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A Dog Called Homeless

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  1,516 ratings  ·  298 reviews
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 appea
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published September 4th 2012 by Katherine Tegen Books (first published April 26th 2012)
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The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan StroudBomb by Steve SheinkinWonderstruck by Brian SelznickThe Lost Hero by Rick RiordanA Dog Called Homeless by Sarah Lean
Red Dot 2014: Older Readers: LONG LIST
5th out of 55 books — 11 voters
I Am Not Esther by Fleur BealeThe Changeover by Margaret MahyJACK just an ordinary dog in the dog house by Susan TarrThe Secret Sacrament by Sherryl JordanThe Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera
Great Kiwi YA & MG
53rd out of 75 books — 45 voters

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Community Reviews

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I’m not sure how I missed this quiet story about sweet Cally who is trying to deal with the death of her mother, but I’m so glad I finally picked it up. Cally stops speaking as a part of a class fundraiser but quickly realizes that maybe not talking is exactly what she needs to do for awhile. This story will be one I re-read many times just for the pure enjoyment of reading. A beautiful story of family, loss, and belonging that shouldn't be missed. Most definitely deserving of the 2013 Schneider ...more
Michele Knott
What a heartprint book. I knew by page 6 I wanted to jump in and help Cally. Or put my arms around her and hug her. Sarah Lean did a great job crafting the characters of Cally and Sam. What a gem.

School Library Journal
( December 01, 2012; 9780062122209 )

Gr 4-7-Cally Fisher hasn't spoken for 31 days. As she explains in the prologue, "Talking doesn't always make things happen, however much you want it to." She knows that talking won't bring her mother back to life or keep her dad from selling their home in exchange for a small apartment so what's the point in saying anything. But when her mother appears one day wearing a bright red raincoat and the
Really good - sad, lighthearted, realistic. Cried through much of it. Good resolution at the end.

Beautifully written, heartwarming, emotional rollercoaster of a story about Callie who decides to stop speaking until she can convince her father and brother to talk about their dead mother. The family is still grieving over the accident that killed Callie’s mom a year ago. The father and brother are trying to deal in their own way – which involves not talking about her and “moving forward.” Callie k
I just had a few pages left and I put them off for a whole day. I didn’t want the story to end! This is a wonderful book that centers around Cally Fisher, whose mother has died in an automobile accident, but the father seems to need to halt all memories of her in order to survive. Cally has her own struggles at school, often getting into trouble, but takes on a challenge of a “silence” day to help raise money for a charity. The problem is, she stops talking after the challenge. Also during this ...more
By its own measurements, this book is just about perfect. It is the 2013 Schneider Family Book Award Middle School winner. This little-known award from the ALA "honors an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences."

I had such a feeling of dread that Wonder, by P. J. Palacio, was going to win this award and possibly a Newbery Honor this year. I didn't review that book on Goodreads, because I knew I'd be pi
Miranda Jones
This book was not what I was expecting when I first read the title. I was somewhat confused when I read the introduction about the main character not talking for thirty one days straight. It made me interested to read the book to find out what the reason may have been. It was sad to find out that the young girl’s mother had died. The author doesn’t explain how the mother died right away in the book, so it made me interested to keep reading to find out. It was somewhat magical and comforting to k ...more
Wendy Storer
What a beautiful and intriguing story this is. It's a story about how a family, but especially little Cally and her dad, come to terms with the tragic loss of Cally's mum. Cally stops talking completely because no one else seems to want to talk about mum... she falls in love with a dog called Homeless, makes friends with a boy downstairs (who can neither see nor hear) and sometimes she sees her mum.
I can't begin to sum up this story in a few lines, because everything about it was just so beautif
For a long while, I really didn't like the book, but because it was a slim little story, I stuck with it. I did like the way the author tied it all together in a loving way.

