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I Know Here

by Laurel Croza
illustrated by Matt James
read by Demi Pallas

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list price: $12.95
also available: Hardcover Hardcover
published: 2013
Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
4 to 7
p to 2
Reading age:
4 to 7
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Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

I Know Here

The dam her father is constructing nears completion. A little girl and her family, now living in a trailer in the wilderness of north-eastern Saskatchewan, are about to move to Toronto. Just about everything that is familiar to her is about to change. “This is where I live. I don’t know Toronto. I know here,” she thinks. She then reflects on all the things she will leave behind when the relocation occurs to the big city: the road she walks on to get to school, the forest where she plays hide-and-seek, the smell of a fox’s damp fur, her tobbogganing hill, the howling sounds of a wolf at night, her school. The girl asks, “Have people in Toronto seen what I’ve seen?” With her teacher’s encouragement, she finds a way to take just about everything she loves about her home with her.

Author Laurel Croza has written a poignant story told from the perspective of a young girl whose whole way of life is about to change. One is moved by the sense of loss this girl feels as she contemplates a future bereft of the natural world she holds dear. This child may be young in years, but she is wise and so knows the strange dimensions of sorrow. This is beautiful and well crafted writing where simple words reach deeply into a reader’s soul.

Illustrator Matt James sees the protagonist’s world through her eyes. His energetic and vibrant acrylic artwork is childlike and connects beautifully with the text. As with the writing, the pictures evoke a tremendous sense of place.

Which reader would not be touched by the story’s conclusion as the girl decides to sketch her world to take to Toronto? “I will fold up the howl of the wolf and the smell of the fox in his cage and the stare of the old moose and the feel of my heart beating fast as I swooped over my road in a five-seater airplane. I will fold my drawing up small, put it safe in my pocket and I will take my road with me. To Toronto. In the summer. This is what I know. Here.”

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Summer 2010. Vol.33 No.3.

Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

I Know Here

This simple yet moving story will resonate with anyone who has ever had to move from one place to another. Moving from north Saskatchewan to Toronto, the little girl in this story recalls all she knows about her home and wonders how she will leave it behind. Her teacher helps her find a way to keep everything she loves about home.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2011.

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  • Winner, Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award
  • Winner, Ezra Keats New Writer Award
  • Winner, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Excellence in Children's Literature
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The little girl in this story lives in a trailer near a forest in Saskatchewan, where her father is building a dam. She knows and loves everything about the place, but the dam is nearly finished, and when summer comes the family will move to Toronto - a city marked by a big red star on the map at school.

“Have the people in Toronto seen what I've seen?” the little girl asks, thinking of 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… 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

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Editorial Review

. . . will resonate with readers who have also had to leave the place they know and love. For readers who haven’t had to move, the story will help them appreciate the place they know all the more.

— Worlds of Words, The University of Arizona College of Education Review
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About the Authors

Laurel Croza

Laurel Croza is the author of the picture book I Know Here, illustrated by Matt James. It won the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award and the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, among many other accolades. She also wrote the sequel, From There to Here. The Whirlpool is Laurel’s first short-story collection. She lives with her husband in Toronto.

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Matt James

Matt James is a noted painter, a multiple award-winning illustrator and a musician. He lives in Toronto. Visit Matt James' website: http://www.mattjamesillustration.ca/
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Demi Pallas

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