Saturday, April 25, 2020

Stay, by Bobbie Pyron

Piper and her family arrive in town with little to their name.  Her father is searching for a job, their car has died, and her family is stuck in a shelter.  When Piper reflects on the previous months and how they've lost nearly everything in that time, it's hard to find anything worth hoping for.

Two things change her view.  The first is the local Firefly troop at the shelter.  In the old days, she was an active Firefly and even held a sales record for Firefly brownies.  The idea that she can have that piece of normalcy again provides comfort.  The second thing is a cause:  a homeless woman named Angel and her little dog Baby.  When Angel gets sick and taken to a hospital and Angel ends up in the pound, Piper and her Firefly friends try to figure out a way to help.  In a series of brave acts, the girls find that they can make a difference.  For no matter how much these girls have lost, there are people with greater needs.

If you like getting sucker punched with a story of a cute dog, a brave and kind young girl, and some kind adults, you can't really go wrong. Piper's generosity makes a nice role model and her intelligence and people skills are inspirational. It's all heartwarming and tear jerking (as one would expect), albeit far too traumatic for sensitive readers (my wife won't touch the book).  Still, this is a really sweet story with a message, covering issues of homelessness, mental health, and discrimination in an age appropriate way.  The story will give young readers something to ask good questions about.

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