Have you ever passed a homeless person by? Pretended to not see what is staring right at you? I know I have. But what could happen if we all stood up and took notice?
No-one pays any attention to the homeless woman and her dog living on the corner where a house was never built. One little girl notices though and in her eyes the lady is a Queen; one who fought in battles, faced dragons and explored the world. Sadly, many people don’t see the Queen for who she really is and wish she would go away. Full of kindness, the little girl and her ma offer food for the Queen and her royal hound to eat and blankets to keep them warm. In return the Queen shares incredible stories. When, one terrible night, danger comes to the street and the Queen sounds the alarm, the little girl needs a way to thank her. But will the community come together to help…
The Queen on our Corner is a splendid picture book with beautiful illustrations that gently introduces the difficult topic of homelessness to young children. Through a feel-good, heartwarming and hopeful story, children are asked to show empathy towards and understand those who find themselves living in difficult circumstances. We are reminded that we never know the story of others and to not make judgements on appearance or situation; everyone deserves to be valued.
Finely treading the line between reality and fiction, readers are opened to the experience of those living homeless who often find themselves ignored by many. It takes a child to notice what others miss; children have a wonderful innocent view of the world and are often the ones that are willing to open their hearts and minds when supposedly better-informed and more life-experienced adults will not. Whilst the Queen on the corner is ignored and seen as a nuisance by most, it only takes one act of kindness from a child to make a difference.
The homeless lady faces many challenges but ultimately has a happy ending. Whilst this isn’t the reality for most homeless people it does show what can happen when a community recognises those in need within their neighbourhood and come together to make a difference to the life of someone else.
Representation and inclusivity matters in children’s books and I love the diverse, multicultural neighbourhood that is represented; young and old, people of different races and ethnicities, a blind person with a walking aid, a child in a wheelchair.
A lovely and heartfelt author’s note provides insight into Lucy Christopher's inspiration for the story and implores us all to take notice of those living rough and to spot the ‘kings and queens’ who hide in doorways, parks and carparks. Offering much food for thought, I’m sure many children will be left thinking about the kind and generous things that they can do to support those living without roofs over their heads.
Recommended for 4+.