Home for a While is the heartwarming story of the relationship that develops after Calvin moves in with his new foster carer, Maggie. Calvin has lived in a succession of houses, but hasn’t found anywhere that he can really call home. Will things be different for him at Maggie’s house?
The Story: Feeling unwanted and unloved, Calvin moves in with his new foster carer, Maggie. Calvin’s frustrations and angry reactions to aspects of his new situation cause him to damage or break items, often by accident. Calvin is convinced that Maggie will yell at him but she doesn’t, she finds other ways to help him deal with his stress instead.
Home for a While gives an insight into the insecurities of a foster child who doesn’t have a forever home. From the moment that Calvin walked up Maggie’s big staircase with his little suitcase we were hoping that she could help him find happiness and security with her for a while. Maggie’s patience and care as she seeks to gain Calvin’s trust is heartwarming and we just want to hug her for being so understanding, supportive and non judgemental.
We love Maggie – she’s warm, caring, extremely patient and her approach to fostering offers Calvin security. At bedtime on the first night Maggie asks Calvin if he’d like a hug but he says no. Further hug offers are met with refusal but then Calvin starts to question why Maggie wants to hug him. Her answers make him feel wanted and lead Calvin to believe that Maggie really does care.
Calvin’s Mom is mentioned in the story and shown in an illustration but we don’t know his backstory. We feel his frustration when he can’t find the favourite shirt that she gave him but Maggie’s response helps to calm him. We love this illustration of Maggie and Calvin breathing after a ball accident.
Natalia Moore’s illustrations are beautiful, a mix of double spreads, single pages and cameo pictures on white space. We love the way that she’s captured Calvin’s different emotions in his expressions.
Home for a While oozes kindness and caring and hopefully this book will make it into the hands of families who foster children as well as foster children themselves. It is a great book to stimulate discussions about different family structures and the emotions that affect a child when they are not able to live with their birth parents.
You can watch Lauren reading Home for a While on the Magination Press website.
Age Range: 3 +
Author: Lauren Kerstein / Illustrator: Natalia Moore
We’re always interested in hearing the story behind the story and I’m delighted that Lauren visited Story Snug to tell us what inspired Home for a While.
‘Hope inspired me to write HOME FOR A WHILE. For years, I worked with children in and out of foster care. The children and families (foster and biological) with whom I worked made an indelible impression on my heart. They struggled to make meaning out of their worlds and of themselves. I wanted to write a book that not only paid homage to them, but also offered a way to help ALL children see their strengths. I longed to add some light to dark times, and highlight the incredible resilience and fortitude of the children with whom I’d worked. I also wanted to offer emotion regulation strategies that any child might embrace. Calvin represents all of the children who allowed me to walk beside them, if only for a little while, as they attempted to see their strengths in incredibly trying circumstances. Finally, I worked with wonderful, caring foster parents, and I wanted to show the positive ways a person can impact another. So… I hope this book gives children and families hope.
Thanks Lauren, we think that Home for a While is a beautiful book of hope 🙂
About Lauren Kerstein
Lauren Kerstein is an author and psychotherapist. She’s a Jersey girl at heart who currently lives in Colorado with her husband, their two dragons…er, daughters, and their rescue dog.
Lauren is the author of the Rosie the Dragon and Charlie picture book series (Illustrated by Nate Wragg/Two Lions). Her latest picture book, HOME FOR A WHILE (Illustrated by Natalia Moore/Magination Press) moved into bookshelves February 2, 2021.
Lauren also writes books in her field about sensory challenges, emotion regulation, and flexible thinking. Lauren is one of the founders of #ReVISIONweek, a judge with Rate Your Story, runs a critique business, and is a long-time member of 12×12 and SCBWI. Her writing goals are simple. Read voraciously. Embrace feedback. Grow each day. Work hard. Be passionate. Write courageously. Touch children’s hearts.
Lauren has critiqued several of my picture books and her comments are always really useful and insightful. She offers professional critiques and has some fabulous free resources for aspiring writers on her website.