Louisiana, with her quick, insightful takes on everyone she meets, grabbed readers’ hearts in ‘Raymie Nightingale,’ and in this book she isn’t about to let go. Though her life has been filled with hardship and uncertainty — and there are more painful secrets to come — she continues to operate with a sense of wonder and practical optimism (the pages shine with it).
—The New York Times Book Review
DiCamillo offers a master class in how to tell and shape a story once all fat has been cut away. Though set in the mid-1970s, there’s fairy-tale quality to this, with heroes, helpers, villains, and one princess looking for home.
—Booklist (starred review)
Readers who first encountered Louisiana in Raymie Nightingale (2016) will be heartened to learn more about her…For readers who relish thoughtfully constructed plots, well-developed characters, and carefully crafted language, this will be a special treat.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
DiCamillo builds a resilient and sympathetic character in Louisiana, and the juxtaposition of her down-to-earth observations with Granny’s capriciousness lightens the narrative and allows for a good deal of humor…The overarching themes addressing forgiveness, love, friendship, acceptance, home, and family (“Perhaps what matters when all is said and done is not who puts us down but who picks us up”) ring honest and true.
—The Horn Book (starred review)
Populated with unforgettable characters, including kindhearted adults who recognize Louisiana’s dire situation and offer options, this bittersweet novel shows a deep understanding of children’s emotions and celebrates their resiliency. Readers will feel as much empathy for Louisiana as they did for her friend Raymie.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
DiCamillo is able to address complex topics in an accessible and ultimately hopeful way. There is never sadness without comfort, fear without consolation. Louisiana’s soul-searching is no exception and further solidifies DiCamillo’s reputation as a skilled storyteller who trusts her readers to wrestle with hard things. A thoughtful and finely written story that earns its place among DiCamillo’s other beloved novels.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
The tale is…gently told, as much fairy tale as realistic story, in language that’s lovely in its plainspoken illuminations, with the focus on Louisiana’s longing for connection and observations about the people she encounters on the road and in the small 1970s Georgia town. Ultimately this is a deeply sweet but not saccharine take on the old story of an orphan child lost and found, and readers won’t have to know the first book to bond with Louisiana and wish fervently for her to find a home.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)
In this funny yet philosophical melodrama, 12-year old Louisiana Elefante recalls her identity crisis, forced when eccentric Granny claims “a date with destiny."…Disparate elements miraculously mesh — stars, smiles, magic, bologna sandwiches, a pet crow and cakes. Here, a two-time Newbery award winner brilliantly guides the dear Louisiana through lies, secrets, anger and abandonment and toward understanding, belonging, gratitude and forgiveness.
—San Francisco Chronicle
Almost effortlessly, DiCamillo explores some of the biggest, most important questions of life — What is home? What is family? Who decides what kind of person we get to be? — in this deceivingly simple and profoundly moving novel.
This poignant story of loss echoes with themes of hope and redemption.
In Kate DiCamillo’s beautiful follow-up to Raymie Nightingale, Louisiana Elefante is back…The book strikes a delicate balance between relating a charming, entertaining story full of colorful characters and imparting a deeply meaningful life lesson about deciding what kind of person to be.
This is a marvelous book, full of heart but without a drop of cheap sentimentality. . . . What a pleasure it is to read a story in which the author’s faith in the goodness of ‘average’ people is set forth with such vigor and confidence. This celebration of kindness is itself a kindness to the reader and an encouragement to hope.
—Dean Koontz, bestselling author
I really really like Louisiana’s Way Home, a slim, handsome novel about grace.
—Betsy Bird, A Fuse #8 Production (blog)