Books about Nova Scotia are abundant. Books about small distinct Nova Scotian communities are not.
Up Home, written by Shauntay Grant with illustrations by Susan Tooke, is a love song about growing up in North Preston, a small community on the outskirts of Halifax, the province’s capital.
Grant is a spoken word poet and laureate. She has presented her history as a member of North Preston’s community with the rhythm and dialect of her family and peers. She has given us, outsiders, a rare glimpse into the secret and intimate life of a North Preston child. Living joyfully, treasuring kinship, running freely, and loving abundantly.
Susan Tooke’s art captures the soul and vibrancy of the faces of North Preston’s community. Each member is unique and expressive, an ardent representation of a neighbourhood fuelled by fondness and pride.
I am lucky to have been given this glimpse into a world so close to my own, but from which I am so far removed. I share it with my children as we snuggle in bed and I share it with my students when we contemplate the individuals who make up the patchwork of Nova Scotia’s identity.
This is a beautiful poem for family and love. A touching memory of a real community.
By Leigha Chiasson-Locke