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A Dog Called Homeless

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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 appears. How can Cally convince anyone that her mom is still with the family, or persuade her dad that the huge silver-gray dog belongs with them?

With beautiful, spare writing and adorable animals, A Dog Called Homeless is perfect for readers of favorite middle-grade novels starring dogs, such as Because of Winn-Dixie and Shiloh.

208 pages, Hardcover

First published April 26, 2012

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About the author

Sarah Lean

23 books108 followers
My fascination with animals began when I was aged 8 and a stray cat walked in the back door and decided to adopt me. As a child, I wanted to be a writer and used to dictate stories to my mother, but eventually I bought a laptop and decided I could type them myself. I live in Dorset and share the space around my desk with two dogs, Harry and Coco. MA in Creative and Critical Writing from University of Winchester.

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5 stars
1,609 (49%)
4 stars
968 (29%)
3 stars
487 (15%)
2 stars
121 (3%)
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53 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 496 reviews
Profile Image for  ⊱Sonja•●❤️.
1,904 reviews369 followers
August 15, 2022
Cally beschließt, nicht mehr zu reden. Im letzten Jahr ist ihre Mutter gestorben, und nun spricht ihr Vater nicht mehr über sie, als hätte es sie nie gegeben. Dabei kann Cally ihre Mutter immer noch sehen und hören.
Plötzlich taucht ein großer Wolfshund in Callys Leben auf. Cally glaubt, dass ihre Mutter ihr diesen Hund geschickt hat; sie möchte ihn gerne behalten. Doch ihr Vater ist strikt dagegen.
Und dann macht Cally noch die Bekanntschaft mit Sam und freundet sich mit ihm an. Sam ist blind und taub, Cally redet nicht, und trotzdem verstehen sie sich.
Meine Meinung
Ein wunderschönes Buch, das mich sehr stark berührt hat! Es hat mich zum Weinen und zum Lachen gebracht. Ich habe Callys Traurigkeit und Einsamkeit spüren können und dann ihre Freude über den Hund und die Botschaften ihrer Mutter.
Sehr beeindruckt haben mich auch Sam und seine Mutter. Sam ist blind und fast vollständig taub. Sprechen kann er dank des fehlenden Gehörs auch nur sehr eingeschränkt. Zudem hat er ein schwaches Herz und Asthma. Und trotzdem ist er ein fröhlicher und aufgeweckter Junge mit einem großen Herzen.
Seine Mutter versinkt ebenfalls nicht in Trübsal und Bitterkeit. Sie ist fröhlich, aufgeschlossen und einfach sehr sympathisch. Sie hilft Cally und ist für sie da, als ihr Vater sich immer mehr zurückzieht.
Und dann ist da noch Jed, ein Obdachloser. Er kümmert sich um den Wolfshund, der doch eigentlich zu Cally gehört…
Die Figuren dieses Buches sind alle sehr schön herausgearbeitet, sie haben alle eine starke eigene Persönlichkeit. Das hat mir sehr gut gefallen.
„Ein Geschenk aus dem Himmel“ gehört zu den schönsten Kinderbüchern, die ich in der letzten Zeit gelesen habe. Die Geschichte gibt Mut und spendet Trost. Sie macht deutlich, dass man manchmal einfach mal richtig zuhören sollte und dass man auch mit dem Herzen kommunizieren kann – ganz ohne Worte.
Profile Image for Kerri.
951 reviews340 followers
September 12, 2019
A really sweet, beautiful book. Cally's friendship with Sam was particularly touching.
Profile Image for Shadowdenizen.
829 reviews33 followers
March 1, 2016
Even though I don't normally go for "Heartwarming/Feel Good" literature, I'll agree with the majority of reviewers on this one.

This book really tugs at your heartstrings, in the best possible way.
Profile Image for Bhavesh Bhimani.
32 reviews21 followers
November 13, 2018
Book review: A Dog Called Homeless by Sarah Lean

Have you ever lost someone close and have not been able to recover from their death? Do you love dogs? Are you looking for a warm, feel-good and beautiful little book to read? Then 'A Dog Called Homeless' by Sarah Lean is for you.

I had been struggling of late with a reader’s block, especially with fiction books. But this book, thankfully, found me at the right time.

This is a beautiful and quiet little story about a girl named Cally Louise Fisher who is trying to deal with the death of her mother and how it has torn her family apart.

