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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
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.
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.
Violence & Scariness
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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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.
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.
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Our Editors Recommend
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