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Street Child (Collins Modern Classics)

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  520 Ratings  ·  74 Reviews
Unforgettable tale of an orphan in Victorian London, based on the boy whose plight inspired Dr Barnardo to found his famous children’s homes.

When his mother dies, Jim Jarvis is left all alone in London. He is sent to the workhouse but quickly escapes, choosing a hard life on the streets of the city over the confines of the workhouse walls.

Struggling to survive, Jim finally
Paperback, 208 pages
Published June 16th 2016 by HarperCollinsChildren’sBooks (first published September 30th 1993)
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(showing 1-30)
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Emma Walker
May 02, 2012 Emma Walker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book follows a young boy named Jim who is found homeless in London after the death of his mother. The book begins with Jim living with his mother and two sisters, but it becomes clear very early that the family do not have much money and are asked to leave the small room that they share after falling behind with the rent. Jim’s sick mother is forced to leave her daughters with a friend and Jim is taken to the workhouse. His mother dies here, and after Jims escape he becomes homeless on the ...more
Sep 26, 2011 Susan rated it liked it
Street Child by Berlie Doherty is about Jim Jarvis whose mother dies and he is left an orphan in London to fend for himself. He is picked up by the Police and sent to the work house. Jim dreams of escaping and one day he finally takes his chance annd makes his escape. The story takes you on a journey through his life and the many people he meets and jobs he has in order to survive.

He finds an old friend of his mother’s who takes him and he helps her sell seafood in the streets. However Jim is t
Molly Tuckwell
Sep 14, 2012 Molly Tuckwell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book,funny,but also sad at the same time.
Oct 14, 2014 مريم rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites

Love it!

Might write the review later, I've wasted enough time I need to do my work now!!


I loved this book for many reasons:

1. I enjoy reading books that are set in London.
2. Historical Fiction.
3. A book that you actually LEARN from. I learned about how life in England was in the 1800s, and about the workhouses! Which is something I didn't really know about before.
4. About a little boy's struggle for survival.
5. The cover............
Pippa Jessop
Oct 13, 2016 Pippa Jessop rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
This book was recommended to me by a year 5 TA as they had used it for literacy in their class. After reading the first few pages I was hooked and finished this book within hours! This story is so inspiring because it it based on a true story of a young boy's life journey of losing his mother and being sent to the work house. You really do empathise with Jim the main character, such a great read!!
Laura Dowsett
Jan 23, 2012 Laura Dowsett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of Jim Jarvis, a boy who is orphaned and forced to work in an East London workhouse. Eventually, fearing that his whole life will be spent in the workhouse, Jim decides to escape. The rest of the book follows his journey through London. During this time he tries to find his sisters (who he was separated from when he was put in the workhouse), works for a cruel and abusive man on a coal boat and lives as a ‘street child.’ It is during his time on the streets that he meets Barney ...more
May 06, 2012 Kerry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this out loud with my 10 year old daughter and we've really enjoyed it.
Andree Jay
Jan 18, 2017 Andree Jay marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Emma Dickinson
I have used this book in a Year 5 class as a read aloud and to formulate English and drama. The book details Victorian street life and the workhouse in great detail. From a teaching point of view this book was a spring board to review diary writing, persuasive writing, and such. We also had a victorian school day based on the book. A good introduction to Victorian life but there are others out there.
Nicola Mansfield
Jul 06, 2010 Nicola Mansfield rated it really liked it
As part of the Essential Modern Classics series the book starts with an informative paragraph bio. of the author followed by an essay entitled "Why You'll Love This Book" written by a famous author, in this case Julia Golding. Then a quick blurb on just who is Julia Golding. This publisher's series also sometimes end with extra material at the back of the book called "More Than A Story". Here we have some very interesting pertinent information which really adds to the satisfaction of having read ...more
Giorgos Georgiou
Street Child is book written by Berlie Doherty which explores the theme of street children in London during victorian times. When Jim's father dies, he and his mother and sisters are thrown out of their cottage. Their new home is a single room in an overcrowded tenement. Food is scarce since Jim's mother can't earn much of a wage on her own. And when she falls ill - a cholera epidemic is sweeping Victorian London - the money runs out altogether and they are evicted again. Despite being horribly ...more
Mark Forrest
Dec 15, 2016 Mark Forrest rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this book despite the dark subject matter.
Maxine Purdy
Feb 03, 2016 Maxine Purdy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“God is love,” said the doctor. “God is good”.
“No he ain’t,” Jim shouted, “He ain’t good to me!”

