Andersen Press Andersen Press

Home is Where My Heart Is from Smriti Halls and Alice Courtley

01/06/2023 09:30:22

Today marks publication of the award-winning Smriti Halls’ latest picture book Home Is Where My Heart Is, illustrated by Alice Courtley. This heart-warming tale that teaches us that home is always in your heart.

What does home mean to you? Home is where you’re known, understood and where you can truly be yourself. But is home a place, or is it a feeling? Following Bear’s journey far from home and back again, you will see that home is not one place, it’s the people who love you. And most importantly, you can hold it with you wherever you go.

Speaking on the inspirations behind the book, author Smriti Halls has said, “I was inspired to write the story because, in a physical sense, home for me has been in many places. It’s encompassed many schools and houses and cities – from Nellore – the home of my birth in South India, to North Wales, Manchester, South Wales, Newcastle, St Albans, Liverpool, Hong Kong and London. And while it’s incredible to feel a little piece of all those places is home to me, it wasn’t always easy – starting new schools, making new friends, trying to fit in – sometimes I was welcomed; sometimes I was not. Sometimes I felt myself, often I didn’t.

Amidst all the change, however, I had one real constant – my family – and our kitchen table was a place of laughter, sanctuary and blessing, where conversation flowed, arguments raged, wounds were healed, all were welcomed and each and every joy celebrated. That was home, wherever we were, and it remains so today.

Heartbreakingly, home is not always a given. We live in a world where many are forced to flee physical homes and homelands, where many are separated from those they most love, where home feels far away. Luckily our sense of home is not static – it’s something we carry with us wherever we go, something we can share with whoever we meet… which means that WE can be home for someone else… WE can be there for someone who needs us… WE can be ready to stretch out our arms in welcome to someone new and make them feel at home – like they really belong. Even better, we can let others share with us a piece of the home that they carry with them in their hearts – and we can feel glad for the piece of home we carry in ours.”

Previous books by Smriti Halls have been shortlisted for the Oscars Book Prize, British Book Awards, Teach Primary Awards and the Little Rebels Award.

Home Is Where My Heart Is by Smriti Halls illustrated by Alice Courtley. Hardback £12.99, out now ISBN: 9781839131943