It doesn’t matter how big and strong you are, we all need a little help sometimes.

My son was 5 when he first saw people sleeping rough on the streets. I had taken the children to see the Christmas lights in Manchester city centre, and within minutes of stepping off the Metrolink, all Hugo could focus on was the people he saw in sleeping bags in shop doorways. Question after question followed as he simply could not get his head around why some people didn’t have a home. I so wish, therefore, that this book had been around then as I think it would have really helped me to explain the issue in a way that H could better understand.

Elvis the elephant is a mechanic who lives above the garage where he works. He loves his job and his co-workers and has no worries whatsoever. Unfortunately, however, his boss suddenly announces that he’s closing the business, which means that not only is Elvis out of work, but he also has to give up his home. He finds himself all alone on the street, scared and upset, until a kindly lady enters his life and offers some help…

In raising awareness of homelessness to a young audience, Helen May Brian has intuitively taken a sensitive, gentle approach to ensure a message of hope really shines through. Children will be able to empathise with Elvis and also recognise both the importance and power of kindness, and adults will be reminded of how quickly life can turn on a knife edge. The book is beautifully illustrated and pays tribute to charities and volunteers who dedicate their time and energies to helping those in need; indeed, all sale proceeds are split between St Mungo’s (one of a very few UK charities that accepts pets in its shelters) and Julian House. While the book has been kindly gifted to us by the author, I have donated the retail price to both charities.

If you haven’t yet discussed homelessness with the young people in your life, I highly recommend this book as a way to do so, and if you are financially able to purchase a copy, then you will be making a tangible difference to someone’s life.

Elvis: A Tale of Kindness and Hope.
: Helen May Brian
Illustrator: Chantal Bourgonje
Publisher: Peahen Books

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