Childen's historical fiction author, A. LaFaye debuts her first picture book, Walking Home to Rosie Lee. Creatively told from the perspective of young Gabe, who after being freed at the conclusion of the Civil War, is in search of his mother. Adding to the book's charm are the illustrations done by Keith D. Shepard, who depicts the narrative perfectly, engaging readers in a truly endearing journey.
LaFaye brings exposure to a subject that is rarely discussed, the reunification process of African Americans during the reconstruction period. Though this is a heavy subject, LaFaye's depiction is light enough for young readers to understand, but still thought-provoking and authentic to the era, not demeaning the matter in the slightest. It's no wonder why this book has received high praise: 2012 Skipping Stone Honor Book, 2012 IRA Teachers' Choice Selection, 2012 Bank Street School of Education Best Books of the Year Selection.
This is a book that should be read in homes and schools. Gabe is a relatable character and the story reads like he is talking to a friend. Creating a familiar relationship with the reader, it introduces them to the hardships of the time period, thus producing a perfect opportunity for children to be taught about the tough issues such as slavery, the Civil War, and inequality.
Although I recommended this as a book to be read to ages 9+ I believe this book could be read to children who are younger, or those children who are just starting on the adventure of independent reading. If you are a more advanced reader (12+) that enjoys genre literature, you may try reading some of Author A. LaFaye's Juvenile historical fiction novels, or you may enjoy I Am David, by Anne Holm.