This was the moment Jim Jarvis first met Dr. Barnardo who, at that time, had set up a free school for children living in extreme hardship. It was some time before their paths crossed again.
Victorian London was a cruel place for a homeless child. Having lost his mum, being separated from his sisters and escaped from imprisonment at the workhouse, Jim has to find a way to survive. His journey is sad yet
Hannah Burgess
Feb 26, 2013 Hannah Burgess rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book tells the story of Jim Jarvis who inspired Dr BArnardo to open his Ragged Schools.I am working with a year 3/4 class who are currently studying the victorians. This book provides the story of a boy living in the victorian times and the hardship him and his family had to face.

There have been many activities we have been able to do with this book not only in history lessons but in literacy and ICT lessons too. We have been able to act out the book in small groups to enhance their unders
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 16, 2015 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Street Child by Berlie Doherty is story set in the Victorian times. The books follows a young boy called Jim Jarvis. The book shows the continued struggles he faces after the death of his mother. With this tragedy in the family, Jim and his siblings are split up and he is used as a child labourer in a factory and at this point Jim is left to fend for himself on the streets.

‘Street Child’ is a popular power of reading book. This book is ideal for KS2 children (Yr 5 and 6) and with the cheeky sch
Victoria Mills
Jan 04, 2016 Victoria Mills rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sheryl Jeremiah
Jun 04, 2014 Sheryl Jeremiah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Street Child is about a young boy called Jim who lives in the Victorian era. Jim and his family face many troubles and then the family are separated leaving Jim all alone. Jim is very determined to get out of the awful workhouse he is stuck in and finally manages to escape. But as he escapes one awful place, he ends up in another awful place with Grimy Nick. Jim eventually gets his freedom for once and for all. He meets Dr Barnardo who changes his life forever.

I really enjoyed reading Street Chi
Megan Wiffen
Jim Jarvis is a young orphan who escapes the workhouse in 1860's London. He survives brutal treatment and desperate circumstances. London is a dangerous place for a young boy like Jim! After a long journey, he is finally taken in by Dr Barnardo, founder of a school for 'ragged' children.

This was a good story to read with Year 5. The children were learning about Victorians in Topic, so they knew lots about that era. I did a role play lesson with the class, the children had to think of questions
Lori Watts
Jul 01, 2013 Lori Watts rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jim Jarvis is a runaway. When his mother dies, Jim is all alone in the workhouse and desperate to escape. But London in the 1860s is a dangerous and lonely place for a small boy and life is a constant battle for survival. Just when Jim finds some friends, he is snatched away and made to work for the remorselessly cruel Grimy Nick. Will Jim ever be free?

