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[Nonfiction Wednesday] A Concept Book On What A House Means in “A House Is A House For Me”

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Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2016 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year.


I bought this book in one of the non-bookish places ever – Savers in Las Vegas. People may not be aware that you could actually purchase picturebooks at 69 cents in this unlikely place. Yes. That cheap. That is why I went crazy the last time I was there just getting my hands on so many books, and here is one of them.


A House Is A House For Me

Written by: Mary Ann Hoberman Illustrated by: Betty Fraser
Published by: Scholastic, Inc. 1978 ISBN: 0140503943 (ISBN13: 9780140503944). Book Award: National Book Award for Children’s Picture Books (Paperback) (1983) 
Personal copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.

I normally don’t go for rhyming text – but there are instances when the play with words is so ingenious and refreshing that I reconsider, and fall in love with the rhythm of the language all over again. Such is the case with this brilliantly-conceived picturebook about the many different ways a house can be defined:


A web is a house for a spider.

A bird builds its nest in a tree.

There is nothing so snug as a bug in a rug.

And a house is a house for me!

The last line provides a refrain for young children to easily remember and recite with glee during read-alouds. Apart from providing interesting information about the different types of dwellings across varied creatures (see below):


… it also extends the idea further by noting how any space that encloses even a thought or an idea can be a “house” for it (see below):


Recall that this book was published in 1978. While the images do look outdated, the vivid colours, the dynamic art render it timeless. Have you even imagined your boot being a house for your foot? How clever, indeed. I particularly like how the images portray intertextuality and references to other favourite stories, see the two photos below:


Do you know what story this was culled from?


I so loved seeing Ferdinand here and the idea of: “A book is a house for a story.” I have so many houses in my home! And if one thinks in this fashion, anything can be a house to anything! Beautiful.

To make life even more interesting for you, I found this youtube clip of the coolest houses in the world. Enjoy!

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

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