Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

This Is Our House

Yum, Hyewon (Author/Illustrator)
Macmillan 2013. 36 pages
First published: 2013
ISBN: 9780374374877 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

In this incredibly simple yet deeply affecting story, a house that becomes the focal point for one family, their rites of passage and the cyclical nature of time. Starting when the narrator’s parents arrived as immigrants “with just two suitcases in hand,” we see three generations grow up in the house. At first, the narrator’s mother is a little girl. Then the mother returns to have her own family; ultimately, her daughter learns to walk on the same street, witnessing the same tree that bloomed in the spring.

Gorgeous watercolour illustrations work with a clever device in their double-page layouts: a framed still image on one page, with the scene brought into action on the opposite page. One image shows the narrator being held as a swaddled baby in her smiling mother’s arms, while the action scene depicts her parents looking daunted by the baby’s crying and amazed at the new life they are bringing home.

The spare text uses repetition and rhythm to build a sense of endurance and connection across seasons and generations. Every sentence starts with either “this is” or “these are” as a framing technique: “This is the room where they all slept together on cold winter nights.” And later: “This is the room my mom and dad painted for me right before I was born.”

A beautiful story of family and time, gently told.

  •  

    How might the cover look if the book were about your family? How do you think this family will be the same or different from your own?

  •  Notice the illustrator’s use of photographs and scenes from real life. Discuss the role of photographs in documenting important events in a family. Draw a real or imagined photograph of your family and explain the significance.
  •  

    Interview a family member about an important event from your grandparents’ and parents’ lives. Bring in a photograph or draw a picture to share with classmates.

  •  

    What things are the same and different from generation to generation in a family? Share examples from the book and your own experiences.

  •  

    Explore the cover and endpapers. Make predictions about the story.

  •  Create a timeline and a family tree for the people in the story.
  •  

    Identify the house-related vocabulary.

  •  Using pictures or drawings from your home, describe important moments of your life in the same style. Notice the use of this is and these are. Use these forms in your text.
  • To construct his/her identity
  • Citizenship and Community Life