Lindsay Lee Johnson, Author
Front Street, Fiction, Reprint edition 2008
Suitable for Ages: 10-14
Themes: Artist, Homelessness, Loneliness, Poverty, Different Families
Synopsis: Phoebe Rose dreams of becoming an artist. Her father is her biggest supporter until one day he leaves and never returns. Phoebe and her mother find themselves forced to live on the streets. They are homeless wandering from one soup kitchen and shelter to another. Their only possession, one suitcase that holds all of their belongings and memories. Phoebe’s spirit begins to fade, she stops drawing and sinks into despair. When someone steals their suitcase, her mother sends her to live with her Gran at Full Moon Lake. Healing is slow, until she finds a friend in Ruby, who encourages Phoebe to draw again. Slowly Phoebe begins to find strength within herself until her mother returns and she has to make some decisions.
What I like about this book: This moving story of sadness, loss, relationships and finding yourself, also has an element of beauty. It is narrated in a series of poems or verse by Phoebe Rose as she describes the emptiness, loneliness, and hopelessness of existing day-to-day on the streets. Lindsay Lee Johnson tells a compelling, lyrical and soulful story through the voice of an 11-year-old girl. Her story will linger in your heart long after you’ve put the story down. You really get a glimpse into Phoebe’s pain and suffering. The plot is strong. This book is a stark reminder that there are many children who are homeless and live on the streets in our cities. I highly recommend this book because it help teens understand the humanity of the homeless. Hopefully, it will encourage them to find a way to get involved.
Resource: I reviewed A Kid’s Guide to Hunger and Homelessness: A Guide to Action by Free Spirit Press, in June. It shows many ways kids can get involved through youth groups.