Leaving Home: Stories

Leaving Home: Stories

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by Hazel Rochman, Darlene Z. Mccampbell

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Leaving home for the first time is a rite of passage. Fifteen of the most respected authors of our time contribute their perspectives to this masterfully crafted anthology. From fear to desire, joy and hope, the mixed emotions that accompany each journey—physical and metaphysical—are conveyed in a manner that both stimulates the mind and satisfies the


Leaving home for the first time is a rite of passage. Fifteen of the most respected authors of our time contribute their perspectives to this masterfully crafted anthology. From fear to desire, joy and hope, the mixed emotions that accompany each journey—physical and metaphysical—are conveyed in a manner that both stimulates the mind and satisfies the heart.

Everyone eventually goes on a journey.

"I remember packing a suitcase and carrying it out to the kitchen, standing very still for a few minutes, looking carefully at the familiar objects all around me. The old chrome toaster, the telephone, the pink and white Formica on the kitchen counters. The room was full of bright sunshine. Everything sparkled. My house, I thought. My life. I'm not sure how long I stood there, but later I scribbled out a short note to my parents."
What I said, exactly, I don't recall now. Something vague. Taking off, will call, love Tim."
—from On the Rainy River by Tim O'Brien

You leave home and undergo trails and rites.

"The minute I walked in and the Big Bozo introduced us, I got sick to my stomach. It was one thing to be taken out of your own bed early in the morning—it was something else to be stuck in a strange place with a girl form a whole other race."
— from "Recitatif" by Toni Morrison

You come back form the journey transformed.

"I felt growing light, I rose up into the air and flew out the window. Higher and higher, above the alley, over the tops of tiles roofs, where I was gathered up by the wind and pushed up toward the night sky until everything below me disappeared and I was alone."
— from Rules of the Game by Amy Tan

We leave home to find home.Here is an unusual collection of short stories, from a variety of distinguished writers from different cultures and different viewpoints, that explores the turning point in every adolescent’s life when he or she is forced to take that first step away from home, family, and the known. From personal tales of unwed mothers, arranged marriages, and divorcing parents, to stories about refugees and war resistance, Leaving Home paints a canvas of universal experience for teen-age readers, and includes stories by Tim Wynne-Jones, Sandra Cisneros, Gary Soto, and many others.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This collection of stories from 15 contemporary writers includes work by Amy Tan, Toni Morrison, Gary Soto and Tim Wynne-Jones. "Conjuring individual dreams of escape or refuge, these selections cast different spectrums of light on significant turning points," said PW in a starred review. Ages 12-up. (May)
Children's Literature - Donna Freedman
This excellent anthology of stories and poetry isn't always about leaving home literally. Sometimes, they're about "leaving" in the sense that what was once set in stone is no longer quite as absolute. This rich collection features acclaimed writers such as Toni Morrison, Amy Tan, Sandra Cisneros, Gary Soto, Tim O'Brien and the late Allan Sherman. The writing is top-notch, and the focus is on life-changing events that will give young readers plenty to think about. Recommended for young adults-but parents and teachers should read the book first, because it will generate discussions about the meaning of life, and of leaving.
The ALAN Review - Gary D. Schmidt
As they have in two other anthologies, Rochman and McCampbell comine here to edit stories and poems around a single, common YA theme: leaving a safe, secure home to achieve maturation. The editors bring together pieces that show many variations on that single theme, with all of the stories working individually to show the difficulties of establishing one's own identity, but also resonating with each other to show the many sides of leavetaking in different cultures. The impressive list of authors and stories includes Amy Tan's tale of a young girl's hurt and confusion as she breaks away from her family's controlling influence, Norma Fox Mazer's story of a young Jewish girl leaving Poland behind to forge a new and unexpected life in America, Tim Wynne-Jones' heartening tale of a young boy in the midst of divorce, and the concluding piece, Toni Morrison's "Recitatif," dealing with a reevaluation of the meaning of a past incident. The editors have varied the tones, the music, the voices, and the meanings of the pieces, which provide both humorous and heartbreaking stories of the meaning of adolescence.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 UpThis collection of poems and stories about the journey away from the shelter and innocence of childhood into the world of one's own creation is multicultural in the best sense. Thoughtfully and with compassion, it challenges and broadens readers' ideas and perceptions by exploring the theme from a multitude of viewpoints. Brief biographical sketches of the writers give enough information to lead readers to their other works. Selections include Sandra Cisneros's short feminine look at power in "Beautiful & Cruel," Amy Tan's vivid tale of a genius chess wizard and her intricate relationship with her mother in "Rules of the Game," Tim O'Brien's agonizing memoir of his struggle to decide whether or not to emigrate to Canada in "On the Rainy River" and, finally, Toni Morrison's haunting "Recitatif," in which the narrator tells of a childhood friendship that symbolizes much more. Each piece adds to readers' understanding of the topic and of themselves in relation to where they have begun. None of the pieces is irrelevant or fluff. This title will be valuable to classrooms that need a multitude of levels of reading difficulty or to teachers wanting to trigger discussions, but mostly it will encourage readers to think and examine their own lives, and the choices made by those around them.Carol A. Edwards, Minneapolis Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
A bus trip or first day of school, a new crop to pick or a war to fight—all require a separation from family, a leaving—the thematic heart of this emotional, eclectic anthology of short stories, poems, and excerpts.

