Thursday, September 6, 2018

Almost Home by Joan Bauer

Almost Home by Joan Bauer was published in 2012 and is the first book I've read for a while that makes me want to rush back into the classroom just so I could read this book with a class. 

Sugar Mae Cole, the main character, is in sixth grade. She has a gambling addicted absentee father and a mother full of sunshine and gratitude. Unfortunately, her father has borrowed money on their house, and she and her mother become homeless. This is their story of trying to get off the streets.

Sugar had a grandfather who wrote a book for her and her mother that is full of great advice, but he is no longer living. Sugar also rescues a dog right before they lose their home, and she hopes to keep this dog with her. This dog, this dog, oh, if everyone could have this dog. I love Sugar's attitude and strength when it comes to taking care of and keeping this dog with her. 

Sugar's mom taught her to write the best thank you notes, and gratitude is a theme throughout the book. I want to be more like this - to have gratitude in my heart for all around me. 

This book made me laugh, cry, and think. Although this book was written for middle grade and middle school, I think adults would also enjoy it. There is a lot of great advice in this book for people of all ages. There is also poetry. 

Some quotes I loved:

Page 54 - "It's not fair but sometimes a kid has to act older than their age. You just pray hard to know what to do."

Page 63 - "Whenever you go through a fat mess of a time, try to learn something from it so you don't have to go through it again."

Page 94 "If you've got a place to live and money in the bank, you can sit anywhere. If you're homeless it's called loitering."

Page 138 "We celebrate the wrong people sometimes. We should wake up and see who the real heroes are and give them the star treatment."

Page 140 "You understand that when you take a plant out of starter box, it gets nervous."

Page 141 "I'm always looking to see somebody do something well, so I can copy it. King Cole said you can learn a lot about how the world works by watching people do things right."

Page 173 "Sometimes the best thing that can happen to a person is to have a puppy lick your face."

Page 189 when speaking of peacocks "I'm not sure they're proud as much as they know what they've been given and they're not ashamed to show it."

Page 217 "This little tree here? It can't survive on it's own. The wind will knock it down. So we've got to give it support to grow while it's young."

Page 223 "You just keep taking steps forward little one."

Page 241 "You told me a kind answer turns away anger. And that being kind doesn't mean you are blind."

There are so many good characters in this book. I love Sugar's grandpa, King Cole. I love Lexie, Joonie, and Shush. The characters grow and change, and did I mention there is a wonderful dog in this story?

Link to our NICU book registry if you'd like to donate books to babies in the newborn intensive care unit so their parents can read to them while they grow. You can also donate gently used books to our project by sending them to me or to Angie. Email me for a mailing address. We can use both English and Spanish books. If you have a graduate of the NICU, or if you have a baby whose life you would like to honor by donating books to this project, let me know, and I can make a book plate with their name for the books you donate.

Read to a child today even if that child is you. 

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