About this book
The Stray and the Strangers
Steven Heighton • Melissa Iwai
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
Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:
Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.
Distinguish their own point of view from that of the narrator or those of the characters.
Explain how specific aspects of a text's illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting)
Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
Compare and contrast the point of view from which different stories are narrated, including the difference between first- and third-person narrations.
Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
Describe how a narrator's or speaker's point of view influences how events are described.
Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Explain how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text.
About the Author
STEVEN HEIGHTON’s most recent books are the novel The Nightingale Won’t Let You Sleep (Hamish Hamilton, 2017), the Governor General’s Literary Award–winning poetry collection The Waking Comes Late (House of Anansi Press, 2016), and the memoir Reaching Mithymna (Biblioasis, 2020), which was a finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction. He is also the author of the novel Afterlands, which was published in six countries, was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice, and was a “best of year” selection from ten publications in Canada, the U.S., and the U.K. The novel has also been optioned for film by Pall Grimsson and is currently in pre-production. His other poetry collections include The Ecstasy of Skeptics and The Address Book. His fiction and poetry have been translated into ten languages, have appeared in the London Review of Books, Tin House, Poetry, Brick, the Independent, the Literary Review, and The Walrus Magazine, among others; have been internationally anthologized in Best English Stories, Best American Poetry, The Minerva Book of Stories, and Best American Mystery Stories; and have won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry, the Gerald Lampert Award, the K. M. Hunter Award, the P. K. Page Founders’ Award, the Petra Kenney Prize, the Air Canada Award, and four gold National Magazine Awards. In addition, Heighton has been a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Trillium Book Award, the Pushcart Prize, the Journey Prize, the Moth Prize, and Britain’s W. H. Smith Award. Heighton is also a fiction reviewer for the New York Times Book Review. He lives in Kingston, Ontario. In 2021, Wolfe Island Records will release an album of his songs, The Devil’s Share. To listen, visit www.wolfeislandrecords.com/stevenheighton.
Awards and Praise
[A] gently told story of refugees … [with] a lovely, unique tone.