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Nowhere to Call Home

4.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Realistic fiction for tweens
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This realistic rags-to-riches (and back again) tale set in the time of Hoovervilles and bread lines follows a girl who takes up a hobos life. Sheltered, wealthy Frances Barrows world is thrown into chaos when her fathers factories go bankrupt and he kills himself during the Depression. When she hears a servants plan to become a hobo and ride the rails, 12-year-old Frances sees a way out of being sent from her home in Philadelphia to live with her stern aunt in Chicago. She gives the slip to the adults, cashes in her train ticket and disguises herself as a boy, leaping into a dark boxcar headed for Pittsburgh and freedom. DeFelice (Clever Crow) convincingly depicts Francess transformation to boy vagabond Frankie Blue, as well as the heroines blossoming friendship with Stewpot, the seasoned 15-year-old who takes her under his wing right from the get-go. By disguising Frances as a boy, the author cleverly evades graphic details of the dangers to frills, or girls on the move (alluding to the dangers through a few cameo appearances by other down-and-out females). Details of the Depression get more weight than character development; while readers will have a clear sense of the destitution that characterized the era, they may have less of a sense of who Frances is. Nonetheless, they will likely be relieved that she finally decides to leave a life on the streets for the safety of her aunts home. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-6-After her father's suicide, 12-year-old Frances Elizabeth Barrow decides on a life of adventure by travelling around the country disguised as a young male hobo in this book by Cynthia De Felice (Farrar, 1999). An experienced teen transient, Stewpot, befriends her and she accompanies him on his excursions. She soon learns about the uncertainty involved with hopping freight cars and living with strangers, some of whom prove untrustworthy at best and dangerous at worst. Frankie Blue, her road moniker, eventually decides that living with a distant aunt in Chicago is far better than a dubious life on the road where finding a secure place to sleep and a meager meal is paramount. Narrator Alyssa Bresnahan effortlessly allows the Depression Era hobo terminology to roll off her tongue, and she convincingly conveys the emotions felt by Frances initially as an innocent after her father's death and then during her developing awareness of reality as a transient scrounging for food and companionship. She skillfully alters her vocal inflection and tone to enable listeners to aurally distinguish between various characters who interact with Frankie. This audiobook would be a valuable addition to historical fiction collections, and would complement an instructional unit focusing on Depression era social issues or on the reality of attempting to be self-sufficient at a young age. The last cassette features an insightful interview with accomplished author, Cynthia De Felice.
Cynthia Schulz, Northwest ESD 189, Mount Vernon, WA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • School & Library Binding
  • Publisher: Topeka Bindery (June 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0613359925
  • ISBN-13: 978-0613359924
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,878,652 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
On multiple occasions, I've read this book to students and my own children. I can barely read the last part aloud, I get so choked up. Today when I finished it, I said, "I hate that book, in a way."

My daughter said, "Yet you read it to us again and again." Yes, because a great book affects the reader like that. If you're not laughing, yelling, or crying at some point . . . . Of the more than 16,000 books I've read in the last 36 years, Nowhere to Call Home is one of the few books that really gets to me, every time.

The author did such a great job of pulling readers into the lives of the characters, getting us to love and care about Stewpot and Frankie Blue . . . .This book is excellent for parents or teachers to read aloud to children and discuss the issues it contains: social issues, economics, even sexual abuse (though it is not explicit, it is clear to adults that it's alluded to in this book). I would not just hand it to a child, however. There is truth in this fiction, and it is a great way to talk about a lot of things, as well as to help young people develop empathy and gratitude.
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Format: Paperback
This great book is about a girl named Frances Elizabeth Barrow who's father kills himself when he loses his fortune. One of her servants tells her about how he hopes to become a hobo since he lost his job, and Frances decides that the life of a hobo would be great. So instead of going to live with her aunt like she's supposed to, she trades in her train ticket for money. She dresses up as a boy. Then, she becomes a hobo and begins a very exciting time in her life. She meets an older boy hobo nicknamed Stewpot and they go through a lot together - good and bad things. Then a tragic occurence happens that changes Frances' life forever in a not so good way. This story explains the hardships of the Great Depression and is a great read for anyone at least 10 years old.
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Format: Paperback
This book starts with the gunshot suicide of the lead character's father.

It has a reasonably entertaining plot, but I would be cautious about just giving this book to a child.

Adult themes. Lots of slang and non-standard English. Thefts, threatened violence, plenty of secondary characters talking about sex, getting pregnant, and getting dumped. Police brutality.

Death of the child's companion; hopeful homecoming.

All that aside, if even one kid reads this book and learns more about Hoovervilles, and the misery brought about by Progressive policies, then it will be worth it. Hoover believed the economy should be managed by experts -- always a recipe for disaster.
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Format: Paperback
This is a very interesting book. Lots of great characters, great details of the hobo life and the depression. Every detail was interesting.
Frances finds herself all alone in life after her father loses his money in the stock market crash and takes his own life. Junius, who worked for the family, told Frances about the hobo life. When the family home is to be sold, Frances decides to take to the rails. What follows, is a very exciting life after Frances, now Frankie-a boy in disguise-meets up with Stewpot. Stewpot takes Frankie under his wing and teaches her the ways of the road. There are exciting adventures, with a grim touch of reality as Stewpot becomes seriously ill.
Read this book for an exciting look at another time period and another way of life. Get to know Frankie as she gets to know herself and the world around her while she travels across the country, only to find herself back where she began her journey, only a much wiser young person than when she started out. The twists and turns the story takes will surprise you, as will the ending.
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Format: Paperback
Nowhere to Call Home takes you into a wonderful world of excitement. Main character, Frances, finds out she is suddenly poor and an orphan. Frances doesn't want to have to go to her aunts house and live with her. She is afraid that nothing will be the same. This books tells how she becomes a hobo and meets many friends. Her first friend on the road, Stewpot comforts her. Frances lies and changes her name to Frankie and acts like she is a boy. When Stewpot gets sick Frankie doesn't know what to do. Will Frankie face her fears and save Stewpot before it is to late? Will she tell Stewpot about her secrets? To find out and see what Franikie ends up doing read Nowhere to Call Home.
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Format: Hardcover
This was a thrilling story that I could not put down. I have read this book many times and never grow tired of the captivating story. This book places you in the time of the Great Depression as a young girl who wants to live life as a hobo. The main character (who's a girl),Frankie, sets out to try life as a hobo after her father kills himslef after losing his fortune on the stock market crash. This book has you live the life of a hobo and is very interesting. From hoppin' trains to working for food, it's all here in this great book. I highly recomend this to all readers older then 10. This book will win a special spot on your shelf, too!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
the book we ordered came in perfect condition and came even faster than we expected it to. we had absolutely no problems with this order and would not hesitate to order from here again. my 10 year old daughter read this book with her book club at school and loved it so much she asked for it for her birthday
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