At the first death anniversary of her mother, Cally sees her mum bright and real and alive. But no one believes her. Then she finds a mysterious wolfhound that always seems to be there when her mother appears and is always keen on following Cally, even when she has been made to shift her house. Meanwhile, Cally’s father never mentions her mother, almost as if adamantly denying her existence. Cally tries to redeem him desperately. But fails. The profound changes in her life are affecting Cally deeply and then one day she simply decides to stop speaking. Because she becomes convinced that what she says doesn't matter.

Her only friends are Mrs. Cooper, a neighbor in their new apartment building, and her blind and nearly deaf 11-year-old son, Sam. In their company, Cally finds some solace. And then there’s the mysterious dog that keeps finding Cally – in her school, on her little trips, in her home. Cally is pulled towards that dog and finds comfort in his warm and friendly presence. But his father wouldn’t let her anywhere near him and her school teachers think there’s something seriously wrong with her. Cally's world is changing and it getting too much for her to handle.

Giving away more plot details would be revealing some crucial details of the story. But Cally’s journey of self-discovery and how she finds her voice – both literally and figuratively – forms the rest of the book. The ending and the resolution is so satisfying and moving that I wished I could read it all over again.

This is a very tender and sensitive story. Although the book is targeted at younger audiences, I won’t recommend this for children as I don’t think they would be able to grasp the sensitivity of the theme.

It is heartbreaking to see and feel what little Cally is going through from inside. The book is narrated in first person and delicately captures Cally's suffering and turmoil as her family and friends refuse to understand her pain. And having lost a mother at a young age and seen how it tore at my family, I could relate to a lot of the events in the book. Especially the changes my father went through after her death. To accept the death of a close one and move on is not easy. And the issue has been very deftly dealt with in this touching book.

Another part I absolutely adored in the book was the friendship between Cally and Sam, the blind and nearly deaf boy. Their bonding is so pure and beautiful my heart was swimming in warmth. I wish there is a book dedicated solely for Cally and Sam's friendship. It was so unique and heartwarming and something I had not read before.

A Dog Called Homeless is a beautiful book that deals with some very sensitive issues like like coping with death and depression and explores the power of human kindness. The narration is simple yet visceral. It doesn't have powerful quotes but many of the lines certainly stirred me. It won't change your life. But it would make you think of life. And love. And loss...

And the book left me thinking even hours after I had read the last word. I remembered my mother. And how I had gone into this shell for months after her passing. And I remembered how difficult the healing process was. And is... The book touched a a very sensitive chord. But in a heartbreakingly beautiful way.

Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Susan.
220 reviews8 followers
March 23, 2013
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 Family Book Award. Well done Schneider Committee!

I support independent bookstores. You can use this link to find one near you or order A DOG CALLED HOMELESS on IndieBound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/978006...
Profile Image for Marta Rodrigues.
65 reviews14 followers
October 24, 2020
Achei o livro muito fofo!! A amizade da Cally com o Sam é incrível: o facto de ser ele o único que a consegue compreender e ensinar-lhe que há várias maneiras de comunicar sem ter que usar a voz. O livro é muito bonito e emocionante.
1,146 reviews2 followers
January 18, 2018
A beautiful book about grief and how the loss of a loved one can tear a family apart. This book is a wonderful read not just for kids. Highly recommend.
Profile Image for Skirmantė Rugsėjis.
Author 4 books55 followers
June 21, 2022
Paprastai jaunimui ir vaikams skirtas verstines knygas skaitau su malonumu ir greitai, nes dažnoje jų labai puikios temos, užčiuopiamos rimtos problemos, ko kartais pritrūksta literatūroje suaugusiems. Šią įveikinėjau gana lėtai.

Knygos mintis nebloga, yra ta gailesčio emocija, noras pritapti esant kitokiam, vaikiškas užsispyrimas ir netekties nagrinėjimas iš mažametės pozicijos. Ko man pritrūko, tai suaugusiųjų indėlio. Šioje knygoje jie pasirodė per vaikiški, tarsi nusileidę ir susitapatinę su mažaisiais veikėjais. Tėčio elgesys ir motyvai kartais atrodė labai migloti, kaimynė irgi nekėlė klausimų ten, kur būtų iškėlęs suaugęs asmuo. Trūko suaugusio asmens tvirtumo, kuris šalia vaikiško jautrumo būtų sukūręs tą sprogstančią ir jaudinančią emociją. Dabar... per švelnu. Per minkšta.

Tai tas veikėjų netyčinis suvienodinimas labiausiai ir nuvylė. Visais kitais aspektais knyga nebloga, joje yra tų gerųjų moralų, tos tikros draugystės, kokią norėtume įskiepyti savo vaikams. Gali būti nebloga dovana skaitančiam vaikui iki 10m, vyresniems čia bus pernelyg vaikiška ir pritrūks paaugliškų aštresnių emocijų persipinančių su jautriu pasakojimu.

