Way Home By Libby Hathorn




Although the direction in which this book is heading, may well be obvious to an adult, it will most likely surprise children and create some fascinating and important discussion. This is definitely a good read for social awareness, kindness and compassion.


The main character in this story, is referred to as ‘The boy called Shane’, and I felt this was a choice made in order to illustrate the fact that Shane has a bit of an unknown history and background.

The boy called Shane comes across a stray cat and befriends it, telling the cat that he will take it home with him. The story then follows the new friends on their journey home; through tough streets and challenging situations. The boy and the cat look through shop and restaurant windows, all the while, the boy explaining the lives of others.

Eventually, the boy called Shane and his new cat find their way home – but home is not what you might expect…


Why I love it:

I am constantly telling my own children and the children in my class at school, just how lucky they/we are; how fortunate we are to have a warm, comfortable life and to never have to think about where our next meal is coming from. The problem with me telling them, is that it is just words and there’s no comparison they can relate to. Way Home provides that comparison.

All through the story, your children may well be imagining a home just like their own. They will probably be thinking about how the boy will take the cat home to meet his parents, and how maybe the boy and the cat will cuddle up together in the boy’s bed. It would actually be really great to get them to draw/discuss their ideas of this as soon as the boy tells the cat he will take him home.

Then, at the end of the book, your children will see how ‘home’ can be very different for some people.

Gratitude for what we have and an appreciation of how others live, is never a bad thing.


Themes to discuss with your child:

  • Life
  • Luck
  • Homelessness
  • Struggles
  • Problems
  • Friendship
  • Adversity
  • Resilience
  • Strength
  • The concept of ‘home’
  • The lives of others


Questions to ask your child:

Before reading:
  • What do you think this book might be about?
  • Do you think this is a fiction book (a story) or a non-fiction book (facts)?
  • Is this a book you want to read? Why/why not?
  • Where is this story set? How do you know this?
  • What is the boy on the cover, doing? Why do you think he might be doing this?
  • Tell me three adjectives to describe your home.
After reading:
  • Did you enjoy this story? Why/why not?
  • What did you think about the boy’s home?
  • Would you like to live there? Why/why not?
  • What are three things that you have, that the boy did not appear to have?
  • Why do you think he wanted to take the cat home with him?
  • On the journey to his home, the boy spends a bit of time looking through different windows; why do you think he does this? What do you think he might be thinking about?
  • Why do you think the boy might live where he lives?
  • If you lived where he lives, what would you miss most?
  • If you lived where he lives, what would you be afraid of?

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