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Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly…
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Pictures of Hollis Woods (2002)

by Patricia Reilly Giff

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2,302872,758 (4.1)50
  1. 00
    The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (rbtanger)
  2. 00
    Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons (rbtanger)
    rbtanger: Although Ellen Foster was written with an adult audience in mind and Pictures of Hollis Woods was written for YA, the two books share a common theme as well as being beautifully written. The joy of Hope is central to both.
  3. 00
    Another Place at the Table by Kathy Harrison (meggyweg)
  4. 00
    My Louisiana Sky by Kimberly Willis Holt (meggyweg)
  5. 00
    Returnable Girl by Pamela Lowell (meggyweg)
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Summary: This is a story about a 12-year-old girl named Hollis Woods. She was abandoned in the woods as an infant, and has spent her whole life in foster homes, often running away from them because she feels that she is just a "mountain of trouble." The book jumps back and forth between descriptions of times that have inspired drawings she has done (she's a talented artist) and the present. After running away from her last home, one she had been at for only a couple of months, she is on her way to the next house, all while thinking back on the family she lived with months prior, the Regans. She is placed in a home with a retired art teacher named Josie Cahill. Josie is elderly, eccentric and fun, and Hollis describes her as looking like a Hollywood movie star. Very soon, Hollis grows to love it in her new home, and starts to feel like she might not run away. In the descriptions of her drawings, Hollis remembers her life with the Regans, and throughout the novel it describes how she grew to become part of their family. She describes the father, who she calls "Old Man", the mother Izzy, and their son, Stephen, only a year or so older than Hollis, and they become quick friends. Hollis worried that her presence in the family was causing tension between the Old Man and Stephen, as they fought often and the father constantly compared Stephen to Hollis, who he considered to be the good child. After Hollis finds out the family's plan to adopt her, she plans a solo trip up the mountain behind their home to celebrate. However, she trips and falls and ends up hurting herself. When Stephen realizes she might have been hurt, he drives his father's truck up the mountain to get her. It had been raining though, so on the way down he loses control of the truck and they get in a bad wreck. They are both hurt, Stephen more than Hollis, so she runs to get help. They are taken to the hospital, where Hollis gets stitches and Stephen has broken ribs and a fractured arm. The parents take Hollis home to put her in bed before going back to the hospital. She blames herself for what happened and feels guilty that Stephen will take the blame for it. She leaves them a note telling them the truth and runs away. Back in the present, Hollis realizes that Josie forgets things often, and doesn't seem to take care of herself very well. Josie's cousin goes out of town, leaving Hollis in charge of taking care of Josie. When Hollis' case worker finds out she has been skipping school often, she begins to visit the house for check-ins more often, and notices Josie's forgetfulness as well. The case worker decides she wants to place Hollis in a new home. Hollis decides she needs to run away with Josie to make sure they both stay together. She takes Josie to the Regan's summer home, only miles away from their winter home where Izzy, Old man, and Stephen are staying. She and Josie spend Christmas at the house, where Hollis tries to take care of them both with relatively little during a snow storm, and Josie becomes more and more forgetful. After a while, Hollis realizes how homesick Josie is, and how badly she needs her cousin in her life to help her remember things. Josie presents Hollis with gifts "from Santa" such as her favorite candies that Izzy gave her or her favorite foods that she ate with the Regans. Hollis isn't sure how Josie finds them. Hollis decides that she needs to call Josie's cousin and have her take Josie home and take care of her. She walks to the payphone near the house, and runs into Stephen on a snow mobile. He tells her that he's been watching her at the house and bringing things to her to help them. He wanted to give her time to make the decision to come home on her own. Hollis finally explains to him why she ran away, and he tells her that she was never a problem in the family, and that's just how families interact. Sometimes they fight. She calls Josie's cousin, who immediately decides to come home, and afterwards she calls Izzy and asks if she can finally come home. The book ends on a happy note, with Hollis finally adopted by the Regans, a new baby sister named Christine in the family, and Josie home with her cousin, and Hollis visits often.

