You Are Home, by Evan Turk

I don’t remember where I first saw mention of author-illustrator Evan Turk’s upcoming YOU ARE HOME — An Ode to the National Parks. I only remember how my heart rate picked up when I saw this cover.

Actually, I think my family has a slide of my brother and me in exactly this type of shot. I was one of those kids whose parents hauled them back and forth across the country every summer on long car vacations. I’m enormously grateful for those. Exploring America’s nooks and crannies introduced me to an astounding variety of breathtaking landscapes, instilled in me a sense of awe at the breadth of our country, started my fascination with odd bits of history, fostered an awareness that we’re all connected as a people, and, since we were campers, sparked an abiding love of our National Parks system.

Evan Turk loves our National Parks system, too. And YOU ARE HOME is an astonishing tribute to 25 of them (unless I miscounted). Each spread highlights one park, in artwork that sometimes depicts night scenes, and wait till you see Yosemite’s sweeping gatefold. Wow. Finished artwork is done with pastel on black paper.

Artwork ©Evan Turk 2019

Extensive author’s notes detail Turk’s reasons for the book (his dad is a long-time Park Service employee, and his parents made sure to introduce Turk and his brother to many, many parks). He talks about the creation of the parks themselves, and how that often meant terrible consequences to indigenous peoples. He gives us a glimpse into his artistic process, as well. While spending hours and hours in our parks, he notes: “There were many times when I would be in one place drawing for a while, and the animals would come by as if I were just part of the scenery!”

Artwork ©Evan Turk 2019

Following the author’s note is a map of America pinpointing the locations of our 58 National Parks. 

Oh, wait. I haven’t even talked about the astonishing text! Lyrical free verse. Warm. Personal. The first and second spreads are featured above, but the text may be hard to read in this format, so those first lines are below.

“To the chipmunk in her burrow,/sleeping beneath the leaves to keep warm;  

“to the resilient bison in the streaming oases/of an endless winter:/you are home.”

The poem addresses various animals living in the wilds of our parks and ties that with each diverse one of us, gently and repeatedly assuring us that, no matter who we are or where we live, we belong. Honestly, you can’t read this book without coming away with the feeling that you know a piece of Evan Turk’s heart.

I’d describe this book as stellar, but it turns out that others already have. As of this writing, YOU ARE HOME has received three STARRED reviews. 

Booklist:  “…love letter to America’s national treasures…”

Publishers Weekly:  “…hard to imagine a more fitting testament to their grandeur.”

Kirkus:  “…each majestic spread in this book holds wonders for the eye to explore….”

Releases first week of June. Now available for pre-order. Don’t miss it!

Evan Turk’s website is here.

Jill Esbaum

Jill Esbaum

Jill Esbaum

Jill Esbaum is the author of many picture books. Her latest is How to Grow a Dinosaur. Other recent titles are Frankenbunny, If a T. Rex Crashes Your Birthday Party, Elwood Bigfoot– Wanted: Birdie Friends!, Teeny Tiny Toady, and I Am Cow, Hear Me Moo! Learn more at http://jillesbaum.com.

27 Comments:

  1. Oh this looks amazing!

  2. This is now on my request list. It will make a perfect book for several people I know. Thank you for the feature.

  3. Absolutely gorgeous! I am also big fan of State and National Parks. Can’t wait to get a copy!

  4. Such a relevant time for this to hit the shelves! The illustrations are stunning. I’ll be preordering.

  5. I can’t wait to see this book! Sounds wonderful.

  6. I just know I’m going to love this one!

  7. Thank you, Jill, for sharing this amazing book! I will put in yet another request based on the great books I hear about in this blog.

  8. Such a special book for children and adults.

  9. Avatar
    Karen Henry Clark

    When Cliff and I were young teachers and had summers off, he introduced me to these fabulous parks. Hot springs’ steam rising around a herd of grazing buffalo left me speechless. What a glorious book.

  10. Thank you for bringing this beautiful book to my attention, Jill. This looks stunning. We need to know, love, and cherish the treasure that is our National Park system and this book will help share the gift we have in nature.

  11. Gorgeous! I can’t wait for this one.

  12. I am a huge fan of national parks–can’t wait to read this one, Jill!

  13. This is a perfect gift book for some of my family members! Thanks for sharing.

  14. I’m so excited for this beautiful book! It brings back memories of many childhood trips to our beautiful National Parks. Congrats, Evan!

  15. Avatar
    Lisa Riddiough

    I got teary just reading the review. I can’t wait for this!! Pre-ordering now.

  16. Wow! Thank you for sharing this with us. I hadn’t seen it, but it looks so wonderful.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *