THE SANCTUARY by Ann E. Eskridge


Age Range: 9 & up
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 Little Man sees himself as ``an average black kid with a gap in his teeth,'' small for his age and plagued with difficulty understanding grownups. In truth he's lonely and fatherless, and the neighborhood where he and his mother have lived since she was laid off is what most people call a slum. But Little Man has explored it and knows almost everybody except old Mrs. Johnson, who has an altar of junk behind her run-down house; neighbors call it an ``eyesore,'' and her a ``witch.'' Still, on a dare, Little Man ventures into friendship with her; she turns out to be sharp and funny when she's not having one of her spells. Mrs. Johnson dubs Little Man ``one of God's chosen recyclers'' and gives him meals in return for help building a ``sanctuary'' for photos of good people that God has told her need protection. When Little Man learns that the neighbors plan to raze the sanctuary during a cleanup (they have hopes of the area being designated a historic district), he tries to warn Mrs. Johnson but finds her ill and strange. Soon after, she disappears (perhaps she's been taken away by relatives); the sanctuary is bulldozed, and Little Man is left with a few photos plus some memorable words concerning life's purpose. Original, dramatic, and genuinely touching, this first novel was inspired by a real event in Detroit. (Fiction. 9+)

Pub Date: May 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-525-65168-3
Page count: 134pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1994