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KS2 Reading Books: Way Home L. Hathorn (2003)

Libby Hathorn, Australian children’s writer

Libby Hathorn is a prominent Australian children’s writer and poet. Her picture storybooks for children have gained wide acceptance among children of all ages, particularly those belonging to the KS2 group. Her renowned books include ‘Way Home’, ‘Sky Sash So Blue’, ‘Grandma’s Shoes’, ‘Thunderwith’, ‘A Boy Like Me’, ‘Letters to a Princess’, ‘The Great Big Animal Ask’, ‘Over the Moon’, etc.

So far, Libby Hathorn has won numerous awards for her literary creations, including Centenary Medal (2003) and Winner Crichton Award (2004).

For the picture storybook ‘Way Home’, she won prestigious awards such as the Kate Greenaway Medal (1995), NSW Women Writers’ Award for Picture Storybook (1995), The Australian Violence Prevention Certificate Award (1995), and A Parent’s Choice Award (1994). ‘Way Home’ was also nominated as the ‘Notable Book’ by the Children’s Book Council of Australia.


Way Home’s book

The illustrator of ‘Way Home’, Gregory Rogers, won the Kate Greenaway Medal (1995) in recognition to the best children’s book illustration by a British subject. The lively images by Gregory Rogers contained in this book have made it truly desirable for children.

Way Home’ is a beautiful story of a boy named Shane, who finds a stray kitten on his way back home one night. The cat, at first, growls and spits at him, but he somehow befriends it eventually. He tucks his new friend inside his jacket and, while returning, he faces lots of dangers, like fierce dogs, gang of boys, or dense traffic. But nothing can stop Shane from carrying his new kitten back to the place where he lives, a makeshift shaft, for just the two of them.

Libby Hathorn has amazingly depicted the life at night in Way Home. In addition to this, the stunning and realistic visuals in this book help to create a lasting impact on children’s minds. Your KS2 child will thus like the powerful story and perfect pictures of this award winning classic. Way Home might however not be suitable to children of age below 6, as the many dangers faced by Shane in the story might frightened them at times. On the other hand, Way Home can help you, as a parent, teach your kid how frightening and miserable the life of some homeless and hapless street children could be.


What do people say about Way Home?

The famous children’s writer Maurice Saxby in St. James Guide to Children’s Writers noted at Goodreads:

“In her novels for teenagers especially, Hathorn exposes, with compassion, sensitivity, and poetry the universal and ongoing struggle of humanity to heal hurts, establish meaningful relationships, and to learn to accept one’s self—and ultimately—those who have wronged us.”

Below is a comment left at Amazon by one of the readers of Way Home:

This book is a masterpiece of the picture book format. The text is artfully written in that it provides numerous twists and turns for the reader creating narrow passageways which parallel the journey of the main character. The artwork is equally masterful. I love the idea that the end papers appear as crumpled paper and each of the images appears to be a torn photograph. These images are suggestive of the “throw-away” nature of the child involved in the story. Only at the end when the boy arrives home (a box) with his recently found cat does the single closing photo appear whole and without tears. There are other subtle meanings also woven into the illustrations. Look carefully but most importantly enjoy. ”

For me Way Home goes beyond a simple children’s story but it is also a well-crafted exposure to hardship, humanity and determination. This book will certainly develop in your son or daughter sensitivity, compassion and sympathy for others who might be less fortunate than they are. This naturally leads to a better appreciation of what we have.

If you would like to discover this book’s exciting adventures, click here.

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