Seven books about home and belonging

Published on: 14 October 2020

Home doesn't just have to mean the place you live - sometimes it's wherever you feel safe when the world feels too big. The Clockwork Crow author Catherine Fisher shares seven of her favourite books that have the theme of home and belonging - from cosy riverbank houses to wild adventures.

Illustration by Robert Ingpen

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

This amazing book is all about home and friendship. The cosiness and security of Ratty's riverside pad, Mole's snug hole, Badger's rambling sett and Toad's sumptuous Hall are the opposite of the strangeness of the Wild Wood, and in the climax of the book Toad Hall has to be rescued from its enemies. The animals have lots of adventures and love the open road and the river, but going home is the heart of the story.

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The Snow Spider by Jenny NimmoThe cover of The Snow Spider by Jenny Nimmo

Illustration by Daniela Terrazzini

A great story about family. When Gwyn's sister goes missing on the mountain he has to use his Nain's five magic gifts to find and rescue her. Magic runs in the family and Gwyn's powers are rooted deep in the Welsh countryside.

The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier

A book I first read in school and have admired ever since for its brilliant writing. A Polish family of children trek through war-torn Europe to Switzerland to find their missing parents, with only a silver sword and a message to help them. It's an amazing story about the loss of home and the desperate need to find it again.

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The Stone Book Quartet by Alan Garner

Four short and brilliant books, each one based on an episode in the life of one of Garner's ancestors. Climbing inside a spire, building a sledge, becoming a blacksmith, working as a stone mason, these amazingly descriptive stories celebrate the history of a family and its children, and how crafts and tales are passed on through the generations.

Watership Down by Richard Adams

The cover of Watership Down by Richard AdamsIllustration by David Parkins

Yes, they may be rabbits but they are also people. This is another brilliant story about the search for a new home when the old one is destroyed. And Fiver and Hazel's journey through the land in search of a safe place to live seems even more important now when wildlife and our countryside are more endangered than ever.

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War of the Worlds by H G Wells

This may seem a strange choice for books about home and belonging, but it's a book where the whole earth and mankind itself is threatened by the terrible invaders from Mars, and there seems to be only destruction ahead. It's a book that makes us realise how we should look after our planet and each other.

Carrie's War by Nina BawdenThe cover of Carrie's War by Nina Bawden

Illustration by Patrick Leger

A story about a brother and sister evacuated to Wales during the Second World War where they have to live with the awful Mr Evans. When Carrie tries to heal the broken family, she just makes things even worse. A story about tricky family resentments, with an odd, spooky atmosphere.

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Catherine Fisher is a poet and author of acclaimed children's books including The Clockwork Crow, The Velvet Fox, and The Midnight Swan. Follow her on Twitter.


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