The House on Dirty-Third Street

House on Dirty-Third Street9781561456192_p0_v1_s260x420The House on Dirty-Third Street

Jo S. Kittinger, Author

Thomas Gonzalez, Illustrator

Peachtree Publishers, Fiction, 2012

2013 Christopher Award and the Social Justice Literature Award

Suitable for Ages: 5-8

Themes: Moving into an older house, Repair and reconstruction, Neighbors, Hope

Opening:  Mom said starting over would be an adventure, so I imagined a tropical island with palm trees and buried treasure.  Not thisAll the houses on Thirty-third Street were old and run down, but the one with the For Sale sign was the worst.  I’d call the whole place “Dirty-third Street.”

Synopsis:  A mother and daughter work to turn a hopeless, rundown, and dirty old house into a loving family home with hard work, faith, hope and the support of their new friends and neighbors.

Why I like this book:  This is a moving story by Jo S. Kittinger that taps into the deep disappointment a girl feels when she has to move into a house that is falling a part. It is a timely story for children about moving, and starting over after the loss of a home due to divorce, job loss or weather events like  floods, fires, tornadoes and hurricanes.  It also is a story about hope,  faith and community.  Thomas Gonzalez captures the girl’s disappointment on the book cover as she peers through a window into the house.  His beginning illustrations are drab and somber sketches with hints of pale pastel blue against the pen and ink sketches.  The girl’s expressions are priceless.  However, as neighbors and church members lend a hand to fix the house, color subtly appears in the illustrations.  The House on Dirty-Third Street is an excellent collaboration between author and illustrator. Visit Jo Kittinger at her website.  It is also a great book to share with kids during World Habitat Week.

World Habitat Daywhd13-th-300x250_0

Resources:  The United Nations has declared the first Monday of October World Habitat Day , which will be celebrated Oct. 7.  It is a time to recognize the basic need for adequate housing worldwide.  Habitat for Humanity will sponsor activities Oct. 6-12, 2013.  This is a wonderful opportunity for families to understand, sign up and participate in building and renovating homes in their local community.   Lesson plans and activities can be found at Habitat LearnsFormer President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn will focus their work projects in California, Colorado,, New York and New Jersey.  The Carters have participated for 30 years.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book.  To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

39 thoughts on “The House on Dirty-Third Street

  1. Pat, Sounds like a great book. I was just talking to someone about urban renewal areas. This might be a good book to share in those situations too.


  2. I’m not usually into picture books, but this is gorgeous! And the idea has captured my imagination already. I love how the illustrator slowly works in color. I imagine it coordinates with a change of attitude about the new home. Great pic, Pat!


  3. And again, you’ve mined a treasure to share with the world. WoW … I’m ordering this one TODAY!! Thank you, Pat, for your thoughtful selections that always seem to address the real needs of today’s real kids.


    • Thank you Barbara. It is a treasure and a great classroom book. It was perfect to tie into the upcoming World Habitat Day and Habitat for Humanity. That’s what my blog is about healing and social justice issues, with a sprinkle of fun books too.


  4. This looks like such a timely, needed book. I can’t tell you how many times I moved in my life into Victorian houses (or older) that needed everything doing. In fact, doing up old houses is a craze in Britain. To some though, I can imagine how this might seem traumatic!


    • With so many children observing a lot of change with weather patterns and the need for urban renewal, this book addressed those needs. Many Americans enjoy restoring old home in certain districts. It is an important topic.


  5. Nice review! Having been up to my ears in construction before, I know what it’s like to live with the chaos and the appreciation one feels of each completed step.


    • Thank you for stopping. I’m delighted you liked my selection. You have a wordpress blog, and I tried to subscribe so it appears in my reader, but I couldn’t figure out how. Like your blog.


  6. This comes across as a heart-felt selection, Pat. Bringing hope to those who need it is always a good thing. I’ve been a Habitat volunteer and I know, everyone can help (I have NO building talent, so I carried cinder blocks!)


  7. This sounds like a wonderful book! I love the idea of the illustrator introducing color as people help fix up the house. Moving, and moving into a run-down house, can be difficult – it sounds like this story has many layers of meaning. Thanks for sharing it, and the information about World Habitat Day!


  8. World Habitat Day. How about that. I’ll have to think about that this week. That girl’s expression on the cover says a lot. This looks like an excellent book. I’ll have to check it out. Thanks!


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