Runaways, strays, castoffs, and foster kids inhabit these previously published pieces about initiation into adulthood—each an unglamorous, everyday hero's journey of sorts. A bus ride offers solace from a stranger in "Dawn," by Tim Wynne-Jones, and provides an invitation of self-discovery in Annette Sanford's "Trip in a Summer Dress." A five-year-old, "full up with anger and scaredness," learns a life-giving dance in Vickie Sears's "Dancer." Whatever the circumstance, each work involves a severing of the umbilical cord of youth—a child or teenager thrown out of the safety of family, left to chance and fate. Excerpts from the adult works of Sandra Cisneros, Amy Tan, Toni Morrison, and Tim O'Brien add a cast of characters whose sophisticated insights stretch beyond the typical scope of stories for YAs. But every piece stands alone as a sharp slice of character, setting, and feeling. Rochman and McCampbell (Bearing Witness, 1995, etc.) have created not a standard first-kiss, coming-of-age road map, but a mosaic of uniquely shaped, cross- cultural perspectives written with grit and grace, leaving readers with the satisfying sense that something shattered has been pieced back together.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.54(d)
880L (what's this?)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

I was hoping to be happy by seventeen.
School was a sharp check mark in the roll book,
An obnoxious tuba playing at noon because our team .'
Was going to win at night. The teachers were
Too close to dying to understand. The hallways,
Stank of poor grades and unwashed hair. Thus,
A friend and I sat watching the water on Saturday,
Neither of us talking much, just warming ourselves
By hurling large rocks at the dusty ground
And feeling awful because San Francisco was a postcard
On a bedroom wall. We wanted to go there,
Hitchhike under the last migrating birds
And be with people who knew more than three chords
On a guitar. We didn't drink or smoke,
But our hair was shoulder length, wild when
The wind picked up and the shadows of
This loneliness gripped loose dirt. By bus or car,
By the sway of train over a long bridge,
We wanted to get out. The years froze
As we sat on the bank. Our eyes followed the water,
White-tipped but dark underneath, racing out of town.

Leaving Home. Copyright � by Hazel Rochman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Hazel Rochman is an assistant editor at ALA Booklist, where she reviews books for children and young adults. Her previous book for HarperCollins, Somehow Tenderness Survives: Stories of Southern Africa, was listed as a 1988 Best Book for Young Adults (ALA) and as a 1989 Book for the Teen Age (NY Public Library). Darlene Z. Campbell is an English teacher at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. Both Ms. Campbell and Ms. Rochman live in Chicago.

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4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Draft #2 English November 2000 ¿On The Rainy River¿ What does patriotic duty mean to you? You¿ve just been accepted to Harvard, one of the country¿s premier academic institutions, when your draft notice arrives, calling you to prepare to defend you country, and the democracy that has been so good to you. What do you do? Tim O¿Brien answers these question and many more with wonderful detail and a great voice in his personal journey ¿on The Rainy River¿. O¿Brien¿s ¿On The Rainy River¿ is an awe inspiring true-life story that¿ll have you very involved with the great detail and voice. Tim O¿Brien incorporates great word choices. Like ¿ferocious silence¿, ¿blood shower¿, and ¿Physical rupture-a-cracking-leaking-popping¿. Details like ¿Elroy Berdahl: eighty-one years old, skinny, and shrunken, and mostly bald.¿ and ¿Inside me, in my chest, I felt a terrible squeezing pressure.¿ these statements kept me wanting more. I wondered, what in Elroy Berdahl¿s life could make him so quiet but yet heard! He seemed so stern in his way, so sure of himself. What could have shaped a man this way? I also believe O¿Brien to have a great voice in this story. It was so outstanding I myself could feel what he was recounting. Statements such as ¿The emotions went from outrage to terror to bewilderment to guilt to sorrow and then back again to outrage.¿ ¿I felt a strange sharpness, almost painful, a cutting sensation, as if his gaze were somehow slicing me open.¿, and ¿And so I sat in the bow of the boat and cried.¿ That made me feel and understand the main character. The statement, ¿I felt a strange sharpness, almost painful, a cutting sensation, as if his gaze were somehow slicing me open.¿ is similar to the way I feel when sitting across from one single person in a situation such as a job interview. I am sure that if you were to read ¿On The Rainy River¿, you too would appreciate what a magnificent and thought provoking story it is. I would urge anyone to read it. I believe that all can relate O¿Brien¿s story about his true-life decision. In this story, O¿Brien has a magnificent voice that is easily read and understood. He uses very descriptive words and fantastic detail. I would encourage anybody who likes to read to pick up this story and read it. Once started you would not put it down.