What You Need to Know:|
• How to Steal a Dog is a frank, unwavering look at issues facing many Americans today: homelessness,
unemployment and a single parent home. And, brilliantly, it's a children's book.
• The character development is in-depth and the issues they are facing are large. It is an excellent example of
narrative writing, really well-written.
• While the actual difficulty of the text would probably fall into the Reader SR reading level, we have bumped it up to
the Independent JR level due to the content.
• The content is real and raw and it happens to someone their own age, so you just want to monitor this book when
you put it into a young reader's hands, checking in periodically to make sure they are feeling ok about the story.
• This book makes a wonderful book club selection for parent/child book clubs.
How To Steal a Dog is told from the point of view of a young girl. It is the story of her family's (single mom and little brother) struggles, which include homelessness, poverty and living in their car. Georgina, our young heroine, sees a reward sign for a lost dog. She misguidedly thinks that if she steals a dog, waits for the reward sign to go up, and returns the dog, she will get enough money to give her mom a down payment for an apartment.
Clearly, this doesn't work out. The owner of the dog Georgina steals is not much better off than they are. Even though from the curb the house looked like it would have an affluent owner, it turns out the woman is struggling nearly as much as Georgina and her family, which fills Georgia with guilt. While trying to keep her homelessness a secret from her friends and holding a dog hostage, Georgina tries to pretend to all that everything is just fine. This book explores this journey, and is mainly about Georgina's conscience and doing the right thing. We root for Georgina, and want her to do the right thing (she does), but there are a lot of gray areas along the way. This makes for a wonderful discussion about ethics and values.
2007, 192 pages
Feelings, Animals, Character/Values, Good Book Club Selection, Life-Challenges, Books for Boys