Street child ISBN: 9780435124298
Doherty, Berlie
Published by Heinemann New Windmill, 1995

Jim Jarvis is a street child in the 1860s in London. At the beginning of the story, he has a mother and two sisters. When they are thrown out of their lodgings, his sick mother manages to find a place for the two girls, but she and Jim must go to the workhouse - where she dies. All this is described in sad and graphic detail, as is Jim's escape from the workhouse and all his subsequent sufferings. The sisters have disappeared, and Jim is quite alone. He is helped by a friend of his mother - a whelk street crier - and in return, he dances to draw a crowd to her wares. But her cruel father sells him to a man on a coal barge who works him almost to death. When he escapes from this situation, he is on the streets, where he befriends Shrimps, a boy he has known in his dancing days. Shrimps is very ill, and though Jim does his best, he dies. Soon after, Jim goes to Dr. Barnardo's ragged school, and Dr. Barnardo, touched by the plight of London's homeless children, opens a home for Jim and others like him. The story is true and is brought alive superbly.
Age: 10+