A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Homecoming is the first book in a seven-part series known as the Tillerman Cycle. A National Book Award finalist first published in 1981 and reissued in hardcover in March 2012, Homecoming is the compelling story of four siblings, age 6 to 13, who are abandoned by their mother in a parking lot, and have no father to go home to (he left before the fourth kid was born). Throughout the book, they struggle for food and shelter and are often in danger as they seek out relatives miles away to take them in. Mental illness and death are discussed.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Part survival tale, part family story, this classic on-the-road novel features a family of four brave children led by 13-year-old Dicey. Abandoned by their mother in the parking lot of a Connecticut mall, the Tillerman children make a long, dangerous trip to Maryland to find a home.
Is it any good?
The plot sprawls, but that's acceptable in a road novel. The tedium, heat, danger, and unexpected pleasures of the journey are evoked in beautiful, sometimes heart-stopping images. However, some of the adult characters' dialogue doesn't sound entirely believable.
The lead character, Dicey Tillerman, absolutely carries this book. She is a magnificent girl -- fiercely loyal, endlessly resourceful, and intuitive, yet with the short temper and quick emotions of any 13-year-old. Seen through Dicey's watchful eyes, the other children are every bit as believable.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the various definitions of "home" and "family," as well as the importance of sticking together in tough times.
How does Dicey's relationship with her siblings change over the course of Homecoming?
If you were in Dicey's position, would you have done anything differently?