Inspiring Young Readers

posted on 11 Nov 2021

The Queen On Our Corner by Lucy Christopher, illustrated by Nia Tudor

On a plot of unused waste ground at the end of her road, a young girl has just become aware of the homeless woman and her dog who sit on a low wall, often day and night, as people walk past her as if she wasn’t there.

The young girl thinks she sits there as if she were the Queen of the road watching over her kingdom and imagines the great battles and journeys this Queen has been involved in.

And the little girl is puzzled by the fact that none of the other adults seem to understand any of this and just want the Queen to leave – but the little girl knows that she has nowhere to go because she has lost her palace.

But the little girl and her mom are kind and thoughtful and take the Queen little gifts of tea and toast and, in return, the Queen tells them great stories of her travels to the deepest forests and the biggest, brightest cities.

And then one night while most people are asleep there’s drama when an accidental fire suddenly engulfs a shop and threatens to spread to other houses in the street. But because the Queen is on the corner and – as the little girl has often seen – she is looking out for their safety, the alarm is raised and tragedy is averted.

The next day the little girl takes the opportunity to tell everyone that it was the Queen without a palace to live in that saved their community and, finally, everyone starts to rally around and help the Queen. First they give her warm blankets but that’s just a short term measure because to show the depth of their real gratitude they all come together to build her a house on the waste ground.

Now the Queen lives in her new home, in her own community and can still keep an eye open for royal battles she might still have to fight.

The author tells us at the end that this is a story inspired by her real life experiences of what can happen when people don’t just walk on by but try to give support to the homeless on the streets. I also know from personal experience that children often get distressed or concerned about the homeless when they see them on the street and its often hard to explain to young ones just what’s happened and why they don’t have a comfortable house like theirs to live in. This story book will go some way to helping children and their parents or teachers discuss some of these things – and to do it from an optimistic perspective rather than a tragic one.

As is usually the case with these wonderful Lantana publications, the artwork for the illustrations plays a key role in the storytelling and Nia Tudors drawings are full of colour and stories of their own that will enhance the core messages of the text from Lucy Christopher. It’s a marvellous package.

The book is available now and can be ordered from your local independent bookstore or you can go directly to the Lantana website and get a copy from there.


Terry Potter

November 2021