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9781772781984_cover Enlarge Cover
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list price: $15.95
also available: Hardcover eBook
published: Apr 2021
publisher: Pajama Press Inc.

Harvey Comes Home

by Colleen Nelson, illustrated by Tara Anderson

reviews: 1
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dogs, post-confederation (1867-), adolescence
0 of 5
0 ratings
list price: $15.95
also available: Hardcover eBook
published: Apr 2021
publisher: Pajama Press Inc.


Now in paperback, the award-winning story of a lost West Highland Terrier warming hearts and bringing generations together

A dog’s world is a world of scents, of adventure. When a Harvey the West Highland Terrier wanders out of his old life guided only by his nose and his heart, lives begin to converge.

Austin, a young volunteer at the Brayside retirement home, quickly finds that the audacious Harvey inspires Mr. Pickering, a bitter resident coping with memory loss, to tell stories of his childhood. Moved by the elderly man’s Dust Bowl recollections of grinding poverty and the perseverance of his friends and family, Austin begins to trade his preconceived notions for empathy. But is it enough to give him the resolve to track down Harvey’s original owner?

Supported by warm graphite illustrations from acclaimed artist Tara Anderson, author Colleen Nelson immerses readers in a rich and unflinchingly human tale of struggle and hope—all inspired by one curious dog.


About the Authors

Colleen Nelson

An author and elementary school teacher, Colleen Nelson earned her Bachelor of Education from the University of Manitoba in her hometown of Winnipeg. Her previous novels include Harvey Holds His Own, which was nominated for the 2020 Governor General's Awards; Sadia, winner of the 2019 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award; and Blood Brothers, selected as the 2018 McNally Robinson Book of the Year for Young People. Colleen writes daily in between appearances at hockey rinks and soccer fields in support of her two sports-loving sons.

Author profile page >

Tara Anderson

A folk artist and award-winning illustrator who trained at the Ontario College of Art and Design, Tara Anderson is known for her lively and humorous illustrations of animals. Her books include That Stripy Cat, Rhino Rumpus, and the award-winning Nat the Cat Can Sleep Like That. Tara shares a farmhouse in Tweed, Ontario, with her husband, her young daughter, and several cats.
Author profile page >
Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
9 to 12
4 to 8
  • , Great Stone Face Award
  • Short-listed, Great Stone Face Award
  • Short-listed, Hackmatack Children's Choice Award
  • Short-listed, Forest of Reading Silver Birch Fiction Award
  • Short-listed, Rocky Mountain Book Award - Fiction
  • Winner, McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award (Older Category) Winner
  • Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens Spring
  • Winner, SYRCA Diamond Willow Award
  • Commended, Bank Street Best Book
  • Winner, Northern Lights Book Award: Pre-Teen Fiction
  • Commended, Kirkus Reviews 30 Most Anticipated Middle-Grade Books for Fall selection
Editorial Review

Praise for Harvey Comes Home

2019 Northern Lights Book Award: Pre-Teen Fiction Winner

2022 Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award

2021 Forest of Reading Silver Birch Fiction nominee

2021 Rocky Mountain Book Award - Fiction Shortlist

2020 SYRCA Diamond Willow Award Finalist

2022 Great Stone Face Award nominee

2020 CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens Spring Selection

2020 Bank Street Best Book selection

2019 Kirkus Reviews 30 Most Anticipated Middle-Grade Books for Fall selection

? STARRED REVIEW "[T]his gently paced, character-driven narrative captivates on every level, transforming a 'lost dog' story into a deeper reading experience. Present-day and historical time lines (with a few grim moments) are seamlessly interwoven and keep readers invested. Back matter reveals that the tale was inspired by Nelson's grandfather, accounting for the book's authentic, intimate feel. Nelson's first middle grade novel is heartwarming and inspirational; a first purchase."—School Library Journal Starred Review

"Affecting, riveting, and evocative, this character-driven tale within a tale…believably reveals the best and sometimes the worst of human nature....Much more than a lost-dog story."—Kirkus Reviews

"Throughout, alternating third-person chapters from Maggie, Harvey, and Austin give readers a rounded view of each prominent character....Dog lovers will drool over this multi-generational story."—Booklist

