“Lester hasn’t really belonged to anyone or anyplace for a long time….”
Home At Last, written by Vera B. Williams and illustrated by Chris Raschka, is a heart-warming picture book that encapsulates the themes of adoption, family, and safety. Lester, the protagonist of the story, is finally being adopted after spending days in the children’s center since the unfortunate death of his parents and grandmother.
The new parents, however, are two dads: Daddy Rich and Daddy Albert. Both dads try to help Lester quickly adjust to their home environment, but no matter how hard they try Lester is unable to fall asleep in his new bed. This soon becomes an issue as the parents have to walk Lester back into his room every night. Although irritated at first, upon learning that Lester wants to sleep in the same bed as them, the dads are able to better help Lester calm his fears and grow more independent.
Raschka’s beautiful choice of watercolors not only compliment the plot, but helps bring out the story to life. Here he illustrates Lester’s fears about going to bed alone. Despite the comfy bed and numerous toys made available by his parents, he just does not feel safe in this new environment.
Home at Last can be a great starting resource for instigating discussions about inclusion, differences (of backgrounds), and making genuine efforts to get to know each other in a classroom setting. Questions such as “how do you think Lester might have felt in this situation?” and “how is Lester different from you?” can serve as points of initial discussion that delve into even more meaningful topics.
Sadly, Williams passed away prior to the publication of the book. According to a back matter, Williams and Raschka closely collaborated (often at Williams’ porch) and the illustrations are heavily based on Williams’ initial sketches.
By: Eunice Lee