There is a British lilt to her writing, some of her turns of phrase are a little strange. But I liked that too.
it was wonderfull. it was sad and happy at the same time, but i recommend it to 5th and 6th graders
Stephanie Hodkinson
I picked this up because I'm trying to read some dog themed books to tell my fifth graders about next week, but I was pleasantly surprised that this is more of a family story than a dog story. Callie and her father and brother have been struggling to go on since the death of her mother a year earlier. Homeless has a role in bringing them back together, but this is much more about Callie reaching out to her father, who has become almost a stranger to her. It's a gentle but powerful story, and it ...more
Mia LaVine
I really like this book. I totally think this is a 5 star book. IT is also very interesting.
Ayeza shaur
Best book ever!! I loved it ! It got sad at some points but I loved it!
Round Lake Area Library Youth Services Department
Fifth-grader Cally Louise Fisher stops talking, partly because her father and brother never speak of her mother who died a year earlier, but visions of her mother, friendships with a homeless man and a disabled boy, and a huge dog ensure that she still communicates.

A new and powerful writer. I hope she is working on another. I would normally steer clear of "sad" books. Someone dies at the start? Not for me. But this one caught my attention, so, I thought I’d give it a shot. I'm so glad I did. I
Alyssa Becker
A Dog Called Homeless, written by: Sarah Lean; Copyright 2012; 288 pgs.
*2015 Blue Stem Nominee*

A Dog Called Homeless is a fantastic, meaning-seeking adventure of a little girl named Cally and the hardship her family and her must face after an accident. After the outgoing, talkative Cally participates in a fundraiser where you can't speak for a whole school day, she continues not to speak out loud, to her family or anyone. She then reflects on what many things in her life mean to her, eventually
Bethany Mcguirk
Lean, S. (2012). A dog called Homeless. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.

Schneider Family
2013 Schneider Family Award

A Dog Called Homeless is a heart-wrenching story about a young girl named Callie whose mother unexpectedly died and must now learn to exist in a three-person family. Her father is not the same since her mom died, and then she learns that she must move. Meanwhile, she begins to see her mother with a dog, and they are somehow connected to a homeless man she befriends. Distresse
Bethley Giles
Lean, S., & OverDrive, I. (2012). A dog called Homeless. New York: Katherine Tegen Books.

Schneider Family Book Award

A year after her mother's death, Cally sees her in the graveyard. She tries to tell her father and the rest of her family, but none of them believe her. And at school, she is told that she talks too much and gets into too much trouble. So when she has the opportunity to take a day of silence to benefit others, she does it--and then decides not to talk again for 31 days, since n
Lindsay Rains
Dec 04, 2014 Lindsay Rains added it
Shelves: libs-642
Lean, S. (2012). A Dog Called Homeless. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.

Junior Book Award Winner (2013)

Schneider Family

This book is about a girl named Cally who can see her dead mother. Other than Cally, the only other thing that can see her mother is a dog that a homeless man is looking after. Through her experiences, Cally tries to convince her family that she can still see her mother and that the dog has some kind of connection to that. This story tugged on all of my emotions! Sarah Lean w
Lenise Jones
Lean, Sarah (2012). A Dog Called Homeless New York: Katherine Tegen Books.
Schneider Family Book Award 2013
Junior Book Project
A story about a girl, Callie, who becomes upset with her father because he will not talk about her mother who died a year ago. On the one year anniversary of her mother’s death, she sees her mom’s ghost at the cemetery. When she volunteers to participate in a fundraiser for a children’s hospital by taking a 1 day vow of silence, Callie decides to keep her vow of silence in
Sarah Wilbern
Lean, S. (2012). A Dog Named Homeless. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.
Schneider Family Award
Schneider Award choice

