At My Door, by Deb Fitzpatrick

Deliveries do not come late on a school night. They don’t come in a normal car, that then speeds away. And they don’t cry.

When Poppy hears the doorbell late at night, she wonders what is happening. Then she hears crying, and worried voices. It seems the family has had a late night delivery – but it isn’t a parcel or a letter. It’s a baby. Suddenly the family’s peaceful, ordered life is turned upside down. Where has the baby come from, and why has it been left on their doorstep?

At My Door is an entertaining story about families and familial stress. The issue of the abandoned baby contrasts with the stable life of the traditional family which Poppy is part of of – Mum and Dad, an older brother and Poppy herself. Along with the msyetry of the baby, and the practicalities of helping her, Poppy becomes aware of the difficulties other families face, as will readers.

This is gentle exploration of some potentially weighty issues, a mix which will draw readers in to the story as well as opening up lots of discussion.

At My Door, by Deb Fitzpatrick
Fremantle Press, 2015
ISBN 9781925162707

Nobody's Boy, by Dianne Bates

there were phone calls that night
welfare people whispering
I was in the next room
scoffing down the pie and drink they gave me
the walls were thin
can you take him?
can you help us out?

I knew what was happening
does anyone want this kid?
that’s what they were saying
does anyone care?

Not many seven year olds know how to ring for an ambulance, but Ron Green does, because he’s been looking out for his mum for quite some time. Now she’s in hospital, and Ron is in foster care, being passed around from place to place. H’es nobody’s boy. His aunt Maree takes him in, but she doesn’t want him – she’s got her hands full with three kids of her own. Dad’s new wife Anna won’t have Ron in the house. And the people who sometimes care for Ron, Pearl and Brian, are off travelling Australia in a caravan. Eventually, Ron is taken in by new foster carers, happy to have a boy of their own. It’s the sort of home he’s always wanted – with a mum and a dad, a room of his own, even trips on aeroplanes. But all Ron really wants is to be with his dad.

Nobody’s Boy is a moving verse novel about the difficulties faced by children who have no stable family life. Ron is a confused,sometimes angry child, who just wants to feel loved. Whilst there are people in his life who do care for him, his sense of abandonment by his parents is strong. Neglected by his mother whilst in her care, he particularly wants to connect with his more stable father, but this is difficult because of his stepmother. The challenges faced by foster families are also highlighted. Ron’s foster parents are caring people who try hard to provide him with the stability he needs, but find it hard to take the place of his absent parents and to undo the damage done in his past.

The subject matter is confronting and sad, but well handled. Readers are given an insight into Ron’s life made clsoer by the use of the verse novel format, allowing key moments and personal feelings to be shared with heartbreaking intimacy.

Whilst the cover image suggests an older boy, Ron turns 10 during the story, making this suitable for primary aged readers, though older readers will also connect.

Nobodys Boy

Nobody’s Boy, by Dianne Bates
Celapene Press, 2012
ISBN 9780987255600

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