Tačiau smagu, kad parašoma ir išverčiama tokių kūrinių, kuriuose svarbiausia ne technika, socialiniai tinklai, o draugystė su gyvūnu. Tai primena senasias knygutes su kuriomis dauguma mūsų užaugo. Kiek jos pasibeldžia į šiuolaikinių vaikų širdeles, jau kitas klausimas, bet, kad neša šviesą ir geras vertybes - neabejotina.
Profile Image for Christine.
177 reviews25 followers
January 30, 2022
This was such a beautiful book. I read it to my 7 and 8 year old and we all teared up at the end.
Profile Image for Yewon kim.
44 reviews2 followers
November 15, 2018
the one girl who doesn't have a mom, she got kicked by her best friend she can see the ghost of her mom?????????? and dad can't see. will she persuade the dad?? and it shows one girl name cally fisher, and one gray dog's friendship.
Profile Image for Minh Trang.
489 reviews126 followers
October 25, 2019
Đọc xong cuốn này mình cứ thấy bâng khuâng. Chẳng biết phải nói về nó như thế nào nữa...
Profile Image for 🌙~Carden~🌙.
481 reviews33 followers
October 18, 2020
But I wanted to see what was out there. I imagined a splash of light winking from across the universe. Maybe it was a star;maybe it was a doorway, a way through a hole in the sky where souls and angels go. And who wouldn’t want to find out what was shining in the darkness when it’s the only bright thing in the whole of space.


Okay, sorry again. It’s just another one of those books AGAIN that made me want to choke on a banana.

The story follows Cally, who lost her mother and swears she can see her. Along with that comes a mysterious dig who follows her around all the time, and a homeless man who happens to know something about her mother’s passing as well.

She loses her ability to speak after she feels that nothing she has to say is of value. What’s the point? Her dad is swept away in his work and never speaks of their mother. Her friends hate her. So she keeps all the things bundled up inside. Silence is fine for her.

One of the main things that runs this story is her friendship with a disabled boy named Sam. I absolutely loved it and thought their chemistry was important and fun. At times I even cried, because Cally feels a super strong attachment to Sam.

Sam isn’t like ordinary people. He thinks about things differently. Maybe it’s because he can’t see or hear, but sometimes what he says just makes me feel like my Brian and heart are exploding. In a good way. I wanted to tell him he was magic because he made me feel like I wasn’t weird or crazy or stupid.

I also liked the moment where he was stuck in the lake and couldn’t get any help. So Cally ran after him, and saw the spirit of her Mom ready to help her there. I swear it was just beautiful and honest. And it hit me in the heart so much.

And there’s not a lot I can say. Because my mind is too numb to even think about this book. It hurt so crampin much.Agh.
Profile Image for Ms. B.
2,797 reviews35 followers
October 26, 2013
Those who enjoyed Patricia Reilly Giff's Pictures of Hollis Woods will enjoy this. There was so much sadness in this story in which a series of unrelated events all happen for a very good reason. The sad - a dead mother, a character who chooses not to talk, a boy who is deaf and blind. The happy - there's a dog in it and a loving if distant father.
PS. Stick with this one, the ending is fabulous!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Dee Dee G.
496 reviews7 followers
June 1, 2019
Years ago my late grandmother had a dog she named homeless lol. When I saw the title of this book when I was searching good reads for recommendations I was shocked. Who else would come up with a name like that for a dog? 🤦🏾‍♀️This was a very nice book. It flowed well and everything came together in the end.
Profile Image for Michele Knott.
3,508 reviews155 followers
April 4, 2015
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.
September 24, 2018
First Read: Cally Fisher saw her mum bright and real and alive. But no one believes her, so Cally's stopped talking. She hasn't been talking. She has not spoken for thirty-one days. A mysterious wolfhound always seems to be there when her mum appears and now he's started following her everywhere. But how can Cally convince anyone that Mum is still with them, or persuade Dad that the huge silver grey dog is their last link with her.

This is a very tender book. Her mother died about a year earlier due to illness. Their daughter Cally has major depression issues, but there are ways she is slowly able to work through it.

Why did I decide to read this book? I've heard very good things about the book and decided to read it. Why did I like it? I liked the book because it was so heart-warming and a little sad and had quite a bit of suspense which really engrossed me and kept it glued in my hands.

