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Classic novel of four brave children looking for a home.
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What parents need to know

Educational value

Readers learn about what it's like for kids to survive on the road without a parent to take care of them. They also get a glimpse of farm life and learn a bit about mental illness.

Positive messages

The kids stick together and rely on each other in the face of great hardship, loss, and deprivation. They remain hopeful that they will find a physical home, but also know that their true home is wherever they are together as a family.

Positive role models

Dicey Tillerman is fiercely loyal and endlessly resourceful as she leads her siblings to find a home. Kind college students offer food and overnight shelter and then a ride to the kids' aunt's house. Abigail Tillerman, the kids' grandmother, resists the idea of letting the kids stay at her farm, but faces her fears and comes around.


Four kids in a family are abandoned by their mother. They try to earn money picking tomatoes but realize they are in danger and must escape. Sammy gets into fights at school.

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A villainous character calls a kind circus owner the "N" word.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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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.

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.

Families can talk 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?

Book details

Author:Cynthia Voigt
Genre:Contemporary Fiction
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:January 1, 1981
Number of pages:388
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12

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Adult Written bysoccerrules March 1, 2011


This is the worst book ever DO NOT READ IT. Had to read it as a novel study torcher reading it!
Teen, 13 years old Written byShelby~Renee April 9, 2008

Sad and happy. I didn't want to put it down until it was done!

After raising four children by herself, their mother just broke down. Her mind just stopped, she ran away from her problems. Then she never came back. Their mother stopped at a shopping center in Connecticut. She left the children in the car alone on a hot summer day. The children were worried and didn’t think she was coming back, but they still awaited her return. A whole day and whole night went by and still nothing. The only thing they could do is stay together. Dicey, the eldest child of the four took charge and began to be the mother of the family. They left the car in parking lot by the shopping center, and set off to meet an aunt whom they’d never met, in Bridgeport. After a while the four realized how far away it really was to aunt Cilla's house. Dicey got a lot of fighting and tantrums from her younger siblings James, 10, Maybeth, 9, and Sammy, 6. They traveled from five to ten miles per day, by walking. They only had seven dollars to begin with, so it was hard to get food and everything else in order to live, without any money. Luckily for them Dicey could to read a map, and was able to find some place safe to sleep at night, most of the time. The first place that they stayed was at a camp ground. Dicey was able to find small jobs to earn little money so they could still eat. The Tillermans never steal, but I think that trait skipped Sammy, who felt he had to steal for his family, in order to be able to eat. When they got to a town with a college there was nowhere to sleep. Dicey, James, Maybeth, and Sammy stayed under a bush in front of the college, until young student at the college sat next to her. She didn't know what to think, and when he asked to help her she was even more confused and unsure of things. She hesitated at first, but then decided her family needed a place to stay. This was the best decision thatDicey could make for her family. They were fed, washed, and slept in warm beds. They were even offered a ride to their great aunt Cilla’s house. They were very grateful, so Stewart, the one who was helping them, gave them a ride to aunt Cilia’s. By that night, they made it to their aunt's house. They waited, and waited until a small woman with big hair walked past them into the house. Confused they waited for her They asked for their aunt Cilla and the woman with big hair had told them Cilla died awhile ago. This woman’s name was Eunice and she was the children’s cousin. The Tillermans stayed with cousin Eunice for awhile. Staying there was a bad idea. James was getting good schooling, but Maybeth and Sammy were having trouble in their schooling, and Dicey wasn't enjoying doing chores for Cousin Eunice everyday. After getting a check for the car they had abandoned in Peewauket, Connecticut, Dicey got a few more jobs washing windows. After getting enough money to travel to Crisfield to see her grandma the four children were alone and traveling again. It seemed like forever to get to get to their grandma's house. Now you finish the story. Those are just bits and pieces of the story It was great!!
Teen, 15 years old Written byadkesalyn January 6, 2011

A must read.

Love it.
What other families should know
Educational value


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