This is an extraordinary book, one that can make the needed connection for young children to see human beings as more than their circumstances.

Kirkus Starred Review (US)

The Old Man

The Old Man is a book that matters. Behind its dark topic, it’s a bright book—about children’s non prejudices, generosity, honesty and about hopefulness—that children and adults will love.

Help us putting this book in as many hands as possible: talk about it, recommend it.

Written by Sarah V. and illustrated by Claude  Dubois

Translated by Daniel Hahn

The Old Man Preview


  • Description

    Day breaks over the town. Wake up, everybody! It’s time to go to school. It’s time for the old man to get up, too. The night was icy and he’s hungry. His name? He no longer knows…

    This is the story of a person with no job, no family, no home—a nobody, who can’t even remember his name. But his day changes when he is noticed by a child.

    Drawn in soft, watercolour pencil, this is an important story for our times. This gentle, compelling book will appeal to children’s sense of justice and to every reader’s compassion.


  • Book Details

    Country of Origin France
    Reader Age 5-7 year
    Book Size

  • Reviews

    1. CCBC Choices 2019

      CCBC Annual Best of the Year List – Picture Books for Young Children

  • Reviews

    1. Picture Books Blogger

      If you need an alternative, empathetic view of homelessness, then this is it.

    2. Wow Lit

      The illustrations are most impressive and serve to emphasize each aspect of the story, almost impressionistic as character’s features and details of the setting are never quite clear.

    3. Best 50 Kids Books 2018, The Listener

      On a chilly day, a homeless man wanders lonely through the streets, until a child’s kindness lights up his world. It’s not just the sharing of a sandwich or the smile that unlocks hope, though – her real gift turns out to be much more profound. A picture-book treasure.

    4. Pragmatic Mom

      At the end of the day, he goes to a park where the little girl sees him. She offers him her sandwich, and this act of kindness helps him to feel a part of society again.

    5. Literacy Daily ILA Blog

      The pencil sketches washed with a muted palette that match this quiet story, originally published in France, express the despair of the homeless old man and the difference a small act of kindness makes to him.

    6. Libraries 4 Schools (US)

      The Old Man is truly a lovely book, charming and raw in its honesty. The images will definitely stay with me; they make me want to share this story with anyone and everyone, child and adult, as I believe it is a narrative that we can all learn from.

    7. Beth Southern

      The honest, innocence of children looks at the subject of homelessness in a truly beautiful way. Looking beyond prejudice& someone’s circumstances,demonstrating that empathy & kindness are all that’s needed.

    8. Children’s Books Ireland (UK)

      Young readers will be empowered. A brave, sensitive book, particularly topical in Ireland.

    9. Picture Books Blogger (UK)

      A lesson for us all, this book should be shared far and wide across all age ranges, to increase our understanding and empathy and look beneath the circumstances of the individual.

    10. Public Books (US)

      A sad, spare, yet heartening story about a little girl’s kindness to a homeless man that
      features perfectly judged illustrations reminiscent of New Yorker cartoons but warmed by
      the slightest tint of color.

    11. Kids Book Review

      The Old Man reminds adults that children are pure of heart and they have no prejudices towards other people until they are taught it.

    12. Rachel Eadie for Radio NZ

      This is quite a special book. It’s a beautiful and moving picture book. It has a powerful message and I think it’s got a power to make a difference as well.

    13. Read Plus (AU)

      This gem of understatement stopped me in my tracks and I’m sure it will for everyone as they read of the plight of one homeless old man.

    14. Library Thing (US)

      Drawn in soft, watercolor pencil, this is an important story for our times. This gentle, compelling book will appeal to a child’s sense of justice and to every reader’s compassion.

    15. Pam Norfolk, Black Pool Gazette (UK)

      The subtle, gentle but truthful unfolding of the old man’s day will appeal to a child’s sense of justice and an adult’s sense of compassion.

    16. Walking Brain Cells

      They are shadowy, chilly and seep under the skin like a shiver. An important book about small acts of kindness.

    17. Street Reads via Twitter

      This book is haunting me. I make everyone I meet read it. It’s so important.

    18. Momo Time to Read (NZ)

      On our city streets we see more and more homeless people. Our children see them too. I would hope a book like The Old Man might show adults that kindness counts and give our youngest children a small glimpse into the lives of people who are less fortunate.

    19. Let’s talk Picture Books

      This book is fascinating in so many ways. It’s very sparsely worded for the most part and the text is factual, allowing the illustrations to provide much of the emotional storytelling…Though this is a tough read, it’s a stellar way of showcasing how a little gesture can go a long way.

    20. Kidlit Book Reviews

      Gorgeous illustrations accentuate the moving text of this deceptively simple tale; a poignant look at the world we live in and the beauty of hope that can be seen shining through. An important introduction on poverty, kindness, and gratitude. Keep the Kleenex close for this heartbreakingly beautiful read.

    21. Book Trailers 4 Kids and YA (NZ)

      It is the honesty of a young girl that gives him hope and helps him find a voice. This is truly a beautiful book and an important one to share

    22. Bob’s Book Blog (NZ)

      Do not pass by this book like adults who pass by the old man living on the street who has forgotten his own name….The sadness and reality of homelessness is powerfully brought home in this classy picture book. The illustrations in watercolour and pencil drawings are superb.

    23. Kirkus Starred Review (US)

      This is an extraordinary book, one that can make the needed connection for young children to see human beings as more than their circumstances.

    24. Youth Services Book Review (US)

      There are very few picture books depicting homelessness, and this quiet story about the smalls things one can do to help begins to fill that void.

Available worldwide from your local bookstore or online.

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