Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 5 to 8
- Grade: k to 3
The critically acclaimed story of one child’s experience of foster care and his journey to a forever, forever home
Elliot’s parents love him very much, but they don’t have all the skills they need to take care of a child. When he cries, they do not understand why. When he yells, they do not know what to do. When he misbehaves, they do not know how to react. One day a social worker named Thomas comes to visit, and Elliot’s world turns upside-down.
Manon Gauthier’s soft collage illustrations feature approachable rabbit characters, while Julie Pearson’s soothing, repetitive text guides Elliot gently through the foster child system. The new families that care for the little boy are kind, but everything is strange and new, and the sudden changes make him want to cry and yell and misbehave. Then, when it becomes clear that Elliot’s parents will never be able to raise him, Thomas sets out to find Elliot one last home—a forever, forever home with a family that will love and care for him no matter what.
About the authors
Julie Pearson conceived of Elliot, her first picture book, during her first months as an adoptive mother. She has worked as an educator in child and youth centers for over twelve years, and is passionate about children and their development. Julie lives near Sherbrooke, Quebec.
Manon Gauthier is a graphic artist who made the leap to picture book illustration in 2006. After her first book was shortlisted for the Governor General's Award for Children's Literature, she dedicated herself entirely to illustration, and to giving presentations and art workshops in schools across Quebec. A flexible artist, Manon works in many media, including gouache, pencils, and paper collage. She lives in Montreal.
Erin Woods has been translating children's books since 2015, and has loved them all her life. She would like to thank her parents for forcing her into French Immersion, even though at five years old she was sure it was the end of the world—or at least her social life. Erin lives in Toronto, Ontario.
- Commended, OLA Best Bet
- Unknown, School Library Journal blogger Elizabeth Bird's "2016 Books With A Message"
- Commended, Resource Links "The Year's Best"
- Commended, Best Books for Kids & Teens
Excerpt: Elliot (by (author) Julie Pearson; illustrated by Manon Gauthier; translated by Erin Woods)
This is the story of Elliot, a playful little boy who was full of life. His mother and father loved him very much. BUT… When Elliot cried, his mother and his father did not understand why.
2017 OLA Best Bets selection
2016 School Library Journal blogger Elizabeth Bird's "2016 Books With A Message" selection
2016 Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books for Kids & Teens selection
2016 Resource Links "The Year's Best" selection
"Fostering is a difficult topic, but Pearson addresses it in a gentle, age-appropriate manner free of blame. Her direct lines keep the focus solidly on Elliot's emotional reactions, and repetition reinforces a reassuring undercurrent of familiarity in each new home. Gauthier's collage illustrations, in muted tones and childlike shapes, effectively dampen the realism of the potentially scary scenarios in the story and keep the mood somber but hopeful. Though it might not be representative of every fostering experience, this sensitive story nevertheless could be a comfort to children in the foster system."—Booklist
"Gauthier's...drawings are simple but poignantly depict the range of emotions Elliot experiences. The muted colors also help reinforce the low-key, reassuring message. Pearson handles this delicate subject with an understandable, sensitive, and sympathetic text. Recommended for libraries seeking books to help young children understand that birth parents sometimes do not know how to care for them and that other caregivers must enter their lives."—School Library Journal
"[Elliot] provides a gentle, caring way of introducing the concepts of finding a forever home which is loving and nurturing and inclusive for children when their own family cannot cope...This is an excellent teaching tool for classroom discussion about families and relationships. It is also a wonderful book to provide comfort, hope and assistance in adapting to a foster family situation for children in that process. Highly recommended."—Resource Links
"Pearson's refusal to sugarcoat [Elliot's] journey should resonate with children in similar situations."—Publishers Weekly
"The book tackles a complex issue in an approachable and kid-friendly way with adorable bunny characters and soft collage illustrations. It's a must-read."—Today's Parent
"This is a lovely book to share with a child trying to cope with the intricacies of being a foster child. The book stresses that Elliot is always loved and that everyone wants to do what is best for him. This is a must-have for public libraries."—Youth Services Book Review
"A simple yet powerful tale of hope, love, and belonging, Elliot tugs on the heartstrings and leaves readers with a heightened appreciation of the courage and resiliency of foster children and their families. Highly Recommended."—CM Magazine
"A fantastic book that we fell in love with...The book is written in simple language and provides a clear story structure with an honest retell of the process balanced with the importance of care, love and stability of a forever family."—Across the Avenue
"This book is so very important...Honest and vital, this picture book fills a huge gap in children's books with its depiction of the foster system for small children. Appropriate for ages 3-5."—Waking Brain Cells
"There are very few picture books that I want to clutch a little tighter and hold onto in my heart a little longer. Elliot is one that has touched me so."—CanLit for LittleCanadians
"Not all children are born into families where their needs can be met....Whatever the reason, there are times when children must be placed in foster care to ensure their growth and well-being....Honest and heartfelt, this book about foster parenting and adoption is a needed addition to any collection. Told in clear prose, with cut paper collage art done in quiet tones, it reflects the experiences of many children."—Sal's Fiction Addiction
"[T]his is a powerful book about a difficult subject that is an important read-aloud to those kids who are going through similar circumstances as well as any child who knows someone who is being fostered."—Raising Mom
“This book tackles a tough subject in a gentle and sensitive way, using a cast of disarming and charming rabbits. I haven't seen many books that address children in the foster care system, but I believe this is a truly powerful book and can resonate with a group that yearns to be understood.”—Little Bookworm Club
ElliotEliot is a sensitive story about parenting, foster care, and adoption. Julie Pearson’s book is a resource which will help readers of many ages understand the adoption process, and feel empathy towards classmates, parents, and friends. The picture book invites reflection and honest discussion about strong emotions, issues of erratic childhood behaviour, and the many challenges and joys of parenting.
Source: Association of Canadian Publishers. Diversity Collection Selection 2017.