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Fly Away Home Paperback – March 22, 1993


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Fly Away Home + The Wall (Reading Rainbow Books) + A Day's Work
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 450L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Reissue edition (March 22, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395664152
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395664155
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 8.6 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this timely and touching work, Bunting and Himler present a naturalistic look at the plight of the homeless--their tale of a boy and his father living in a busy airport is all the more disturbing for its lack of a pat resolution. Ages 5-8.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3-- "My dad and I live in an airport . . . the airport is better than the streets." As they did in The Wall (Clarion, 1990), Bunting and Himler successfully present a difficult subject in picture book format. A small child narrates the facts of his homeless existence--sleeping sitting up, washing in the restroom, and above all, avoiding being noticed. The brief text runs through all his emotions from a matter-of-fact acceptance to a fierce longing that makes him angry at those who have homes. Using subdued watercolors, Himler conveys the vast, impersonal spaces through which father and son move. He often places them at the back or edge of the pictures, underscoring their need to go unnoticed. This is a serious story but not an overpoweringly grim one. There is a reassuring togetherness between father and son and although there isn't an easy, happy ending, it does conclude on a poignant yet believable note of hope. Both illustrator and author focus on giving the child's-eye view of the problem, and their skill makes this a first-rate picture book that deserves a place in all collections. --Karen James, Louisville Free Public Library, KY
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Eve Bunting has written more than 200 books for children, many of which can be found in libraries around the world. Her other Clarion titles for very young readers include My Big Boy Bed, which was also illustrated by Maggie Smith, and Little Bear's Little Boat, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter. She lives in Pasadena, California.

Customer Reviews

It's a good read aloud book.
Amazon Customer
Written to help children understand the problems of homelessness.
NanaZenner
There is a very sad and emotional ending.
Kyle Lockhart

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Jaina Solo on September 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
I really like this book, even though the topic is homelessness. It certainly seems that the author really looked into the subject --her details are really interesting (for example, the child and his father wear blue because people don't notice blue and the more inconspicuous they are, the better). "Fly Away Home" creates a mood--and if you're interested in letting your children feel a tiny bit of the despair that less fortunate children feel, go for it. After all, you can hug your kids and discuss this book as you go along!
I do feel that some of the other reviewers here are unaware that there are two age categories for children's picture books--4 to 8, and 8 to 12. I would say that this book falls in the latter category. Yes, a very bright six year old could sit through the brief text and come away with the message (homelessness=scary+sad), but they probably don't have the capabilities to really use the information and feelings yet. I would say this is a book to read aloud to say, a fourth grade class, when children really need to start considering social issues and things beyond their little world.
If you're one of these people who only wants books about happy bunnies, this is NOT for you. If you feel that your children can't take the "mixed messages" given by the image of airport security being scary to this homeless child, and you just can't take the time to explain to him/her that law enforcement is not a bad thing, then don't pick this book up. If you don't want your child to feel any compassion for people because you just don't want to make him/her "sad," then for goodness sakes, skip this and every other meaningful book in the bookstore.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
"My dad and I live in an airport. That's because we don't have a home and the airport is better than the streets. We are careful not to get caught."

So begins Ms. Bunting's 1991 story, "Fy Away Home" about a homeless child and his father who live in an airport, spending their days trying to blend in and stay under the radar of local security.

Told from the child's persepective, FAH is not an easy book to read, even (and perhaps especially) for adults. Andrew, the narrator, frankly discusses how he and his dad avoid detection by wearing blue, changing terminals, keeping clean in the bathrooms and sleeping sitting up. A number of their fellow homeless friends have been discovered and tossed out, usually for loud or unusual behavior. It's terribly important to Andrew and his dad that they be as invisable as possible.

Andrew tells how his dad takes the bus on weekends to a job where he's a janitor and how the Medinas, another homeless family, watch over Andrew on those days. Dad fishes newspapers out of the trash and makes phone calls, presumably about renting an apartment, but always returns disappointed.

The crux of the book comes when Andrew discovers a bird trapped inside the airport. He keeps an eye on it until one day the sliding glass doors open for just a second and whoosh! the bird flies away to freedom. This becomes a sort of metaphor for Andrew as he stands at the window, watching the planes take off at the end; an end in which we don't know what will become of Andrew of his dad.

"Fly Away Home" was clearly written before the security crackdown after 9/11, but the message will still ring true to post-9/11 readers.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on January 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
An interesting book. The plot follows a boy and his father as they make a life for themselves, living in an airport in 1991. The boy draws hope from their situation by seeing a bird escape the airport itself and take wing. The book's stark realism has many similarities to the more recent picture book, "Visiting Day", in which a little girl goes to visit her father in prison. I don't know if this specific genre of book has a name. Picture realism, perhaps. "Fly Away Home" has often been attacked as "depressing" and not appropriate for children. And admittedly, I do wonder how popular it is with the kiddies. I don't see little children fighting to be the first one to be read this one before bedtime. But this isn't to say it's a bad book. Quite the contrary. The writing and pictures are well done and the plot is informative. In my opinion, kids who've suffered homelessness themselves will connect with the narrator of the story. Those kids who haven't, may find the idea of living in an airport fun. The book really serves, however, as a way to teach our children about homelessness and how those people who suffer from it shouldn't be shunned from society itself. Should you chose to show this book to your kids, you may wish to tell them how this story could never be written today (what with our heightened airport security). A fine well-written book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Noorin on November 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
My 5yr. old and I read this book together. My husband is a pilot for a major airline and we fly quite often with our children. I have always told my children about children who are less fortunate than them. I want them to see reality. This was the perfect book to show that. It was hard for me to read (had to hold back the tears) but I welcomed questions after we finished. They need to be aware such things do happen in our society.
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