These are three books about finding home. There is a story about a dog, a cat, and a boy. All three books are hopeful, beautiful stories, but the latter two books mention death in a few places, so you may want to pre-read them (and edit as needed) if you are reading to a child with anxiety issues.
The Adventures of Taxi Dog by by Debra Barracca and Sal Barracca, illustrated by Mark Buehner. This is a vividly illustrated rhyming story about a homeless dog who is adopted by a taxi driver. The book is based on a taxi ride the authors took with a driver who brought his dog in the taxi with him. The story is sweet, light, and the rhymes are fabulous. My kids loved that the book is written from the point of view of the dog, “My name is Maxi, I ride in a Taxi…”, and they also loved all the city sights that are illustrated within the book (we are not living in a city currently). This is a fun, joyful book about a dog who finds the perfect home. Watch out, though – your little audience members may think they should adopt an animal after reading this one!
The Cat Who Walked Across France by Kate Banks, illustrated by Georg Hallensleben. The paintings inside this book are gorgeous. We stopped several times during the first read through of this book to enjoy the paintings. The story is also wonderful, a story about a cat’s search for its home. In the story, the grey cat’s owner (an old lady) dies, and he is sent off with his owner’s things to the north of France. No one pays attention to him, so he leaves, being drawn back to his home near the ocean. The map on the inside of the back cover shows you his route, and the illustrations show some of the famous sights of France (such as the Eiffel Tower on the cover). While some children may be upset by the death of the owner, the joy in seeing the cat return to its former home (and be accepted by the new occupants) at the end of the book seems to overcome any lingering sadness. The paintings of the cat near a snow covered mountain, and of the cat walking past the boats at the South of France are breathtaking.
Selavi, That is Life: A Haitian Story of Hope by Youme Landowne is a beautifully illustrated book based on the true story of a Haitian boy’s search for a home. Selavi (the boy) becomes homeless, and he ends up finding a group of children who are also homeless (there are mini-bios of each child. They live in one area of town and pool their resources until the police force them to leave. They meet up again, and Selavi turns to a church, and asks them for help. Together they build a home for homeless children, and create a radio station for children as well. When the first home is burned down, they work together to build another home. While there are sad portions of the story, there is an overwhelming message of hope and the positive power of community. There is a lovely (for the adults) section at the end of the book that tells more about the true story.
All three books were well received by all three children (3, 6, and 8 ). I did skip a few words of the third book due to some anxiety issues, but the book was well liked overall. The stories and the illustrations of all three held everyone’s interest, including the adults. We highly recommend all three!