Home Child

The year is 1914. Thirteen year old Arthur, a Home Child, arrives in Canada from England to stay on Sadie Wilson’s farm as a hired labourer. Arthur finds himself an outcast – only a home boy – not fit to be allowed to sit with the family at a meal. Sadie is intrigued by the new arrival and puzzled by her family’s, especially her mother’s, and the community’s negative reaction towards Arthur. Sadie develops a surreptitious friendship with Arthur, against her mother’s wishes. This friendship disturbs Sadie’s previously well-ordered life, forcing her to make discoveries that forever change herself and her family and at the same time cause resentment at Arthur’s intrusion into her life. A near tragic fire, carelessly started by Sadie, opens all their eyes to the plight of being a Home Child, and forces Sadie to make a decision to take a stand for Arthur against her mother’s wishes.



  • 1997/1998 “Starred Our Choice Award” – Canadian Children’s Book Centre
  • Shortlisted for the 1999 CNIB Tiny Torgi Award
  • Shortlisted for the 1997 Mr. Christie Book Award
  • Shortlisted for the 1997 Geoffrey Bilson Historical Fiction Award
  • 1999 Saskatchewan Provincial List for Middle Readers Selection
  • 1999 Newfoundland Provincial List for Middle Readers Selection
  • 1998 Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice Award Selection
  • 1998 Red Cedar Award selection
  • 1997/98 Silver Birch selection
  • Listed – Best Canadian YA Books of 1996 (The Notables) — Canadian Library Association
  • Listed – Canadian Best Bets — Ontario Library Association

“Barbara did her homework; she researched and interviewed home children themselves and the families that took them in. She was keenly empathetic to all the undercurrents of emotion her critical senses took in and she has bared them in the story…Highly recommended.”
— President, Home Children Canada

“Adults and children alike will be moved by this poignant and simply told story, which is based on real-life experiences. Highly recommended.”
— Canadian Book Review Annual 1997