Rebecca Upjohn, Author
Renée Benoit, Illustrator
Second Story Press, Fiction, 2007
Suitable for Ages: 4 and up
Themes: Homelessness, Hunger, Compassion
Opening: “Shall we take the bus home today?” Lily’s mother asks. Lily peers from under her umbrella. “Let’s walk. I like the rain.” She takes her mother’s hand to cross the street. Her mother goes around the puddles. Lily skips through them.
Synopsis: During her walk home, Lily backs into a scraggly looking man who is selling newspapers. His clothing is ragged and he is soaked from the rain. Lily is frightened. Her mother gives the man a dollar and thanks him for the paper. Lily and her mother have many encounters with the man outside a favorite shop. But as the seasons change, Lily begins to see him differently. Winter arrives and she sees that his coat is thin and has holes. The soles on his shoes reveal bare toes peeking through the ends. He has no gloves or hat and his ears are red from the cold. Lily is so concerned about the paper man, that the images of him on the street makes her toss and turn in bed — until she comes up with an idea.
Why I like this book: There are very few children’s books about the homeless. Rebecca Upjohn tells a compelling and heartwarming story about how a little girl makes a difference for one man. Children by nature are compassionate and want to help, and this is a perfect book to talk about the many kinds of homelessness. There is a lovely marriage between art and text in this beautiful story. Renée Benoit’s illustrations are vivid and evoke a lot of compassion from the reader.
Resources: This is a good discussion book with kids. What would you do if you saw some one in great need? There are many activities kid can do to help the homeless: donate to local food pantries, donate clothing and toiletry items, books, clean toys to shelters. Visit Rebecca Upjohn’s website where she has a teacher page of suggested activities and resources to use with children in the classroom.
Perfect Picture Book Friday will go on vacation after today’s post. It will resume in September. I will cut back on my posts this summer, but will continue to post some picture books, middle grade and young adult reviews. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.