Children’s book leaves me counting blessings


My 8 year old daughter picked out a book at her school’s Scholastic book fair: “How to Steal a Dog” by Barbara O’Connor. Excited that she’d picked a book instead of the various Scholastic craptastic toys, I happily bought her the book.

My daughter picked this book because of the cute dog on its cover. However in this case, you definitely can’t judge a book by its cover, because this book is about homelessness. The book opens with:

 “The day I decided to steal a dog is the same day my best friend, Luanne Godfrey, found out I lived in a car.”

What a great first line!

The story begins with a mother and her two children living in a car. They’ve been evicted from their apartment, the father has left, and the mother is working two jobs. As the story unfolds, a moral dilemma emerges. Is it OK to do something wrong if your intentions are good? In the story, homelessness motivates a young girl to steal “borrow” a dog, with the hope that the owners will offer reward money, which she can then use towards an apartment. She knows it’s wrong to take the dog, and yet she hates living in a car. She desperately wants a real place to live. And so… well, you’ll have to read the book to find out.

What my daughter and I got from ‘How to Steal a Dog’ is the importance of having a home. And that not having a home can drive a person to do something they might normally not do. As I read the book to my daughter there were a million opportunities for us to count our blessings. We read about the family’s plight and then felt grateful for such things as:

  • We’re not embarrassed about where we live and can invite friends over to our home.
  • Where we live stays the same. Our home doesn’t move between back alleys and parking lots.
  • We have beds to sleep on, instead of sleeping curled up in a car.
  • Our home has a thermostat.
  • We have running water and a shower. We don’t have to wash our hair in a restaurant’s bathroom.
  • We have a refrigerator and only use ice coolers for trips.

The list goes on and on… We have so much to be thankful for!

What are you thankful for? Please leave a Comment.


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