When Joyce Carol Thomas was about ten, her family boarded a train and immigrated from Oklahoma to California. IN THE LAND OF MILK AND HONEY, is Thomas' memoir, a love song to California, that follows the family's journey to their new home.
IN THE LAND OF MILK AND HONEY is a quiet book, brimming with beautiful word portraits. It's not a book that I'm sure kids will love on their own; I think it's one they will fall in love with when they hear it read aloud. I see myself using it again and again in mini-lessons on how authors use details, or on how carefully they choose their words, or on surprising images.
The waiting train huffs
"Hurry, hurry, hurry!"
And I worry, worry, worry,
hiss, hiss, hiss
and I'm afraid we'll
miss, miss, miss
And so we ride into early afternoons
past quick and slow-stepping lizards
on dazzling rocks.
We ride into late afternoon
past a snake whose body is a pen
on the paper-dry earth.
Beyond the bay
mountains topped with ice cream snow
reaching toward the cloud-powdered sky
in the Land of Milk and Honey
Thomas' beautiful language is paired with the signature sepia illustrations of one of her favorite partners- Floyd Cooper. Perfect!