"The chapters alternate from the perspectives of Austin, Harvey, and Maggie, an effective device that allows readers to develop an understanding of the emotions and behaviors of the characters."—ILA Literacy Daily, "Compassion, Empathy, and Understanding"

“Both Harvey Comes Home and Harvey Holds His Own are heartwarming tales that will be much loved by anyone who has ever owned a dog or wanted one….The chapters are also kept short so that even reluctant readers will not find these stories too challenging to read….I highly encourage parents, teachers and librarians to add these two titles to their shelves and hope there will be another story coming soon.”—Canadian Children’s Book News

“Rating: E...Children who love animal stories will be eager to devour this story. The narrative is simple, endearing, and gentle but is touched by some sadness at the end....Harvey Comes Home is a sweet, lovable and adorable story that readers will enjoy regardless of their age. Colleen Nelson’s wonderfully woven story of a dog, a boy, and some seniors deserves a place on a shelf in every school and public library.”—Resource Links

“Harvey Comes Home is a gentle story about a slow build to friendship between generations that would be of interest to all readers and a wonderful choice for reading aloud. Harvey Comes Home is about so much more than a lost dog, and I can see this book being one that any reader would treasure. Highly Recommended.”—CM Magazine

"Rating: 5/5...This story flips from the present, Maggie searching for Harvey and Austin trying to keep up the ruse, and the stories of Mr. Pickering that take place in the 1930’s during some particularly challenging times....I found it was the stories provided by Mr. Pickering that kept me turning the pages of this book. I really wanted to know what happened to him, his family, and his special friend..."—Youth Services Book Review

“Colleen Nelson has written a new book that will especially resonate with pet lovers....Mid-grade readers will enjoy this story of love, loyalty and endurance, in which Tara Anderson shows her versatility by supplying charming black-and-white illustrations.”—Winnipeg Free Press

"In her first middle-grade novel, [Colleen Nelson] is able to grab the reader's heartstrings while blending a dog story with an intergenerational relationship and embedding profound reflections on the Depression and the Dust Bowl. It's a complete package as Harvey's, Maggie's and Austin's stories converge, integrated with heart and important messages about connecting with others and forgiveness for mistakes made when scared, hurt or alone."—CanLit for LittleCanadians

"Not only will the reader enjoy learning about Harvey's adventures and whether he will get back to his family, but also about the dust storms, droughts, poverty and difficult lives of those who lived on the prairies during the 1930s. Readers will also learn about how dogs greatly enrich our lives, including the special work done by therapy dogs, and how people often aren’t as they appear. Excellent book for middle-grade readers!"—Toronto.com, "Good novels for older children and teenagers"

"The power of Harvey Comes Home lies in Nelson’s skilled storytelling. Fully drawn characters, including the curious little Westie, are absolutely believable. Her ability to bring history to life for any aged reader makes this book a must read. Delightful illustrations by Tara Anderson add a touch of whimsy to an already 5-star book.”—Sheryl McFarlane, author of Waiting for the Whales

“A joyful and heartrending story of life and love and loyalty…perfect for fifth, sixth and seventh grade classroom novel studies, perfect for teaching the elements of fiction and of human values.”—Books for Kids Blog

“We rated this book: [5/5] I loved Harvey Comes Home because of the feeling and emotion in it….If I had to describe this book in 1 sentence I would say, ‘heartfelt and wonderful.’”—Kids’ Book Buzz, Natalie, Age 9


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Reader Reviews

No Worries for Dog Lovers

You might be surprised how many kids read the ending first because they can't take too much tension--I was and am that kid and have surveyed many of my young readers to find out they are too. So I took great solace in the title which indicates no harm comes to Harvey, the spunky and loving Westie. With very cute illustrations by Tara Anderson and a stunning in-time-for-Christmas red hard cover design by Rebecca Bender, this would make a great read aloud for 8-100 year olds or an independent read for the 9-11 year old animal lover.

The three narrative strands of dog, owner and finder of the lost Westie--combine to give a perspective of the value of seniors and their stories as well as the value of all-accepting pets who inspire self esteem and foster intergenerational friendships.

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