Jordan Collins was born in Chicago, Illinois and moved to Australia when they were eight years old. Their heritage is African-American Greek-Australian. They have also written Where?, reviewed in StoryLinks by Lara Cain Gray.
Myo Yim is a Korean author-illustrator living in Australia. Since her debut picture books, To the Forest of Night, published in Korea and Rajah Street, published in Australia, she has illustrated about 15 books over the last decade including White Sunday.
Jordan Collins has written this self-searching picture book about the meaning of home and belonging, based on some of their own experiences. They have often felt torn between their cultural background as an African American, Greek, and Australian and have cleverly paralleled their story with another Dorothy looking for home in The Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum.
Myo Yim has set the tone of this book with a soft pencil palette that creates an almost ethereal world in which Dorothy discovers that home is a place where you belong. Dorothy clicks her red Doc Marten shoes together three times and whispers to the earth “Where is my home?” Can she find the answer in the trees, the smooth pebbles beneath the waves or in the ocean, skies, mountains, and river?
She discovers that home can be many things – a person with a kind word and hug, the familiar stars in the sky, or sometimes, home can be accepting who you are with every little bumpy scar etched into your face.
The illustrations cleverly embed aspects of the Wizard of Oz. There is the yellow brick road, the gingham dress, the red shoes studded with glittering Ruby sequins and the modern Dorothy in her gingham overalls and red Doc Marten shoes. The pastel colours, the intricate details on each page, and the calmness of the journey is beautifully captured by the illustrator. The open verse text and the repetitive lines give this story both a modern and faraway feel.
For ages 5 plus, though the complex idea of home in this broader sense, and the poetic language that comes from Dorothy’s musings and self-talk, may need some introductory discussion especially for the younger ones.