At first, I thought I wasn't going to like this book; but this book turned into a really good book. This book was about a young girl who lost her mother when she was in the fourth grade. Her father had a difficult with his wifes death and went into a deep depression. The father tried to pretend his wife never existed. This made Cally upset with him. She didn't want her mother's
Leigh Isley
Jun 20, 2014 Leigh Isley rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 3rd - 7th grader students
LOVED!!!! A Dog Called Homeless is a heart-warming book about a young girl who has lost her mother in a terrible car accident. Cally stops speaking as a part of a class fundraiser but quickly realizes that maybe not talking is exactly what she needs to do for awhile. Her father has to sale their house and they move into a smaller place. She befriends a dog named Homeless, a young boy that cannot hear nor see, and a homeless gentlemen. Cally at time sees her deceased mother but no one seems to be ...more
Kelsey Hoban
THis is a heart retching and beautiful book about a girl who loses her mother and experiences loss in a different kind of way. I thought this book was beautiful and special in each and every way. On the first anniversary of her mothers death the girl sees her mother at her grave with a dog at her side. When she tries to tell her father, no one listens to her and she stops speaking all together. For some reason she thinks the dog is connected to her mother and think the dog is key to making her f ...more
Trey Stuthman
"A Dog Called Homeless" winner of the Schneider Family Book Award is about Cally, a fifth grader, who volunteers to not speak for one whole day to raise money for a cancer society at her school. However, Cally extends to silence to 31 days! Within those 31 days, Cally loses her best friend, moves to a new home, meets a deaf and blind boy, befriends a homeless man, and finds her best friend, Homeless the dog. As Cally continues to not speak she constantly "sees" her mom (who had passed away 1 yea ...more
S Farneth
Callie Louise Fisher loses her mother in a car accident and that sets into motion a series of losses and problems that her father doesn’t quite know how to handle.
On the anniversary of her mom’s death, Callie begins to see her mother’s spirit and Dad doesn’t believe her. Along with Mom, Callie is also being followed by a large wolfhound dog that seems more than attached to her.

Callie often finds herself in trouble at school for just being Callie. She’s a lively spirited girl who doesn’t always
Calley recently lost her mom in a tragic car accident. Her family is going through a hard time, and she is struggling with acting out in school. The one year anniversary of the accident falls on her dad's birthday, they go visit her grave and Calley think she see's her mom's ghost. But this wasn't the only time she see's her ghost. She see's her ghost as she approaches a homeless man, and she see's her ghost accompanied by a huge dog at the school yard. This dog keeps showing up everywhere, even ...more
Cally Fisher isn’t talking. She is also seeing her dead mother and a large, homeless dog. In addition to losing her mom, she has also lost friends, her house, and her desire to communicate. Since she is always causing trouble, she decides to extend her one-day pledge of silence (originally a fund-raiser) to 31 days. In those days, she befriends Sam, who can’t see or hear and Jed, a homeless man.

This book gets great reviews. However, I felt that it was missing something. I didn’t connect to the c
Heather M. Riley
I was immediately drawn into the story of Cally who is heartbroken when her mother dies in a car accident. At her mother's funeral, Cally sees her mom, as real to her as anyone else, off in the distance. Unfortunately for Cally, no one believes her. Cally's story really begins on the one year anniversary of her mother's death when everything starts to change. After a sponsored silence fundraising event at school, Cally decides to remain silent. It is in this way that she copes with change, loss, ...more
Amy Rae
The central story of A Dog Called Homeless, about a girl's grieving process after the death of her mother, is well told and made me wibbly. However, I think that some of the supporting threads are less well-integrated. A character's homelessness is only shallowly touched upon, and it's implied to be essentially "solved" by the end of the book. Another supporting character is blind and mostly deaf, and while he's well-developed, some of the main character's thoughts about him seemed like they cou ...more
APA Citation:
Lean, S. (2012). A dog called Homeless. New York: Katherine Tegen Books.

Category: Schneider Family

A Dog Called Homeless is a heart wrenching story that centers around Cally Louise Fisher following her mothers tragic death in a car accident. One day Cally stops talking and no one in her family or school can figure out why. Cally is frustrated with her brother and Father for not listening to her when she talks, specifically when she tells them she has been seeing her dead mother, a
Beth Bonini
I wasn't expecting a lot from this book, but it surprised me by being sad and sweet and beautifully written. It pulls out all of the stops in terms of being heart-jerking: a dead mother, a withdrawn father, a young girl who refuses to speak, having to move house, a deaf/blind boy, a homeless man, a lost dog. But despite all of these elements, it manages to be honestly affecting. The mystery of the dog, "homeless," is resolved in a particularly satisfying way.
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Sarah Lean grew up in Wells, Somerset but now lives in Dorset with her husband, son and dog. She has worked as a page-planner for a newspaper, a stencil-maker and a gardener, amongst various other things. She gained a first class English degree and became a primary school teacher before returning to complete an MA in Creative and Critical Writing with University of Winchester.
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