is based on her memories of leaving Saskatchewan for Toronto. A sequel, From There to Here, also illustrated by Matt James, will be published by Groundwood in spring 2014. Laurel lives with her family in Toronto.

Matt James is a noted painter, illustrator and musician. His first picture book, Yellow Moon, Apple Moon by Pamela Porter, won the New Mexico Book Award and was a finalist for a Governor General’s Award. I Know Here by Laurel Croza, won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award and the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, and was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award, the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award and the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award. Matt lives in Toronto.

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I Know Here 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I Know Here, written by Laurel Croza and illustrated by Matt James, is a moving work of literature, telling of a girl's apprehension of moving to a new place when all she's known is the trailer park and woods she grew up around. I Know Here is written from the perspective of the simplistic yet profound mind of a child. Its words have the ability to bring an adult back down to earth and reevaluate their own perspectives. It goes to show that children are deep beings, full of emotion and memories that make them who they are. Although the word "love" is never mentioned within the book, the tone of the writing and the illustrations overflow with much expression that conveys the girl's sentiment of love for her environment. Each page is diverse in rich and vibrant colors with bold details that stand out strikingly against pale/pastel backgrounds. I must confess that the first time I read through this book, I did not respond with an aesthetic interest until the second to last page. Then, everything fell into perspective and moved me. I highly recommend this book. If you don't connect with it at first, maybe someone you know will. A great read!