Journeys in search of home

19th December 2003 at 00:00

Running Home
By Teresa Doran
The Chicken House pound;10.99

The Garbage King
By Elizabeth Laird
Macmillan pound;9.99

Esperanza Rising
By Pam Mu-oz Ryan
The Chicken House pound;5.99

By L S Matthews,
Hodder pound;4.99

Fictional children always have to get rid of their parents if they want to prove their own resourcefulness. It takes Teresa Doran just two pages to orphan her main characters in a violent domestic shooting in a Cornish holiday home.

As the children have previously been taken into care, 12-year-old Caitlin's instinct is to take charge of younger sister Effie and head for the County Clare grandparents who have always provided stability. En route they are picked up by travellers, hitch illicit lifts, and dodge would-be captors who have seen their photographs on newspaper front pages. The story is full of incident, and has as happy an ending as circumstances permit, though with the sense that the sisters have much to assimilate and understand.

Children are on the run in The Garbage King, too: this time in the streets of Addis Ababa and the surrounding country. Circumstances bring together two boys from very different backgrounds: newly-orphaned Mamo, abducted and sold as a farm worker before escaping back to the city, and wealthy Dani, who has run away from his harsh father. Both learn to scavenge a living with a gang of street children.

Read more in this week's TES


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