Monday, May 14, 2012

Review of The House on Dirty-Third Street

The House on Dirty-Third Street by Jo S. Kittinger, illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez, is the story of a young girl and her mom who move to a rundown house on Thirty-Third Street. The entire neighborhood appears somewhat rundown, but theirs is the worst. Her mom tells her to just look at it through the eyes of faith. The two start to dig away at preparing their new house to fit their dreams and quickly feel defeated. When they go to the new church, the girl asks her Sunday School teacher to pray for them, so that they could see their home with the eyes of faith. Almost immediately, people from the church and the neighborhood start to show up to offer their assistance. Working together, the house that they had seen through their eyes of faith becomes a reality.

I love this book. I also live in an older neighborhood where houses seem to constantly need some kind of attention. Like the neighborhood in the book, we are a community that does whatever we can to help each other. You know that if you need help with anything, you can reach out to the neighbors and get what you need. We're all here to live our lives in a beautiful neighborhood. It reflects on us as people and we take pride in where we live.

Sometimes it isn't easy to see the beauty in your home and life. The old saying goes, "When life hands you lemons, you need to make lemonade." Make the best of what you are given and it will become better than you had imagined. I like the line in this book about looking at the home through the eyes of faith. If you have faith in something, you can make it happen. It isn't always going to come without some hard work, but it will come.

This book also serves as a reminder to help your neighbors and to follow the Golden Rule. Take the first step and say something kind to the people you see. It can be infectious and lead to great things. It's also good for your karma.

I would use this book with elementary-aged students, to remind them about being helpful and optimistic. It could be used in schools, as well, as a foundation for discussions as to how people find their eyes of faith, no matter what their religion.

I received a set of galleys from the publisher in exchange for my honest review of this book.

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