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I Can Hear the Sun
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I Can Hear the Sun

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  282 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Fondo's life is sad and lonely until he meets Stephanie Michele. She takes care of the geese who live on the shore of Lake Merritt, and when Fondo shows up there one day, she lets him help. But now the geese are preparing to fly south for the winter, and Fondo says that they've invited him to join them. Is hope enough to accomplish a miracle? Patricia Polacco masterfully i ...more
Paperback, 32 pages
Published October 1st 1999 by Puffin Books (first published September 9th 1996)
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Average rating 4.05  · 
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 ·  282 ratings  ·  38 reviews

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Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan
Jan 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all “throwaway” children, kids who like animals, to teach empathy, ages 8 or 9 & up
This is subtitled A Modern Myth and I’m glad it was. I liked the end better because of it.

This is another Polacco picture book I sobbed through.

It takes place in an area I know well, Lake Merritt in Oakland, California, just across a bridge from San Francisco where I live. Polacco captures the atmosphere well.

This story features Stephanie Michele, who takes care of the fauna in the area, especially the geese, a young orphan boy named Fondo, and two homeless people who seem to basically live outs
Feb 09, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers Looking for Children's Stories Addressing Poverty & Homelessness
Patricia Polacco, a picture-book author and artist who is unafraid to explore some of the darker realities of human existence in her stories for children - the heartbreak of childhood cancer, in The Lemonade Club ; the brutality of slavery, in January's Sparrow ; the ravages of civil war, in Pink and Say - here turns her attention to the themes of homelessness and abandoned children. The story of Fondo, an orphan who lives at the settlement house, and his summer-time friendship with St ...more
Linda Lipko
Jul 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
High on my list of Polacco's wonderful children's illustrated books, this one address very difficult situations without over dramatizing.

When a sad, forlorn, lonely child is found sitting on the bench of Lake Merritt in California, Stephanie Michele, who cares for the geese who live on the shore and in the water of Lake Merritt, keenly observes Fondo's interactions with the geese.

In particular, one blind goose seems to be attached to Fondo and senses where he is and follows him.

In addition to
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Homeless and special needs requests
A beautiful story written in memory of her grandson. Had my eyes overflowing with tears. A story that shows how everyone is special.

Patricia Polacco hits another home run.
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mom, ellie
Like all her other books this one was great. I really admired how Stephanie Michele spoke and respected the people in the park...krb 6/23/19
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
First, I must say that I love how Polacco illustrates and writes about geese. She captures them beautifully. I also appreciated how this book featured a blind goose.

This story is about Fondo, an abandoned/orphaned "throwaway kid" and Stephanie Michele who cared for the geese at Lake Merritt. Lake Merritt is a place where many homeless and hopeless people gravitate to. Stephanie is familiar with all the regular visitors and she soon establishes a bond with Fondo. Fondo helps with the geese and h
Mar 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
I Can Hear The Sun is about an orphan boy name Fondo. Fondo’s life is sad and pretty lonely. He lives in settlement housing, which is a place for the homeless and unwanted children. He meets Stephanie Michele, who is a geese care giver at the local park. Fondo shows up at the park one day, and he’s quite infatuated with the geese. Stephanie befriends Fondo, and they began to care for the geese side by side. Fondo makes a special connection with a blind goose. Both Stephanie and Fondo love the bl ...more
Kelly McKeon
The main character of this story, Fondo, is an orphan who finds his way to the geese on the shore of Lake Merritt. It is there that he meets Stephanie Michele. She cares for the geese, and ends up caring for Fondo as well. Fondo spends his day caring for the geese and “listening to the sun” which becomes a metaphor for listening to the needs of others. In the end, the sun tells Fondo and Stephanie that the geese will fly south for the winter. In the same time, Fondo is told that he will be sent ...more
Kaley Robinson
Jan 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Personal response- One of my new favorite Polacco books. This book takes an unfortunate situation and brings some positive light to the boys. Fondo is a cute boy, and brings a lot of happiness. Its great to see him be able to follow his dreams and relate to people who are in his situation. I thought it was funny that the book was about geese, which added some humor to the book.

Read aloud for enrichment
- the students will be able to relate to becoming independent and trying to figure out
Jul 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
A modern myth about a boy, two homeless people, a parks and rec. worker and geese. Patricia Polacco did a fabulous jab nailing the entire "myth" feel to the book. Set in a very real place with characters that suck you in. There is a mystery surrounding the young boy and his odd connection to the geese. When the story takes an unbelievable turn the reader can't help but question if it is really all the unbelievable. ...more
Jul 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written and illustrated story that somehow blends the harsh realities of homelessness, isolation and disability with a magical sense of wonder, friendship and maybe even hope.

