Always There is a thought-provoking book that helps children learn about compassion and caring about others. It helps them see that it is important not to judge others by their circumstances or their appearances.
Thomas Mays is a young boy whose weekly bike rides take him past the homeless man who lives beneath the Parkside Bridge along the river in Eden. He sees, but never really notices Edmund, the homeless man each week until Edmund is declared a hero for saving a couple of people from drowning in the river. This piques Thomas’ interest and he begins to notice Edmund.
They begin to smile and wave at each other. Time passes and then one day Thomas notices that Edmund is not there. As he investigates he finds that Edmund leaves a mysterious note that leaves him thinking, pondering about this man who lives alone along the river. Who is he? Where is his family? Why is he alone?
More time passes and still Edmund doesn’t return. Again Thomas investigates and finds another note. This one sounds like Edmund might not be coming back. He’s feeling confused and discouraged because he hadn’t treated Edmund well when he could have and now Edmund has disappeared and he can’t.
Again Thomas goes back to the homeless man’s shelter and this time finds something that changes his life forever.
I read Always There several times before I could write a review on it. There is a lot of thought-provoking imagery here and it’s a book that will stick with you long after you read it. I think it’s a book that will bring about discussion between parent and child or teacher and students on compassion, caring, empathy, things not always being what they seem and possible causes to the situation in the story.
I loved the title of the book which has meaning in it on more than one level depending on how you interpret some of the imagery in the book.
Always There was a carefully crafted work of fiction about potentially very sensitive subject matter. I think the author did a wonderful job with it. The understated black and white pencil illustrations keep the focus on the story much better than coloured illustrations would have.
I loved this middle school (grade 5,6,7) book. This is the kind of book that will have readers of any age thinking about it for days after reading it. gave it 5 stars out of 5.
Thank you to the author who provided a copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review. A positive opinion was not required. All thoughts are my own.
To see my complete review visit Shelf Full of Books http://kathrynsshelffullofbooks.blogspot.com/2015/08/book-review-always-there-by-joseph-forte.html