A Duet for Home

by Karina Yan Glaser (Author)

A Duet for Home
Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade

From the New York Times bestselling creator of the Vanderbeekers series comes a triumphant tale of friendship, healing, and the power of believing in ourselves told from the perspective of biracial sixth-graders June and Tyrell, two children living in a homeless shelter. As their friendship grows over a shared love of classical music, June and Tyrell confront a new housing policy that puts homeless families in danger.

It's June's first day at Huey House, and as if losing her home weren't enough, she also can't bring her cherished viola inside. Before the accident last year, her dad saved tip money for a year to buy her viola, and she's not about to give it up now.

Tyrell has been at Huey House for three years and gives June a glimpse of the good things about living there: friendship, hot meals, and a classical musician next door.

Can he and June work together to oppose the government, or will families be forced out of Huey House before they are ready?

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Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review
A powerful, heartwarming, and thoughtful tale of kids cultivating chosen families during challenging circumstances.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

Following the unexpected death of her father, her mother's subsequent retreat into silence, and an eviction, viola-playing June Yang and her Chinese American family move to Huey House, a Bronx shelter for unhoused people. Sixth grader Tyrell, who is Black and Chinese, knows Huey House "better than anyone," having lived there for three years; to atone for a cafeteria prank gone wrong, he offers to help June find a place to secretly practice her forbidden viola. Brief, alternating third-person chapters detail June's struggle to adjust, navigating a lengthy bus commute and her embarrassment about the family's new circumstances, alongside Tyrell's mastery of the shelter's rhythms and inhabitants. When Tyrell overhears a plot by the Huey House director to push families out of the shelter after only 90 days "to see lower homeless numbers," he and June know they must act to save it. Inspired by her years of work in the New York City shelter system, Yan Glaser's (the Vanderbeekers series) bighearted standalone moves quickly through its complex plot without forsaking strong characterizations of Huey House's many staff and residents, concluding with a potent message about the power of direct action. Ages 8-12. Agent: Ginger Clark, Ginger Clark Literary. (Apr.)

Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Readers who love the Vanderbeekers will not be disappointed. Glaser effortlessly interweaves the story lines of two preteens living in a South Bronx homeless shelter. . . .The ending is poignant, focusing on possibility rather than certainty. Friendship, hopes and dreams come together in the final note that Glaser strikes. —Padma Venkatraman—New York Times Book Review
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Clarion Books
Publication date
April 20, 2022

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