California Young Reader Medal Award Nominee

A Dog Called Homeless by Sarah Lean

Nominated for the 2015-2016 California Young Reader Medal (CYRM) Award* for intermediate readers, this is a story that touched my heart. Cally’s mother has died, her family is devastated, and she has stopped speaking because “talking doesn’t always make things happen, however much you want it to.”

But Cally still sees her mother, and whenever she sees her mother, she also sees a mysterious dog she names Homeless. Adrift and lonely, Cally is befriended by her blind neighbor, Sam, and together they try to find Homeless a home, say a final goodbye to her mom and heal her family’s broken heart.

A Dog Called Homeless is Sarah Lean’s first novel. It is a kind, thoughtful story with a fabulous aha-moment wrap-up. There are two more titles in the intermediate category of the CYRM nominee list that I will also review: Wildwood by Colin Meloy and True (…Sort of) by Katherine Hannigan. If they are as well-written and touching as this story, then California students will have a tough decision on their hands voting for the medal winner.

*The California Young Reader Medal program was created in 1974. California children read, nominate and vote for their favorite books. To be nominated, a book must be an original work of fiction by a living author that is published within the last four years. The CYRM committee reads all the suggested titles and selects the list of nominees for consideration.

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