A Duet for Home by Karina Yan Glaser

Published by Clarion Books

Summary:  Tyrell has lived at Huey House, a homeless shelter in the Bronx, for over three years.  June arrives with her younger sister Maybelle and their mother, who has fallen into a mute depression following the sudden death of their dad.  Both kids love classical music: Tyrell listens to a neighbor practicing her violin every night, and June is a viola player who must hide her instrument from the somewhat draconian shelter director.  Kinder staff members, as well as Tyrell and some of the other shelter residents, help June and her little sister Maybelle adjust to losing their home, getting them to school and finding a way for June to practice her viola.  June and her family are starting to get some help when they learn that a new city policy will force all shelter residents to move out in 90 days.  Desperate to stay where they are, Tyrell and June take on City Hall to try to make their voices heard about the importance of Huey House in their lives.  Includes an author’s note about her experience working in a similar shelter.  368 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  Told in alternating chapters between June and Tyrell, this moving story humanizes people who have lost their homes for many reasons and shows how their needs can get lost in political rhetoric.  Readers will be rooting for the two kids, as well as many of the other shelter residents and workers.

Cons:  The ending was touching but felt a little unrealistic.

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