I Know Here
Written by Laurel Croza & illustrated by Matt James
Published by Groundwood Books
The little girl in this story lives with her family in a trailer in northeastern Saskatchewan, where her father is building a dam. She knows everything about the place - 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 . . . But the dam is nearly finished and when summer comes the family is moving to Toronto - a place marked by a big red star on the map at school.
"Have people in Toronto seen what I've seen?" the little girl asks. 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.
"While the text is deliberate and declarative, the illustrations, while respecting all the details important to the girl, are extravagantly expressionistic."
- Horn Book, * starred review
"...a beautifully wrought tale in which the illustrations - semi-abstract renditions of mountains, trees, trailers and children, given shape by virtue of bold outlines and equally bold daubs of colour - amplify the book's emotional resonance as well as its visual impact"
- The Globe & Mail
"...a simple and profound book... Croza balances her story on something far more hopeful and true: a child realizing that the act of making art is a way of preserving memories of home. And to remember, you have to do something: pay attention, draw a picture and take it with you."
- New York Time Book Review
"...a simple, achingly beautiful picture book. ...These images are heartfelt, and blanketed in such a forlorn mixture of love and sadness that it's hard to imagine they are not straight from Croza's own memories. Illustrator Matt James uses a mixture of childlike lines and warm, inviting colours to bring the landscape of childhood to life."
- Quill & Quire, * starred review
"Beautiful book - not a single sentence that isn't grounded in specific and resonant detail. The universal theme is wonderfully captured, as in a poem for the heart"
- Wayson Choy
"This little book is not only a poignant treatment of home and stablity making way for the unknown, it's a testament to the resilience of children. Laurel Croza in her text gives us a worthy protagonist as well as a glimpse of Canadiana most city kids will never experience... All in all, it's a book worth buying. And sharing."
- Montreal Gazette
"Kids facing their own wrenching upheavals will take heart in the girl's celebration of her roots and what she knows about herself and the world, all of which give her strength to move on."
"Croza conveys beautifully the precise, multi-sensual awareness and familiarity that comes in childhood, in which knowledge of place can seem an inalienable part of identity. James' intense colours, sharp black lines and stylized, almost child-art perspectives deepen the conviction and promise in the girl's decision to fold everything she knows into a drawing."
- The Toronto Star
"This is beautiful and well crafted writing where simple words reach deeply into a reader’s soul. Which reader would not be touched by the story’s conclusion as the girl decides to sketch her world to take to Toronto?"
- Canadian Children's Book News
"Croza’s beautifully written text depicts a young child immersed in her senses. I Know Here may just become a survival guide for children in families on the move."
- The Children's Book Review
"...a moving tale of hope and resilience that will soothe the hearts of young and old alike who are facing a move. It offers the simple but inspiring message that saying goodbye doesn't mean you can't take the things you love and treasure with you safely in your memories."
- My San Antonio
"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."
- School Library Journal
- CM Magazine
"Croza's words are understated and so allow us to really feel the emotion coming through them. She has captured the emotions with skill and grace, not overwhelming them, but allowing them to stand on their own. Few picture books have ever moved me to tears. This is one of them."
- Kids Lit Blog, Menasha Library
"This is what award winning children's books are made of"
- The Huffington Post
"The focus, language, and repetition in this book make it stand out as one worth having."
- A Year of Reading Blog
"I loved this book from the start... Here’s a book that can be a wonderful discussion starter, writing prompt or a bridge to wider curriculum topics such as community or immigration."
- Bookends Book Blog
"My kids loved I Know Here... They could relate to the little girl's feelings of leaving behind the world she knew and loved for something foreign and maybe a little scary."
• Today's Parent Magazine
100 Best Canadian Kids' Books of all Time
• SYRCA Shining Willow
• Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award
• TD Canadian Children's Literature Award
• Winner, 2011 Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award
• Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award
• Red Clover Children's Choice Picture Book Award
• The White Ravens - International Youth LIbrary
• CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens
• Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices
• USBBY Outstanding International Books Honor List
• Winner, 2010 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Excellence in Children's Literature: Picture Book
• Governor General's Literary Award: Children's Literature -- Illustration
• Quill & Quire Books of the Year
• Horn Book Fanfare Best Books
• The Globe and Mail - Children's Books - Top 10 of 2010
• Children's Book Review Best Kid's Picture Books
• Book of the Week, University of Delaware Education Resource Centre
• Book of the Week, Cooperative Children's Book Centre, University of Wisconsin-Madison