Monday, May 11, 2015

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - A Dog Called Homeless

It's May? How did that happen? I haven't read many middle grade books lately, so I don't have a new one to share with you today. Suggestions for books to read are always welcome! I'm especially interested in trying some funny MG books with magical elements, since that's what two girls at my school said they love to read. But since the story that I've been working on is a dog story, I'm going to "re-run" a favourite dog story that I reviewed before.

Here's the Amazon description:

Praised by Newbery Medal–winning author Katherine Applegate as "graceful" and "miraculous," this Schneider Family Book Award–winning novel tells how one girl's friendship with a homeless dog mends a family's heart.

Cally Fisher knows she can see her dead mother, but the only other living soul who does is a mysterious wolfhound who always seems to be there when her mom appears. How can Cally convince anyone that her mom is still with the family, or persuade her dad that the huge silver-gray dog belongs with them?

With beautiful, spare writing and adorable animals, A Dog Called Homeless is perfect for readers of favorite middle-grade novels starring dogs, such as Because of Winn-Dixie and Shiloh.

A Dog Called Homeless by Sarah Lean, published by Katherine Tegen Books, 2012

My Take:

I really enjoyed this story, partly because I love stories with dogs in them. But this was much more than just a dog story. This story is about a girl learning to cope with the loss of her mother, trying to hold her family together, and finding her own voice. I loved the friendships Cally made with Jed, a homeless man, and Sam, a boy who is deaf and blind. I will definitely look for more books by this author! I read this one as an e-book from my local library.

I loved the way the author painted images with her words that connected to the feelings she created in the story. This was another story where every word counts.

Opening Line:

“Dad’s birthday, and I got up before anyone.”

Favourite quotes:

“Sometimes you just have to prove people wrong. Sometimes you just want someone to believe you’re more than they think you are.”

“Homeless smelled like a toy rabbit I had when I was little. I laid my head on him, forgot about the time.”

“I already knew then that Sam didn’t see things like we do, that the reason he leaned so close was that that was how the world talked to him—through his skin.”

Other Info:

Sarah Lean lives in Dorset in England with her family and dogs. She started writing when she was around ten years old, but she became a teacher before she started her writing career.

A Dog Called Homeless  is her first published novel. On her website, Sarah Lean says, “Inspiration is everywhere, just like stories. For me, the key is to just look, just listen, wherever I am.”

She has this advice for writers: “Expect to get it wrong, again and again. Practice is paramount, expect to learn, love learning.

Other Books by this Author:
Harry and Hope


Jack Pepper

The Forever Whale
A Horse for Angel

For more info, visit Sarah Lean’s website.

You can find more Marvelous Middle Grade Monday books by checking out author Shannon Messenger’s blog! Shannon is the founder of Marvelous Middle Grade Monday and the author of the middle grade series, Keeper of the Lost Cities.


  1. This is the only one of her books I've read so far, but I really loved it too.

    That's a great quote on your sidebar from agent Laura Biagi.

    1. Yeah, I should look for one of the others!

      It is a great quote! I'm such a perfectionist I tend to keep reworking things, but it holds me back sometimes from exploring a new idea.

  2. Sounds like a great story, especially with Cally having to adjust to the death of her mom. Sorry I don't have any funny MG books to recommend. Sadly, I haven't been reading much lately.

    1. I haven't been reading so much lately either! I am looking forward to the summer when I'll have more reading time.


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