A Dog Called Homeless

A Dog Called Homeless

Book - 2012
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Fifth-grader Cally Louise Fisher stops talking, partly because her father and brother never speak of her mother who died a year earlier, but visions of her mother, friendships with a homeless man and a disabled boy, and a huge dog ensure that she still communicates.
Publisher: New York : Katherine Tegen Books, 2012.
ISBN: 9780545620758
Characteristics: 202 pages ;,22 cm.


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PimaLib_ChristineR Jun 30, 2020

A children's book about grief, and overcoming grief that isn't precious; or "I'm not crying. You're crying!" We meet fifth grade Cally Fisher on the one year anniversary of her mother's death, which is also her father's birthday. Her father has dealt with his grief by shutting himself off from everyone. Cally has reacted by being the loud, unmanageable kid at school, and pushing her dad to talk about their past at home. That is until she does a "no speaking" challenge at school and decides to just keep going.

A beautiful story that really gets at the heart of how a child can feel dismissed by adults, both emotionally and with words. Cally has even less control of her life than many children: Her mother is taken suddenly in an accident, the house she grew up in is left behind, no one believes that she has seen her mother's ghost, and her friends have left her behind. You can feel how Cally is grasping at the one thing she still feels she has control over.

There are also touching sub-arcs dealing with friendship, acceptance and generosity of spirit that make A Dog Called Homeless a good read for younger readers, but also a way for older readers to reconnect with how tough childhood can sometimes be.

Dec 08, 2019

A very powerful book about a 5th grade girl whose mother has died and her father and brother never talk about it. She begins to fantasize talking with her mother. Soon her family has to move as her father is not working and cannot afford to live in the nice home she has lived in all her life, filled with memories of her mother. As part of a school challenge, she didn't talk for a few days, and then decided to stop entirely.

Her path to talking again include seeing images of her mom with a very real homeless dog, a boy in fragile health in the same apartment building with her, and a listening, caring counselor.

It was a very emotional read for me and I'd suggest that a parent might want to read it before or at the same time as a child does so that they can discuss it. Recommended for 4th--7th graders.

Jun 02, 2019

I think this is a really great book so far. It is interesting and when you read it you get roped into the book and you don't want to stop.

Nov 06, 2017

I love it! It is so interesting and you never know what is going to happen next.Did i mention it is a great book?
~omneya elbadrawi, age 9❤

PimaLib_Kids Apr 13, 2017

I like it because of how emotional it is and how children may respond to special needs in other kids. ~ Maria, age 12

Jul 11, 2015

I am previewing this title as a possible choice for an elementary school book club selection for Fall 2015. It was suggested by a student.

Jun 18, 2013

A Dog Called Homeless is a heartwarming first novel for Sarah Lean. It is about a family coming to terms with the loss of a mother and wife, as well as a novel about friendship, hope and miracles. Cally befriends several important characters who seemingly have nothing in common. There is Sam, a boy who is blind and practically deaf; Jed, a homeless man; and Homeless the dog. The reader knows that they are all tied together in some way, but it isn’t until the end that we witness the true miracle of their relationship. This book is great for anyone who has felt loss or who just wants to read a very sweet story.

JCLChrisK Apr 30, 2013

One sign that a book is a good one is when it evokes an emotional reaction from you. I had an upset moment early in this one where I just wanted to shake Cally's dad for being so clueless and oblivious, and I knew then that the story had me hooked. It's hard to blame him for being distracted: his wife died less than a year ago, he's under huge pressure at work to save friends from layoffs, and he's having to sell the family house since his own pay has been cut. Yet everything he's doing at home with his two kids is so absolutely wrong that I couldn't help but blame him anyway.

Cally doesn't have the option to shake him nor the ability, despite her very definite awareness, to articulate how he is messing up, so she decides to not articulate it--in a contrarian moment at school, the normally boisterous, trouble-prone fifth grader volunteers for a day-long "sponsored silence" fundraiser, then decides she doesn't have any reason to stop being silent; if her dad won't bother to listen to anything she says, then she won't bother saying anything. It's the most she's done to express her continued grief about losing first her mother and now her house.

Cally's silence causes her dad plenty of grief, of course, and starts causing issues at school. But it also opens doors to unexpected friendships and events that are almost magical in their small but healing coincidences. Since I've already spoiled so many of the broad plot points with Cally and her father, I won't mention her mom's ghost, the homeless man with his mysterious, giant dog, the blind-deaf boy she meets, or any of the book's other elements. You'll just have to read it for yourself to find out.

I will share this bit of description I loved that indicates Cally's mental and emotional perspective as they go to look at the apartment they'll be moving into when her dad sells their house:

"It's got great views over the common and good-sized bedrooms; it's a fine example of Victorian history."

"We've done Victorian history at school, and I learned what it was like for children living back then when we rehearsed for Olivia!: misery, disease, and empty bellies."

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red_horse_2441 Aug 15, 2016

red_horse_2441 thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

red_horse_2441 Jul 26, 2016

red_horse_2441 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 12


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