It's really Joe's house.
It was left to him with the instructions that he should use it to help
others. But everyone thinks of it as Keesha's house. She's
the one who finds the kids who need help. She's the one to figure out what
they need and assign rooms. She's the one to offer advice and friendship.
Sometimes it's hard to believe that she's just a kid herself. A kid
in need of a place to live so she can finish school and make something
of herself. Other teens find themselves at Keesha's house.
Some for just a few nights. Some for longer. But one thing
is for sure. They are safe here.
Aunt Annie provided a home
for Joe when he really needed someone to take him in. When Annie dies,
the house becomes Joes. In gratitude, he continues to make the house a
safe place where troubled teens can feel accepted. Keesha is one of those
teens who finds the house Joe provides. She takes on the responsibility
of looking after the teens who find their way to the house, creating a
family atmosphere of love and support. Keesha’s mother is dead. When he
drinks he gets mean and Keesha needs a place to go. Stephie is pregnant
and her boyfriend does not want their baby because he fears it will spoil
their future. She is afraid to tell anyone else about the baby. Dontay
is in foster care because his parents are in prison. Carmen is facing a
judge because she was caught driving under the influence. Harris is gay
and his parents have thrown him out of the house. Katie’s stepfather is
abusive and tries to molest her yet her mother sides with the stepfather.
The stories the teens share are in a poem format. Other characters that
help explain the complicated lives of the teens are a boyfriend, parents,
school personnel, a judge, and a caseworker Oklahoma
Sequoyah Young Adult Book Award nominee, 2005-2006
Introduce the characters featured
by reading a few of the poems from the novel. (Prepared by: Michelle
Williams, SCASL Young Adult