The Lost Homework by Richard O'Neill

Values: Empathy, Respect, Kindness, Pride, Acceptance.

I bought this book after attending a reading conference in October 2019 and being inspired by hearing a fellow teacher speak so passionately about it and her own experiences. It has real authenticity as Richard O'Neill grew up travelling around the UK with his family and is an inspiring storyteller; his books are spellbinding and real. The book teaches us about a lifestyle we may know little of, and highlights plenty of similarities with our own lives too.

The Lost Homework is a story of a Traveller boy, Sonny, who loses his homework book and worries what his teacher will say when he can’t hand it in.

It not only beautifully teaches children about life in Traveller communities but evokes empathy for how Sonny is feeling. The children I have read it to have responded with kindness about how they feel when they can’t give in their homework too. Furthermore, The Lost Homework breaks down stereotypes and teaches respect and kindness for children from travelling communities as well as all other backgrounds. It values the skills and knowledge that these young people bring to their families and classrooms.

Sadly, the value of pride is something that can be lost when children feel they are ‘different’ to their peers, and I hope that in classrooms and homes where teachers and parents/carers can share this book, Romany and Traveller children feel pride in their cultural heritage. I love this book, and the rest of Richard O’Neill’s books and feel they have a crucial place on The Values Bookshelf.

If you would like a copy for yourself, follow this Blackwell's link.

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