by Richard Van Camp, Dogrib (Tlicho) Dene from Canada
Illustrations by Julie Flett, Cree-Metis from Canada
Translator: Mary Cardinal Collins
Bilingual: Plains Cree/English
Orca Books, 2018.
Paperback Picture book, 26pp.
“A lovely picture book that will resonate with parents and show young readers the profound, positive impact they have on their parents’ lives.” School Library Journal (SLJ)
While the format and subject is familiar to the 0-3 age group, I would resist any thought that We Sang You Home is one to sing only over infants. As the above quote from SLJ observes, We Sang You Home communicates “the profound, positive impact” a child has on their parents. It speaks of an interconnectedness and of legacy; a history, present, a future. All the intimate moments, precious and small in each illustration against an enormous backdrop of time and aspiration and relationship. A child will want to hear this song more than a few times as they grow.
The timeless illustrations are rich accompaniments to the resonance of the words. The opening image and the close are perfect bookends (the family, the white rabbits, the moon), a wish and its granting. There is a completeness, a wholeness, and We Sang You Home provides an opportunity to snuggle in around it and let that reality sink in.
We Sang You Home is precious. I will be adding it to my repertoire of baby shower gifts, especially for music loving friends. We Sang You Home is a painless way to support indigenous creators and add dimension to a child’s library. I read the small paperback version, but it is also available in board book.*
Recommended for all the libraries; for those especially looking for lullabies, diversity, for gifts few else will be aware enough to be giving.
*I understand the value of a board book, but I believe the board books are not bilingual, and it is good for a child to see another language, even if neither of you can speak it.