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Giff, Patricia Reilly.
New York : Wendy Lamb, 2002.
ISBN  0385326556 

(6 booktalks)

Booktalk #1

After running away from her last foster placement with the Regan family, twelve year old Hollis Woods is placed with a new foster mother, the loving, retired art teacher, Josie Cahill.  Hollis is a talented artist and her life stories unfold through her pictures.  One revealing picture is the "W" picture Hollis drew for a first grade class assignment on the letter "w".  Hollis drew her Wish, her Want.  She drew a picture of a family.  Hollis had that family in the Regan's, but fear of attachment and motional turmoil caused her to run away.  As Josie's forgetfulness grows worse, Hollis is forced into the role of caretaker.  Through her artwork and her care of Josie, Hollis Woods finds her family.  (New Hampshire Great Stone Face Committee)

Booktalk #2

                    Hollis Woods is a troubled twelve year-old orphan who moves frequently from foster home to foster home.  She moves in with an elderly woman who is a retired artist.  In many ways this is a good placement for Hollis because she has an artistic gift herself.  She learns a great deal about art from the elderly lady and remembers a time with another foster family in which she was truly happy.

                    Living with Josie, Hollis discovers that things are not quite right.  Josie is very absent-minded and forgetful.  She is kind to Hollis and makes her feel good about herself.  Hollis finds herself taking care of Josie instead of Josie taking care of her.  When her social worker discovers this she decides to find another foster home for Hollis.

                    Hollis is forced to make a decision and she includes Josie in her plans.  Hollis must come to terms with her past and realize that making mistakes is normal and that she is not such a bad person after all.  Can she find a way to make a mends for past mistakes?  Will she be able to reunite with the family that she was happy with?  How will she be able to ensure that Josie has the help and support that she needs?  Read Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff to find out.  (Susan Joyner,, University of South Carolina)

Booktalk #3

My name is Hollis Woods.  Iím twelve and Iím a mountain of trouble.  My name is a real place, a place they found me when I was a baby.  An hour old, no blanket, with a scrap of paper that said, ďCall her Hollis WoodsĒ Iíve been in foster care all my life.  Being moved from one family to the next.  I run away sometimes.  I donít go to school.  Kids donít want to play with me.  Donít feel sorry for me because I am tough!

Iím also an artist.  Iíve been happy with the families Iíve been placed with twice.  In my story, The pictures of Hollis Woods I tell all about the time I lived with the Regans and with Josie Cahill.

The Regans, Izzy, her husband, Old Man, and their son, Steven, wanted to adopt me, make me part of the family, the daughter Izzy never had.  I ran away after Steven was critically injured in an automobile wreck that was my fault.  Josie, the retired art teacher, nurtured my love of art but was very forgetful. She was in the beginning stages of dementia and I soon became the caregiver for her.

To read how my life turns out please read my story, The Pictures of Hollis Woods.

Prepared by Ann Lewis for South Carolina Junior Book Award 2005

Booktalk #4

Sometimes we run away from the very things that we desperately want or so it seems for Hollis Woods. What would you do if you made a decision and everything came out all wrong? How would you find your way back? Take a walk with Hollis and see if you can second guess her decisions.  (Jean B. Bellavance for Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Awards, 2004-2005)

Booktalk #5

Left alone at a young age Hollis Woods became the burden of the New York State Social Services.  She ran away from so many foster families that even she had lost count.  After running away from her last placement with the Regan family after a joyous summer, she is placed by the mustard lady with Josie Cahill.  The hope remained that twelve-year-old Hollis with her love for art would match up with the retried art teacher.

Soon Hollis found herself in a place she thought was going to be a happy place.  She found out what people can really mean in her life with Josie.  Josie and her sister Beatrice had shown Hollis what the love of a family could really mean in life.

To avoid the Mustard Lady and Social Services Josie and Hollis run away together to the place that Hollis loves beyond all else.  They spent Christmas together under the watchful eye of a long lost friend.  During the entire time Hollis thinks about the family she lost, and continues to wish and want for a true family.  Will Hollis get her family? (Robert H. King II, Frostburg State University)

Booktalk #6

After 12 year old Hollis Woods ran away from a whole lot of foster homes, she finaly decides that she wants to stay with Josie for awhile just because Josie wants to make a wood figure of Hollis Woods face. She likes Josie because they both love art.  Josie and Hollis decide to go to the ocean and draw and scetch it but I dont want to spoil the book for you.  You have to read the rest of the book to see what happens next. (catelyn, k-12 student)

SUBJECTS:     Family life -- Fiction.
                        Orphans -- Fiction.
                        Artists -- Fiction.
                        Foster home care -- Fiction.
                        Old age -- Fiction.
                        New York (State) -- Fiction.


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