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Double Feature for Big and Little Creatures

By Katie Schaefer

Love and loss of home tie together this double feature- not to mention two powerhouse female author-illustrators! These two emotional stories explore the complex reasons for leaving the places we call home. The characters wade their way through, trying the best they can to navigate circumstances out of their control.


ducks book cover

Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Fields by Kate Beaton

For the Bigs-

In this autobiographical story Kate Beaton heads west to the oil fields of Alberta Canada with the goal of paying off her student loans. Kate is originally from Cape Breton, a tight knit coastal community in Nova Scotia that is struggling with the lack of employment opportunities. The oil fields offer an opportunity for quick financial gain, but it’s not without tremendous sacrifice. She endures isolation, persistent sexism and harassment, and an awakening to the destruction the oil fields are having to the land and its people.

Kate endures the experience and we get a glimpse of what life is like for her after. There is grief, anger, and reckoning needed to adjust to life outside of the oil fields. A reckoning that eventually led to this book. Throughout the story she simultaneously has a critical and sympathetic tone towards the experiences and people she encounters. Just like her, people were left without options, and they are all changed because of it.

TW: This book contains incidents of sexual harassment and assault.


the blue house book cover

The Blue House by Phoebe Wahl

For the Littles-

The Blue House tells the story of a single father and son who love a home they have truly made their own. It’s a home where important memories have been made. Sadly, they are seeing their neighborhood change. The houses around them are being bought, torn down, and new big buildings are being constructed in their place. It isn’t too long before they too have to move. In this story, as in Kate Beaton’s, the characters have to adjust to this new life they didn’t choose. They move through feelings of anger, grief, acceptance, and eventually become open to making the new place a home.

Phoebe Wahl’s illustrations drip with coziness and heart. She creates an authentic home that feels so true to the characters. It isn’t a generic place that could be anybody’s home, but so specific to this family that it pains you as they pack up and leave. This book will pull your heart strings, but leave you hopeful.