GWEN by Carolyn Pogue


Age Range: 10 - 15
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This rich historical novel presents readers with a plucky heroine who has the heart of a poet. Recently orphaned, Gwen is sent to a Girl’s Home—a charity that teaches domestic-service skills to destitute children. Eventually, Gwen journeys from England to her assignment in Canada. The first household in which she works is an ugly situation, and she learns that, though well-intentioned, the Home Child program is imperfect and controversial. Gwen flees and spends the next two weeks foraging for food and braving the elements before finding happier conditions. Carrying Gwen through her many adventures is her vivid imagination and a gift from her father, a book of poetry by Mohawk writer/performer E. Pauline Johnson. The Home’s founder, Dr. Allan, is based on the real Dr. Thomas Barnardo, a philanthropist who created many such havens that supplied housing and training; though begun in the 19th century, the charity still exists today. Sprinkled with bits of poetry and song, this page-turner offers readers nary a dull moment. (author’s note) (Historical fiction. 10-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-894549-80-6
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Sumach Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2009


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