The Stray and the Strangers

The Stray and the Strangers

Written by: Heighton, Steven
Illustrated by: Iwai, Melissa
ages 6 to 9 / grades 1 to 4

Based on a true story, a stray dog befriends an orphan boy in a refugee camp on a Greek island.

The fishermen on Lesvos call her Kanella because of her cinnamon color. She’s a scrawny, nervous stray — easily intimidated by the harbor cats and the other dogs that compete for handouts on the pier.

One spring day a dinghy filled with weary, desperate strangers comes to shore. Other boats follow, laden with refugees who are homeless and hungry. Kanella knows what that is like, and she follows them as they are taken to a makeshift refugee camp. There she comes to trust a bearded man, an aid worker, and gradually settles into a contented routine. Kanella grows healthy and confident. She has a job now — to keep watch over the people in her camp.

One day, a little boy arrives and does not leave like the others. He seems to have no family and, like Kanella, he is taken in by the workers. He sleeps on a cot in the food hut, and Kanella keeps him warm and calm. When two new adults come to the camp. Kanella is ready to defend the boy from them, until she is pulled away by the bearded man. They are the boy’s parents, and now he must go with them.

Eventually, the camp is dismantled, and Kanella finds herself homeless again. Until one night, huddled in the cold, she awakens to see two bright lights shining in her eyes — the headlights of a car. The bearded man has come back for her, and soon Kanella is on a journey, too, to a new home of her own.

Key Text Features
maps
illustrations
author's note

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.6
Describe how a narrator's or speaker's point of view influences how events are described.

Based on a true story, a stray dog befriends an orphan boy in a refugee camp on a Greek island.

The fishermen on Lesvos call her Kanella because of her cinnamon color. She’s a scrawny, nervous stray — easily intimidated by the harbor cats and the other dogs that compete for handouts on the pier.

One spring day a dinghy filled with weary, desperate strangers comes to shore. Other boats follow, laden with refugees who are homeless and hungry. Kanella knows what that is like, and she follows them as they are taken to a makeshift refugee camp. There she comes to trust a bearded man, an aid worker, and gradually settles into a contented routine. Kanella grows healthy and confident. She has a job now — to keep watch over the people in her camp.

One day, a little boy arrives and does not leave like the others. He seems to have no family and, like Kanella, he is taken in by the workers. He sleeps on a cot in the food hut, and Kanella keeps him warm and calm. When two new adults come to the camp. Kanella is ready to defend the boy from them, until she is pulled away by the bearded man. They are the boy’s parents, and now he must go with them.

Eventually, the camp is dismantled, and Kanella finds herself homeless again. Until one night, huddled in the cold, she awakens to see two bright lights shining in her eyes — the headlights of a car. The bearded man has come back for her, and soon Kanella is on a journey, too, to a new home of her own.

Key Text Features
maps
illustrations
author's note

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.6
Describe how a narrator's or speaker's point of view influences how events are described.

Published By Groundwood Books Ltd - Sep 29, 2020
Specifications 112 pages | 5 in x 7.5 in
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Excerpt

Praise for Steven Heighton and The Stray and the Strangers:

“Based on a true story, a poignant, heartwarming introduction to the lives of refugees.” — Kirkus, starred review

“A tender and compassionate story.” — School Library Journal

The Stray and the Strangers is not only a must-read, but it would be excellent as a teaching tool for human relations, globalization, empathy toward refugees and immigrants and basic human kindness.” — CM Review of Materials

“[S]uitable for reluctant readers.” — Winnipeg Free Press

"Beautifully written start to finish, this book is an absolute gem. … It’s a book that crosses all age lines. Get it. Read it. And please, Steven Heighton, write more young peoples’ books." —YA Dude Books Blog

"[T]he story as told from a dog’s perspective really drives home the point that compassion and kindness go a long way in life." — Mr. Alex's Bookshelf Blog

“[A] gently told story of refugees … [with] a lovely, unique tone.” — The International Educator Blog

“Kids who read this exceptional story will surely feel the importance of understanding the plight of refugees running from untenable conditions.” — Sal’s Fiction Addiction Blog

Praise for Steven Heighton:

“Heighton is a terrific writer.” — The Guardian

“Heighton’s writing would hold its own in any literary circle.” — Chicago Tribune

“Heighton is an experienced adventurer in literary form ... a sense of boldness and risk-taking infuses [his work].” — New York Times Book Review