• JoAnne Saldanha

A House. A Home. Two spectacular books that make you reflect on the meanings of those words.

Updated: Jun 11

It was peeping out at me at my neighbourhood book store…the kind of store that stocks, bestsellers, ‘olympiad’ books, ‘workbooks’, hair clips, pens, files, staplers, hair-straighteners, pen drives, chocolates, bottles of bubbles, palmyra plates, cards for all occasions, chart paper, ’return gifts’ and the likes. You get the drift?

As I strolled through its very narrow and crowded aisles, my eye caught this one peeping out at me. Have you ever felt the call of a book? For some indescribable reason, ‘A’ particular book calling you? I have. Too rarely. But it HAS happened.

I picked it up, began reading, got pulled into the curves of its pages. When I was done, I found that I was holding my breath. Clutching the book close to my chest, I walked to the till.


The book?


A HOUSE THAT ONCE WAS by Julie Fogliano and Lane Smith.


Two children find a house, deep in the woods. A house that was once painted blue. They tip-toe and creep up the path to the front of the house to… “A door that is closed But not quite. A door that is stuck between coming and going A door that was once painted white.”

Climbing through the window, the children enter the house… “Inside the house It is silent but creaking. We’re whispering mostly But not really speaking. We whisper though no one would mind if we didn’t The someone who once was Is someone who isn’t The someone who once was is gone.

The book continues in this gentle, lyrical vein, lulling yet mesmerising the reader with its soothing rhythm. The tone is hushed yet, creates the atmosphere of the house around you, making you wonder and imagine along with the children in the book, about the previous inhabitants of the house, their hopes and dreams.

Does the house remember the stories of the someone who lived there? Wondering this they head back to their own house where their dinner is waiting, back to their home which is cozy and warm.

“Deep in the woods Is a house Just a house That once was But now isn’t A home.”

The words vie with the illustrations, both beautifully pulling you into the story.


The second book I wanted to share with you is:


I HAVE A HOME by Claudia Legnazzi

Mostly wordless, with absolutely stunning illustrations, filled with wonder and ability to take you on a journey, this book makes you reflect on what exactly is ‘home.’

“For wherever I am my home is always there.”

It is often said, that there is no place like home. Yet home IS where the heart is.


Two books to make you reflect, think and accept…the meaning of ‘home.’

As I find so often, picture books hold so much wisdom and philosophy…read them to the children…but definitely read them yourself!!







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