A thing I learned: You can communicate with people by tapping their hand, like with a deaf person.
A character that interested me: Jed-Jed (The homeless man) interested me because he was given Homeless (the puppy) and told to look for the mother's family, right before she died. He persisted, although he didn't have a home, and eventually found them and went out of his way to get Homeless to his rightful owners. Recommend.

Second Read: In this British import, a girl grieving for her dead mother gives up talking when she becomes convinced that what she says doesn't matter.

Cally's father never mentions her mom, which seems to deny her existence. Then Cally begins to see her mother—a ghost or wishful imagining?—dressed in a red raincoat and sometimes accompanied by a very large dog that's assuredly not a ghost since he turns up independently at school, in the park and especially with a homeless man, Jed. Cally also meets Mrs. Cooper, a neighbor in their new apartment building who lovingly cares for her blind, nearly deaf 11-year-old son, Sam. Mrs. Cooper, Sam and a psychiatrist all reach out to Cally, each offering wise support, but it's Cally herself, perhaps with the quiet help of her mom, who finds a believable—if a bit miraculous—and highly satisfying resolution. Fifth-grader Cally's first-person voice effectively captures both her suffering and her bewilderment as friends and her father all fail to understand her pain. When she tells Sam she sometimes thinks her mother became a star after she died, he astutely asks, "Why would she go so far away?" giving Cally a comforting new way to think of her mother, much closer to her heart.

Ever so gently, this fine debut effort explores the power of human kindness as Cally and her father find effective ways to cope with their loss.
Profile Image for Patsy.
622 reviews8 followers
April 23, 2021
This is such a beautiful story about a broken family with a little girl struggling with others not believing that she can see her dead mother. She and her mother were close, her dad has appeared to move on without talking about her mother or helping her grieve. So Cally creates a new problem for herself and those who care about her. She stops talking.

This is a tender story about broken people finding healing with the help of a dog Cally names Homeless and her mother whom she sees walking with it several times.
13 reviews
July 30, 2018
I read this book with my 9-year-old son in an effort to expand his reading repertoire (currently his choices are based on how many illustrations are on each page).

It kept his attention! He's not used to reading a book on deep issues like losing a parent, homelessness, and children with disabilities. I'm so glad we had this experience together.
Profile Image for Emily.
5 reviews
February 24, 2020
This book is so good because it gives you everything you could ever want out of a book. It has scary moments,happy moments,sad moments,and much more. I think the author did a really good job.
27 reviews
January 31, 2022
I love this book it's sad but a good book. I could read it over and over again and it would never get old. I recommend it to everybody.
Profile Image for A.R. Clayton.
Author 1 book2 followers
December 20, 2020
Just read it. Going in my top ten for all eternity. It will have a special place in Heaven's library.
Profile Image for Ann.
Author 7 books204 followers
February 26, 2013
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 pilloried by the legions of readers who seem to adore it. Before I read I Wonder, I knew I was in for it when a) I saw the cover of the book (like A Clockwork Orange (?)), b) the New York Times Book Review critic said she "sobbed" when she read it, and c) one of our young library patrons asked for a read-alike, and when I suggested strong titles about disability communities, she informed me that what she really wanted was, well, books about deformed kids. Great, I thought. It's A Child Called It for the fourth grade set.

A Dog Called Homeless is accurate in its depiction of multiple disabilities. It is not heavy-handed. The heroine doesn't have to be a cutup. Written with a deceptive ease, it will quietly slip into the minds of young readers. And stay there, I hope. (It is also accessible to young readers with disabilities, whose literacy skills are often delayed.)

Young Cally Fisher hasn't spoken in 31 days. It started as a contest, but then she realized that her recently widowed father and the teachers and students at her school weren't really listening to her (or, better yet, hearing her) and she felt a sense of relief by not oralizing, so she stopped talking. Cally is angry and sad about moving out of the home that contains her mother's essence in every corner, but when she moves into a strange apartment, she quickly becomes close friends with the boy downstairs. Sam is blind and becoming deaf. His life with his mother, who is supportive and funny, is representative of genuine disability experience. Cally learns to finger-spell into Sam's hand and she learns about braille. They're two kids hanging out together, who naturally adjust to each other's needs.

Then there's the dog. It's a huge Irish wolfhound. He turns out okay too. And if there's a marvelous stroke of serendipity, that isn't completely unrealistic either.

I thank the author for this book. And for not claiming fake credits in the back of the book. "I met a mute and blind kid at the dentist's office once!" That stuff is just insulting, folks. And it wouldn't fly with other minority communities.

Displaying 1 - 30 of 496 reviews

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