Personal Reaction: I love this book. It's heart breaking and heart warming all at once, and I love to see a happy ending for a foster child.

Classroom Extension Ideas:
1. Have students draw their own favorite memories
2. Start a class fundraiser for donations to a Foster organization
3. Discuss Alzheimer's/dementia (in an age appropriate way) ( )
  ClaudiaNormand | Apr 16, 2016 |
This book is not the typical bounced from house to house to house with no resolution book about a foster child. This is a heart--wrenching story of a little girl who was abandoned at birth in Holliswood, and she was left with a note to name her "Hollis Wood." But Hollis isn't just a handful, she's a budding artist, and, from the description of Josie and Beatrice's, along with the Old Man's, opinions, she's a very good one. The Regans, (the Old Man, Izzy, and Steven) genuinely want her to be a part of their family -- a forever family, but she feels that Josie needs her. In fact, she gets Josie to drive to the Regans' summer house to "escape" being placed in another home." But when the "missing child posters" appear on bulletin boards and there's news coverage, it's Steven who realizes where she'd go, and he keeps an eye on her until Josie is in serious danger, and Hollis is walking to the nearest telephone to call her cousin Beatrice to come home from her painting trip. The story ends in true "story book" fashion: Hollis Woods is now Hollis Regan, and she's holding her little sister Christina with her mother, father, and big brother.
There is no question why this book won the Newberry Honor. (My husband and I both think that Avi's book that won isn't nearly the book that Hollis Woods is.) When I reading this, I immediately thought of past and present students who are "in the sytem." You don't know when they're coming, and you don't know when they're going -- but then again, neither do they.
This book is a fairly quick read, with threads of time running back and forth, but definitely a "must read." ( )
  Librarian09 | Feb 15, 2016 |
Add on to book description: Hollis Woods always ends up running away from her foster homes, even from the Regans, the one family who wanted to adopt her. Now she's been sent to live with Josie, an elegant, elderly lady who's an artist, just like Hollis. Hollis comes to grow fond of Josie but Josie is getting older and more forgetful, an Hollis knows that eventually Social Services will take Josie away and put her with some other family. So Hollis makes a plane... to pack up the car an escape with Josie so no one can ever find them.
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
This was a touching story about hope, love and the meaning of family. I loved orphaned Hollis, she was such a sweet, caring young girl who just wanted to belong. Overall, a beautifully written novel and a wonderful read. ( )
  HeatherLINC | Jan 23, 2016 |
A narrative unfolds in a series photographs. Artsy characters--art lovers would truly appreciate the nuances of the relationship that saves Hollis. Readers will have real emotional responses to what happens to this complex teenage girl needing a family.

( )
  engpunk77 | Aug 10, 2015 |
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Voor Alice Tiernan, die vaak in de Delaware-rivier gaat vissen;
en voor Bill Reilly, die altijd met haar meegaat.
For Alice Tiernan, who fishes in the Delaware River. And for Bill Reilly, who fishes with her
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Follows the story of a Hollis Woods, who was a foster child and moves around a lot. She leaves a place she really likes then finds her way back.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0439692393, Paperback)

Hollis Woods has been in so many foster homes she can hardly remember them all. She even runs away from the Regans, the one family who offers her a home.

When Hollis is sent to Josie, an elderly artist who is quirky and affectionate, she wants to stay. But Josie is growing more forgetful every day. If Social Services finds out, they’ll take Hollis away and move Josie into a home. Well, Hollis Woods won’t let anyone separate them. She’s escaped the system before; this time, she plans to take Josie with her.

Yet behind all her plans, Hollis longs for her life with the Regans, fixing each moment of her time with them in pictures she’ll never forget.


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:37 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

A troublesome twelve-year-old orphan, staying with an elderly artist who needs her, remembers the only other time she was happy in a foster home, with a family that truly seemed to care about her.

» see all 2 descriptions

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