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3.9 out of 5 stars
Fly Away Home
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2006
Picture books are not just for 4-8 year olds. They are used in my junior (and up) classrooms all the time to introduce different ideas, empathy, and textual connections. The child's point of view in this picture book is particularly effective.
Fly Away Home is a very sensitive book but conveys a message that an encyclopedia entry or handout could not bring out. I agree with the above review that it depends on the audience but this is a real issue that is often left unaddressed because it's not a comfortable issue to discuss.
Homelessness is a real problem in every community whether you see it everyday or not. I don't think because it is is uncomfortable that it should be left "undiscussed" like the many topics we hide from children (students). I have to deal with the fact that my students deal with this issue with their families.
I think that it is an excellent springboard to discuss family and community and responsible citizenship. Most of my students brainstorm what they can do. It is my experience that students, with discretion, want to understand issues that adults do not talk about or think they shouldn't hear about. Most of my students have since participated in community activities to help the homeless in their community and this book, I believe, is an effective way of conveying the reality that other students face.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2004
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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on September 18, 2002
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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on June 29, 1999
I liked the book. It was beautifully illustrated, and the story was very well written. I got the sense that the author actually went out and talked to homeless people who live in an airport or bus depot to find out what their lives are like.
The idea is to get youngsters to think about kids less fortunate than themselves, but at the same time the book isn't [too] preachy.
I'm not so certain that little kids will understand the message of the book. To think that they will, and magically turn into advocates for the homeless, as well as other aspects of the writing, smacks of political correctness (that is, taking a good idea and going way too far with it).
I got the feeling at the end of this book that the kid would not be alright. Despite the hopeful ending, his future is extremely uncertain and he could wind up very socially maladjusted.
The uncertainty and the lack of a resolution to his plight will surely upset younger readers, used to "happily ever after" type of stories.
But for older kids, this book may have serious value.
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on July 28, 2000
This is one of my all-time favorite children's books. Eve Bunting does an excellent job of narrating a difficult subject through the voice of a child. The illustrations add to the beauty of the writing. Although it is written for a younger audience, it can be read to a group of older students with the same effects. While I don't think that this book will make activists out of children, it will raise awareness of peers who may be in similar situations (especially among urban/rural populations). This is a great addtion to Bunting's wonderful repretoire of stories.
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on November 12, 2001
The book Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting is about a boy, Andrew, and his father living in an airport. Andrew's mother has passed away and they must live in the airport. Andrew and his dad try not to get noticed so they won't be kicked out. Andrew finds a bird who is trapped in the airport but finally flies away. Andrew and the bird are similar because they both want to be free. We enjoyed this book because we want Andrew to be free. The book is sad, but Andrew is saving his money to help is father find a job and an apartment. The is a great book to read!
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on December 10, 1999
The book, Fly Away home is a good book. In the book, Fly Away Home, a little boy and his father live in a airport and sleep sitting up so they won't have to to sleep on the streets. I think it's a great book because the boy and his father do not have to live on the streets. I don't like the book because the boy and his father live in an airport. If you know anybody that is homeless or was homeless, they would understand the book. To find out if the little boy and his father find a home, read the book Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting.
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on March 31, 2003
This book carries a very powerful message about homelessness. The bird found in the airport, wanting to be free, is a wonderful use of symbolism. Homelessness is a reality in America and this book is a good introduction to that reality for children. Most children do not even realize that this type of counterculture even exists. There is an overwhelming theme of hope, and strength. The illustrations are done in mute watercolor and occur on every page.
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on November 27, 1999
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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on April 12, 1999
My name is Sydney and I am seven. I think that the story was a little disturbing and a little good. I like the ending because he talks about the bird. I think its a little interesting but not that much. I think it was neat that the little boy lived in airport and he bathed in a public bathroom. It made me feel a little sad because the boy was homeless.
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