Grades 4 - 7
Grade level Equivalent: 5.2
Lexile® Measure: 820L
DRA: Not Available
Guided Reading: NR
- Determination and Perseverance
- Friends and Friendship
About This Book
Ian and his father, a Vietnam War veteran, have been homeless since Ian was eight. Lately, they've been staying in Chicago's abandoned Hall of Justice not a bad place, since its status as a historic monument means it's kept heated. There's even soap in some of the bathrooms. Most importantly, at least to Ian's dad, the building has a lot of different entrances and exits. Staying out of sight, not leaving a trace, and above all never getting trapped are rules his father lives by, and that Ian has learned in the past couple of years.
When his father doesn't come back one day or the day after that Ian has to remember those rules and start fending for himself. But it's hard to stay out of sight now that people are moving around the building. Ian can't help but be interested in the kite exhibit that's being set up, and soon he's learning more than anybody about the subject from the books that are on display. He manages to pass himself off as the son of one of the project volunteers, and starts leading tours of the exhibit himself. Meanwhile, however, he has to survive a daily struggle, which takes all his inner resources.
Readers will be particularly fascinated with the day-to-day details of Ian's life, all of which take careful planning. Detailed maps of the Hall of Justice help illustrate the maze he so successfully navigates day after day, night after night. Ian finds food in grocery-store samples, and knowledge at the public library. Love he has received from his father. Friendship, however, is something new, and Ian alone must decide whether it is worth all that he must risk. Acclaimed author Carol Fenner plumbs the depths of Ian's complex story, creating sharply etched characters whose actions and reactions make perfect sense in their precarious circumstances. Like her Newbery Honor Book, Yolonda's Genius, this moving novel is simply unforgettable.