Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 211


Dynamic Duo: Book 2

Picture Book: Way Home

Author & Illustrator: Libby Hathorn

Summary: Shane, a young adolescent boy, finds a stray cat and decides to take it home. He tucks the cat into his jacket snuggly and heads through dark streets, alleys, and other dangerous parts of a big city. They peek into restaurants, are chased by a gang of boys, and encounter a dog. Throughout the entire journey, Shane assures the cat, who he calls a series of clever names, that there is lots of milk at his home. When they reach Shane’s home, the reader is somewhat surprised to see Shane crawl under a fence and into a corner of an alley, declaring the entire time, “It’s ok now. You’re safe. Here we are. We’re home.”

Hanna’s Comments: This 2nd PBT Dynamic Duo demonstrates how hospitality and comforting others, even in such humble circumstances, can be practiced. Shane’s constant reassurance to the cat is so moving, particularly in hindsight, as you realize that he is probably engaging in some self-calming. The dangers are ever present throughout the journey home. I began to suspect Shane was homeless towards the end of the story, but for some it will be a big surprise. Note the age appropriateness of this book. It is quite dark, visually and in its tone and subject matter. One of my church’s minister’s is experiencing the favelas of Rio de Janeiro this week, stacks upon stacks of slums that press up to some of most luxurious homes in the world. She is blogging about her journey, sharing photographs and writing about her experiences. It is mind blowing for those of us who live snug in our homes with our needs met. Too many children live in circumstances like Shane’s, alone, out in the elements, without access to basic needs or adults who care. No surprise that the possibility of relating to any living thing, especially another creature in need, offers hope and purpose. Her blog address is http://stephaniearnold.blogspot.com 

Publisher & Date of Publication: Knopf Books for Young Readers, 1994

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 8 and up

# of Pages: 30

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: None at present

PBT Category: Pre 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: affection, anxiety/worry, bravery/courage, brokenness, challenges, comfort, commitment, companionship, darkness/evening/night, difficulties, exclusion/inclusion, exile/separation/walls, fear, found, gentleness/meekness, hiding/isolation, home, homelessness, insecurity, loneliness, neglect, neighbors, orphans, outsiders, perseverance, possessions, poverty, safety, safe place/sanctuary, social justice, survival, wilderness  

Scripture Connections: Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord (Proverbs 19:17); whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name, welcomes me (Matthew 18:5); whoever has (clothing or food) is to share with him who has none (Luke 3:10)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this to a group of older elementary or junior high students as you explore issues of homelessness, social justice or urban hunger and your faith community’s response to such issues.