Published in France, the US and Canada
Thrown out of the house by his mother, sixteen year old Dylan is living on the streets, trying to find his place in a dark, painful and complicated world.
It’s going to be a long night. I dig Granddad’s hat out of my pack and put it on my head, pulling the ear flaps down against the damp, and begin to walk. A cop car slows beside me, a window rolls down and a head sticks out. Then abruptly the window closes, the lights flash on top and the siren wails as it speeds away. Obviously more important events needing his attention than a street kid. Shit. I don’t even matter to the cops!
I have an unformed hope that the church might be open. A sanctuary. I could camp out on a hard wooden pew, but I arrive to find a padlock securing the iron gate. I turn away and there they are. Surrounding me, Lurch and the four Bandana Kids. I never even heard them come up.
Without a word, Lurch steps forward and hits me in the stomach with a fist. Pain rips through my abdomen. My breath whooshes out as I double over. Another blow catches me on the back of the neck and agony explodes in my head as I go down. Hard cement grazes my cheek, but that is the least of the pain. Boots catch me in the ribs. I hear a distinct crack. Fists plow into my kidneys, nose, split my lips. Non-stop blows and kicks. I feel a tug at my arms and I realize they are after my backpack. I begin to fight back with my fists, feet, arms, teeth, but there’s too many of them. Voices shout, fade, and my pack is gone. There’s no point in fighting any more. I let myself sink into blackness. They’ve taken my entire life. They’ve taken – me.
In North America’s wealthiest cities, many children go to sleep hungry, live in poverty, or are the victims of family violence and abuse, and many children run away from, or are thrown out of desperate home situations to live on the streets where they soon find themselves in dire straits.
Filthy and hungry, they turn to drugs to dull their pain; prostitution and theft to earn money to eat. Pimps and drug dealers take advantage of these vulnerable children. It is a day to day struggle to live. Many of the children are illiterate; as the “regular” school system is unable to deal with them, so they drop out. Without education, a fixed address, or clean clothes, they are unemployable. Many of the children have been shunted from foster home to foster home, never fitting in anywhere. Social services, schools and government agencies fail them. These are difficult children.
There are no pat solutions to the problem of street kids. Various remedies have been tried, from sweeping them under the rug, to putting them in group homes, but there are few successes. The most promising solution is to catch the problem before it begins, at the family level, but the agencies who strive to help these children are understaffed and under-funded, and their task overwhelming.
It is important that you, the young adult reading this book today, be aware of that kid on the corner of a city street with an outstretched hand. You will grow up to help run this country and will inherit the problem of street kids. We must all work toward a solution.
“A beautifully written work on a gritty subject.” Kirkus Review
“Order multiple copies. You will need them.” Voice of Youth Advocates, PA
“…a realistic, gritty snapshot of street life…” The Horn Book Magazine
“…excellent young teen novel…” Books In Canada
“…provocative and thoughtful with a lot of heart.” London Free Press 2003
“…believable and absolutely uncompromising…” CM Magazine
2008 short-listed Rhode Island Teen Book Award
- 2006 The Stellar Book Award from British Columbia Winner
- 2004/05 Snow Willow Award Winner
- 2005 The Stellar Award Nominee
- 2003 Finalist Governor General’s Award
- 2004 Nominee White Pine Award
- 2004 Nominee CLA YA book of the Year Award
Links to Information in Street Kids and Albert Einstein:
Street Connection, London, Ontario: A youth centre for street kids.
Beat The Street, Toronto, Ontario: A learning centre for youth who are at-risk, street involved or homeless.
University of Illinois: Black Holes and Beyond.
PBS Television: Einstein Revealed
University of Tennessee: Einstein and the Theory of Relativity