Review: Based on the true story of the orphan whose plight inspired Dr. Barnardo, Street Child is an exciting, evocative and often deeply-moving
Sam Burrow
Jim Jarvis is a young homeless/orphan who escaped The Workhouse in the 1860s in London. He survives many depressing circumstances including the death of his mother, being homeless and leaving his sisters forever. London is a dangerous place for a young boy like Jim. After a long journey, he is finally taken in by Dr. Barnardo, founder of a school for 'ragged' children. Barnando (Barnie) teaches Jim and his homeless friends about God.
This was a quick read for me and I liked the happy ending. This
Nov 01, 2012 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember the first time I heard this story. When I was eight, my teacher read this story to the class and I blame it fully for laying a foundation stone for my interest in history. Jim Jarvis is, at the start of the book, basically Oliver Twist � he escapes from the workhouse and tramps the streets of London, going from one awful situation to another. In the end, he finds his liberation in the form of a benevolent benefactor, the founder of the Barnardos childrens� homes. This story is wonderf ...more
Sep 15, 2015 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing educational read!! The story based on real life events is brought to life in this brilliantly written piece of fiction about the life and times of a young boy Jim Jarvis who lost everything during 1860's Victorian England. The tough reality of what it was like is excellently described without being frightening for the target audience.

Just started supporting a year 6 class who are reading this book. Brought it home so I could understand and support better. Finished it in under 3 hours.
Romy Nehme
Oct 07, 2011 Romy Nehme rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Halfway Through!! The story is amazing. I liked how the events are stated.The story talks about a little boy who has 2 sisters and a motheer. He is very poor.His sisters began working in a kitchen of their mother's friend. The boy and his mother were taken to the workhouse where the mother dies just as i predicted ! After a year, the boy escapes to find his sisters . He goes to his mother's friend's house and starts hellping her with her new work after she was fired from the other job. But he st ...more
Apr 29, 2012 Elaine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Street Child
By Berlie Doherty
For Children in years 5/6
This is the true story of a Victorian street child called Jim Jarvis. Jim is left to fend for himself in London during the 1860’s when his mother dies. The story vividly describes Jim’s harsh life and his struggles to survive. In desperation Jim seeks sanctuary in a ragged school, where he tells his tragic story. It is this story that inspires Dr Banardo to start up his homes for the street children of London. This story highlights the brut
Feb 18, 2012 Lewis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Street Child is a novel written by Berlie Doherty, Jim Jarvis (the main character) has no where to go except the streets. He begs many people to let him live in their house but all but no one lets him except for his mother's friend. He ends up on the streets again. His best friend(Shrimps) gets very sick and Jim would have been heading that way too if it wasn't for a school teacher with a passion for caring.
I think that this story has taught me what life was like in the 1860s in London. Children
Justin Lim
Mar 26, 2014 Justin Lim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book talks about a young boy who is thrown around England and has lost everything in his life except his name. He realizes that other kids in England are even worst, they don't even know their names or when they were young. The boy first gets thrown into the workhouse, then gets slaved by a coal digger, thrown into a circus, runs around the street, loses his best friend, then ends up in a ragged school. He gets adopted by a very loving doctor/school teacher.
Aug 11, 2016 Angela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I decided to read this book following a recommendation from my young niece (and in the light of a comment from a teacher friend that there'should no such thing as a children'should book, but there are books that are good for children). I found it a great read. The pace and level for detail was carefully balanced so as to be accessible to children yet interesting to adults. The end note about the links to real characters and events was particularly interesting. My niece loved the book too!
Lisa Durman
Story of Dr Barnado told through the eyes of young boy, Jim Jarvis who has been orphaned when his mother died of starvation in Victorian England. Jim finds himself in the workhouse after being estranged from his sisters (who have been put to work in the big house). For literacy this book could be the focus of Victorian topic. Good for debate, diary entries, newspaper writing, character description. Accurate insight into poor Victorian England.
Jan 12, 2014 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Based on the character Jim Jarvis,this is a moving book set in the 1860's.Jim is an orphan who escapes the workhouse and has to face life on the streets of London with no money and no family.Can he survive?
I would recommend this book to anyone over the age of 11 and certainly to all schools as it teaches you about the life of a very unfortunate Victorian child,whilst funny and emotional.
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Berlie Doherty née Hollingsworth is an English novelist, poet, playwright and screenwriter. She is best known for children's books, for which she has twice won the Carnegie Medal.She has also written novels for adults, plays for theatre and radio, television series and libretti for children's opera.
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