Review of Sanctuary: Kip Tiernan and Rosie’s Place, the Nation’s First Shelter for Women

Sanctuary: Kip Tiernan and Rosie’s Place, the Nation’s First Shelter for Women
by Christine McDonnell; illus. by Victoria Tentler-Krylov
Primary, Intermediate    Candlewick    40 pp.    g
3/22    978-1-5362-1129-0    $18.99

Growing up during the Great Depression, young Kip Tiernan saw her grandmother open their home to those in need, handing out food, shoes, and other items to “good men who have come upon hard times.” As an adult, she worked for Warwick House in Boston, a service organization and shelter. “At that time, shelters were only for men. Women had to disguise themselves to get a meal and a bed.” Tiernan began to fight for women experiencing poverty and homelessness (“Again and again, she heard this answer: homelessness isn’t a women’s problem”). Finally, in 1974, she was able to open Rosie’s Place, the country’s first shelter for women, still in operation today. McDonnell’s straightforward and informative text incorporates well-chosen quotes that further demonstrate her subject’s iron-willed determination, questioning of the status quo (“Who decides who gets the condo and who gets the cardboard box?”), active listening, and deep empathy (“The face of homeless women is our face. She is our mother, our sister, our daughter and she deserves more than three hots and a cot”). Tentler-Krylov’s (Building Zaha, rev. 3/21) watercolor and digital illustrations, featuring soft colors and rounded edges, emit warmth and beautifully depict the healing power of human connection. Appended notes (including sources) tell more about Tiernan’s life and times and explain some of the structural causes behind homelessness.

From the March/April 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons University and a BA from Oberlin College.

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