Books DiverseKidLit Nomads Homes and Habitats: Restlessness and Refuge Picture Books Reading Themes

[DiverseKidLit] Where Does Home Reside in “Faraway Home”

Myra here.

Diverse Children’s Books is a brand new book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.


We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.

Our theme for today’s Diverse Children’s Books linkup is Diverse Books for Back to School. Please consider writing and sharing your favorite books either about school / back to school or that might make a great read aloud during those first few weeks of school. (The theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are still always welcome.)

Interested in joining as a host or an occasional co-host? Contact Katie at 1logonaut (gmail).

We hope this community will grow into a great resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! Our next linkup will be Saturday, 20 August.

Upcoming Themes

Our theme for the current linkup (beginning Aug. 6th) is Diverse Books for Back to School. Themes are a suggestion only, all diverse book posts are welcome. If you’re interested, you can start planning now for our upcoming themes …

  • August 20th linkup: Favorite International Book(s) for Children. Share your favorite book or books that take place in a different country!
  • September 3rd linkup: Diverse Book(s) Featuring a Character with a Disability. (Need ideas? Check out past winners of the Schneider Family Book Awards.)

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

Our most clicked post from the previous #DiverseKidLit linkup comes from author Gayle H. Swift:The Essential Life Lessons We Must Teach Children. Gayle shares her thoughts about some of the most important lessons we teach children, as well as a detailed review of two great books to use with kids. This is a useful resource for teachers and parents alike!


I bought this book during the Library Warehouse Sale a few years ago and have had it for quite awhile now. I am glad that this reading theme has allowed me to finally pick it up from my unread bookshelf as it seems perfect for our current reading theme on restlessness and refuge.


Faraway Home

Story by: Jane Kurtz Illustrated by: E. B. Lewis
Published by: Harcourt, Inc. 2000 ISBN: 0152000364 (ISBN13: 9780152000363)
Personal copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.

Desta’s father just received a snail-mail (my words, not the book’s which was published in 2000) bearing the bad news about her grandmother in Ethiopia being ill. Desta’s mother told her that her father would need to go back home to Ethiopia to see his mother, which set off a wave of anxiety in Desta.


For one, Ethiopia is simply too far away. And what does it mean for Desta’s father to go back home? Isn’t home where she is and her mother? I love how these queries were intricately woven into the deceptively-simple story, made even more striking by E. B. Lewis’ gorgeous paintings.


As Desta’s father prepares to leave for home, he tells Desta stories about his growing up years in Ethiopia. This little vignette happens to be my favourite:

“… I carried a stick of purple sugarcane over my shoulder. Sometimes I couldn’t wait for lunch but chewed out the sweet juices as I walked to school with mud squeezing up between my toes.”

Desta stares at her father. “Why did you take your shoes off?”

He laughs. “I didn’t wear shoes to school.”

As a Filipino living in Singapore for over eight years now, my own 14 year old daughter has a limited idea of what ‘home’ had been like for us when both my husband and I were children. I like how this book encourages these stories to be passed down from parent to child. Hopefully it provides the younger generation with not just a pat appreciation of what they currently have (which they often take for granted), but a deeper understanding of what their parents truly are like as individuals. This story is also perfect in encouraging discussion among children as to where home resides.


#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:

Katie @ The Logonauts
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Beth @ Pages and Margins
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Carolina @ La Clase de Sra. DuFault
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Gayle Swift, Author of ABC, Adoption & Me
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Jane @ Rain City Librarian
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Marjorie @ Mirrors Windows Doors
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Mia @ Pragmatic Mom
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Myra @ Gathering Books
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Guest Host for August

Shoumi Sen, Author of Toddler Diaries
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Want to be notified when the next #diversekidlit linkup goes live? Click here to join the mailing list. Interested in joining as a host or an occasional co-host? Contact katie at

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Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Singapore. 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 serves as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference. 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 or meeting up with her book club friends, she is smashing that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life.

2 comments on “[DiverseKidLit] Where Does Home Reside in “Faraway Home”

  1. What a moving and important story that will spark many conversations. It Is important to share with kids things about your life. I believe children should know their family history.


  2. When I was young I was always fascinated by my parents’ stories of their childhoods in the places where they grew up – I’m the child of immigrants, who were themselves children of immigrants, so there are many “homes” in our family, each one special and important in different ways.


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