Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

A boy learns to live between Here and There

Here and There, by Tamara Ellis Smith/Illustrated by Evelyn Daviddi, (March 2019, Barefoot Books), $16.99, ISBN: 9781782857419

Ages 4-8

Ivan is a biracial child who splits his time between his two homes: Here, where he lives with his mother, and There; his father’s new home. Here, Ivan is comfortable; he sits in a tree and chatters with the birds. There, he curls into a chair, pulled into himself, ignoring his father’s attempts to engage him. Dad knows how to reach his son, though: he starts playing a song on his guitar, and Ivan can’t stop the good feelings from flowing through him. As Ivan negotiates living Here and There,  he knows there is music, there are birds, and there are people who love him at each place.

Here and There is a touching story about living as a child in a divorced family. Being taken out of his comfort zone; his home, makes Ivan feel off-balance. He isn’t Here, with the familiar; he’s There. He may even feel different around his father, bein gin this different place, with his father not where he’s supposed to be. But music builds a bridge between father and son: Ivan has an affinity for music, as we s

ee early on, when he chatters with the birds in his mother’s home. Once his father’s guitar music opens the door to conversation, Ivan reaches a new comfort zone, and finds himself discovering new birds in his father’s neighborhood, too. He’s building a new life for himself, understanding and working through feeling guilty for being happier in one place or another.

Here and There will speak to many kids who split their time between two households. The text uses the concepts of “Here” and “There” to explain Ivan’s familiarity and initial discomfort  as he learns to navigate between his mother’s and father’s home.  The pencil, acrylic paint, and collage artwork presents multiracial characters with soft, gentle facial features. Back matter includes 12 different birdcalls, with phonetic pronunciation, for kids to try out. Display and booktalk with The Mirror in Mommy’s House/The Mirror in Daddy’s House by Luis Amavisca, which uses a mirror to connect a child with two households.



I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading ( I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (, where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

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