Review of You Belong Here, by M. H. Clark, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault

You Belong Here

by M. H. Clark
illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault

Compendium, 2016. 32 pages.

I was ready to dismiss this book as a fluffy book to make parents feel good – but the more I read it, the more it won me over.

The poetry is lyrical. The first page sets the tone:

The stars belong in the deep night sky
and the moon belongs there too,
and the winds belong in each place they blow by
and I belong here with you.

The book talks about where various things in nature belong – whales, fishes, waves, dunes, trees, deer, birds, frogs, lilies, turtles, otters, cattails, carp, and more.

Here’s an example:

The pines belong on the mountainsides,
tucked under their blankets of snow
and the bears belong in the caves where they hide
whenever the storms start to blow.

Some creatures were made for the land, or the air,
and others were made for the sea;
each creature is perfectly home right there
in the place it belongs to be.

After two spreads about things in nature, the book always comes back to a picture of a house with a lighted window and a page of poetry about how you belong with me.

Now, my children are adults, and my youngest is actively looking for a job and plans to move away. So I was a little bit resistant to lines like this:

And no matter what places you travel to,
what wonders you choose to see,
I will always belong right here with you,
and you’ll always belong with me.

But if I shift gears and think about a little one, cozying up with Mom or Dad – isn’t that a wonderful message to convey? You belong here. You are loved, and you belong. And yes, even when you’re grown up and wander far, you will always have a place in my heart, I will always feel at home when I am with you.

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Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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