Listen to our chat about this book on our Children's Book Podcast:
Jul 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I totally cried! This picture book is for older children. It's about a homeless boy in California and the geese at the park that he helps takes care of. The story is really moving and I appreciate the way that Polacco has addressed homelessness in this story; the main character is a person first and homeless second. ...more
Nov 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mariana
Marianna - This stroy is about a kid that is an Orphan. He gose every day to the park and dose nothing but sits there on a bench and feeds the ducks. One day he told the girl that he fed the ducks with (Jennifer) that he was having a special treat meant.Then he heard the sun and left with geese. (HE LEFT WITH THE GEESE BECAUSE HE DIED OF SDANESS).
Miss Erica
GR Level: P

Elementary: E POL

Read the story of Fondo, the boy who doesn't have any parents, or even a house to live in. He believes that one day, he will fly- and sure enough, when the homeless shelter tells him they are moving him somewhere permanent, he flies away with the geese.
May 29, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A touching story of a homeless boy who finds refuge with a woman who cares for geese on a pond. A real dilemma finds a mystical solution, and yet Polacco says the story is true. Children will love the ending, even if to jaded adults everywhere it seems implausible and impossible.
The Reading Countess
What do homelessness, a boy flying (yes, you read that correctly) and tending to geese have in common? Only Polacco can effortlessly plant all three ideas and grow a beautiful, yet odd story about family.
Oct 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-book
Read the story of Fondo, the boy who doesn't have any parents, or even a house to live in. He believes that one day, he will fly- and sure enough, when the homeless shelter tells him they are moving him somewhere permanent, he flies away with the geese. ...more
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids
Didn't see that ending coming at all. Modern myth is right. Gorgeously done from start to finish...and made me cry in the middle. I think this may actually be my favorite Polacco book, which I certainly did not expect. Highly recommended. ...more
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This was probably one of my favorite children's books so far. I think it was such a sweet book and had such an amazing story. I feel as though the blind goose and the little boy had so much in common because they "didn't fit in" very touching book. ...more
May 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hdfs
This book is fabulous. We all need to remember to be so empowered with hope and faith!
Powers Family
Sep 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Ben really liked this book. He told me I should read it!
Jul 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: review
a good story for teaching text connections
Feb 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Max fell asleep as I was reading this. I love Patricia Polacco, she demands some maturity. I pick up her books week after week. This story is sad and lovely.
Aug 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: teachers
I love Polacco's books. Another excellent book. Leaving the reason for the child's quietness is a lesson that we need to focus on the person and not the problem. ...more
Dec 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
My absolute favorite Patricia Polacco book. Makes me cry every time. I am getting a little weepy eyed right now just thinking about it.
Alyson Carroll
Sep 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This story is about a homeless boy named Fondo who meets a few adults at the pond in the park. Fondo gets to know them by helping feed the geese every day. He helped the geese so much that they became attached to them. Fondo could even understand what the geese were saying to him. One day, Fondo finds out he has to leave to go to a home for kids with special needs. He is upset because he doesn't want to leave his new friends or the geese. On the day he is supposed to leave, he escapes and runs t ...more
Megan Martin
Nov 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this story about a park worker who takes care of the lake and a flock of geese. She knows the people who visit and the homeless who are usually around. She helps everyone in need and is non judgmental with a big heart. One day a little boy shows up with the homeless man and woman. The park worker gives him a job of feeding the geese and caring for the blind one. Towards the end a relationship of trust is created and the park keeper wants to do more for the boy but can not. This book has ...more
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: polacco
This book is one of her few that is based more on the creation of a myth and less on her own experiences. I was not as entranced by this book as I have been by all her others that I have read. I suppose as a myth it is good but that was really not what I was looking for when I chose to read one of her books.
Aug 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Society's misfits are the characters in this modern myth--homeless, disabled, orphaned. In the end, the learning-disabled orphan "flies away" with the migrating geese. Discuss with students what this might symbolize. Also note that the characters are more than their problems--they are real people in need of kindness and understanding. A picture book for older children. ...more
Lara Lleverino
Patricia Polacco is a master at writing about HARD subjects with such love and beauty. This book made me cry. I'm not sure I'm totally satisfied with the ending but the story is so worth reading. Puts faces and stories to homeless people and empathy with special needs children. ...more
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Patricia Polacco is a New York Times bestselling author and illustrator with around seventy beloved and award-winning books to her credit, including The Keeping Quilt, Pink and Say, The Blessing Cup, Chicken Sunday, and Thank You, Mr. Falker. She resides in Michigan.

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