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When the Stars Came Home

by Brittany Luby and Natasha Donovan (ill.)

l to r: Brittany Luby (Credit: Tenille Campbell of Sweetmoon Photography) and Natasha Donovan (Credit: Lina Bell)

When Ojiig’s father gets a job in the city, he and his parents must make the hard transition of moving away from Mishomis (Grandfather), Kookum (Grandmother), and the rest of their community. Ojiig is no longer able to eat fresh food harvested by his family; he notices that city folk aren’t as friendly; and he’s unable to see the twinkling stars watching over him. To help him through his homesickness, his family tries to make his new room and house feel like their old home. His Mama starts a sewing project, and while she does, she shares all sorts of wonderful family and community stories and history with Ojiig. At long last, Mama is finished with the project and wraps the most beautiful star quilt around Ojiig’s shoulders. As he reflects about how special the quilt is, Ojiig discovers that:

Home is where you learn who came before you.

Home is where you discover who you are.

Home is where you imagine who you might become.

Brittany Luby’s writing is straightforward, tender, and, at times, lyrical. When Ojiig must move, the reader truly understands how he misses the connection to his people, the land, and the sky. The reader is also able to feel the love his family has for him. Natasha Donovan captures the story brilliantly with her warm, bright, and expressive illustrations that demonstrate the love, connection, and wisdom within Ojiig’s family.

When the Stars Came Home is a beautiful book; its gentle lessons are infused with culture, love, family, and resilience. The backmatter includes an author’s note and a pronunciation guide for the Anishinaabemowin words within the book.

This charming book is highly recommended for home, public, and school libraries.


Reviewer: Colette Poitras

Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers


Price: $23.99

Page Count: 40 pp

Format: Cloth

ISBN: 9780316592499

Released: November

Issue Date: November 2023

Categories: Kids’ Books, Picture Books

Age Range: 4–8