by Cynthia Voigt

Paperback, 1983



Local notes

PB Voi




Fawcett Juniper (1983), 384 page. $4.99.


Abandoned by their mother, four children begin a search for a home and an identity.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

384 p.; 6.95 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member rachelellen
This was, I believe, the second novel Cynthia Voigt wrote, and the first she had published. But I could have those reversed. Especially for a first novel, it's an amazing accomplishment. You meet the Tillerman family, who will be with you in six other books, and for the rest of your life in other
Show More
ways. Voigt's characters are so real that you expect to look up and see them sitting in the room with you when you put the book down -- which is frequently very hard to do, and as soon as you're done, you want to move on to the next one. This first novel in the Tillerman saga introduces you to four children, Dicey, James, Maybeth, and Sammy, who are abandoned by their (schizophrenic?) mother en route to their great-aunt's house. This happens in the first chapter; the rest of the novel follows their journey (mostly on foot) first to the aunt's house and then from Connecticut to Maryland, where they wind up with a very real, very spirited, very conflicted grandmother. Kid-lit like this is definitely not just for kids.
Show Less
LibraryThing member CBJames
Homecoming by Cynthia Voight is the story of four children on their own. The oldest, Dicey Tillerman who is still young enough to pass as a boy when she needs to, leads her three siblings on a cross country journey in search of a home. They must face this journey alone after their unstable mother
Show More
abandons them in a car outside of a large shopping mall while on the way to the home of their great aunt. She never returns.

It's clear that Dicey has been covering for their mother for some time. She immediately takes charge of the situation, keeping the younger children in line, dividing tasks between herself and her brother James who's just a year or so younger than she is. Dicey hopes that their mother will return as soon as this latest spell is over, but she also fears that the police will find them and separate them. She wants her mother back, but even more than that she wants to keep her family together. So when it begins to get dark and her mother still has not returned, she decides to abandon the car and walk to their great aunt's house, though it's a trip that will take several weeks and they have just over ten dollars between them.

What follows is a terrific survival story. Ms. Voight knows what she is talking about here. The details of how the children survive, earn money, get food, find shelter and eventually find their great aunt's home are completely realistic. (If you had to run away from home with only a few dollars to you name in 1981 when the book was written this book could have been your field guide.) There are no flights of fancy here, no unexplained or surprise rescuers, no helpful coincidences that appear out of no where to save the day. Dicey is simply too determined to fail. Her siblings recognize this and stick to her side through thick and thin. She does not disappoint them.

Homecoming is more or less officially a young adult novel, but it should be seen as a young adult novel in the same sense that To Kill a Mockingbird is a young adult novel. Put a more sophisticated cover on it, take off the references to the Newberry Medal and you have a novel about children written for all audiences. Ms. Voight never talks down to her audience, never makes things easy for them, but she does write a compelling tale. All of the characters, even the minor ones, are as richly drawn as any you'll find in an "adult" novel. Motivations are complicated here. People try to do the right thing by each other only to find both the giver and the receiver of charity are too complicated to make even the most generous act go smoothly. It's not that no good deed goes unpunished, but no good deed is easy to swallow.

One thing that sets Homecoming above other novels like this is that once the children find a home, their great aunt's house, they also find that it is not really what they were looking for. Most writers would end their stories at the doorstep of their destination with a happy and satisfying reunion. Ms. Voight could have done so and still had an excellent novel. Instead, Dicey, her sister and her brothers find they have such a difficult time fitting in that they must consider taking to the road again, this time to look for the grandmother they never knew, one whom their mother rarely had a kind word for.
Show Less
LibraryThing member francescadefreitas
This story of the Tillerman kids, abandoned by their mother in a carpark, was gripping from the first page. Thirteen-year-old Dicey immediately sees that they have to avoid notice, so the four siblings won't be taken into custody and split up. She has a few dollars, an address, and a family to hold
Show More
together, until they can find their mother again.
The sibling's trip is exciting, and enough to keep the pages turning rapidly - by the time they reach Great Aunt Cilla's house, I really cared about each character so much that the moments of their lives were more engrossing than the action.But things continued to be hair raising after they reach Cilla's - it was great to read something as evenly divided between action and mystery.
I was often reminded of the V.C. Andrews books I read a long time ago - just the determination of the family to stay together, not the incesty bits. And that family gothic staple of madness running in a family, and the family trying and failing to outrun it. I will be eagerly reading my way through the rest of the books in this series.
I'd give this to readers who like gritty family stories, urban adventure stories, stories about runaways, and to any lingering VC Andrews fans, as an example of a well written and intelligent family gothic.
Show Less
LibraryThing member foggidawn
Dicey, James, Maybeth, and Sammy Tillerman's momma left them in the car while she went into a shopping mall. They were on their way from Provincetown, Massachusetts to Bridgeport, Connecticut, to stay with a relative. But the hours passed, and Momma never came back. Dicey knew that she had to do
Show More
something -- something to keep the family together. If she went to the police, would they be split up and sent to foster homes? It was a risk she didn't want to take. So, Dicey and her younger siblings set out on the long walk to Bridgeport, hoping that Momma would somehow find her way there. But even Bridgeport may not be the home they had hoped for, and their journey might take them even further away, to Crisfield, Maryland, and the grandmother they didn't even know they had.

I've loved this series for years. The story of the Tillerman family is so rich, so bittersweet. Voigt just nails it on so many levels: the interactions between the characters, the way she describes the hardships of the journey without ever making the story drag, the descriptions of food and music and simple pleasures. This is a book that I can revisit again and again.
Show Less
LibraryThing member cwagoner
307/402 pages read, The book is about four kids who were left behind with no one watching after them. They go looking for releatives to live with, any way for them to just settle down. The main character is Dicey, who is the oldest sister of the four kids who is trying to some what take the place
Show More
of their mom since she can no loner be around. She is a real leader for her age, she seems nice and caring but she can be tough when she needs to be to stick up for her family. She is a hard worker and someone who has a good head on their shoulders and knows what she is trying to do. There were alot of times when dicey made decisions that i would have done as well. Also when she watchs out for her family, I know that I would do the same if it were me and my sister. The one thing that i didnt like most about this book was that it started to get boring which is why I lost interest and ended up not finishing the book. I would recomend this book to someone who enjoys reading the fews of a early teen. Not like what they think about clothes or girls/boys but how the act in a time of crisis.
Show Less
LibraryThing member silentq
I've read Dicey's Song and enjoyed already, and when I spotted this book at the store, I grabbed it, as it's the prequel. Dicey's mom leaves the four kids in the car in a parking lot in CT, and disappears. Dicey has to get her two brothers and her sister to a new home, so they set off walking.
Show More
She's 13, can read a map, and is determined to take care of her siblings. It's the sort of book that if I read it as a kid, I probably wouldn't have day dreamed so much about running away, it's hard to keep yourself fed and sheltered and out of trouble if you're not an adult. The kids encounter some helping hands along the way, and some adults that want to bend them to their own ends, but all along the spectre of their mom's behaviour haunts them. It was neat getting the details of their journey, the family is made up of compelling characters, I enjoyed reading this part of their story, too.
Show Less
LibraryThing member readingrat
A heart-warming story about 4 abandoned children bonding together during their search for a new home.
LibraryThing member MissReadsALot
I thought this book was really good, but depressing at the same time. I love this author and hope to read the rest of this series.
LibraryThing member mhg123
13-year-old Dicey and her three siblings are abandoned by their mentally ill mother in the parking lot of a mall in Connecticut. It's the middle of summer and they only have $14. Since they were all originally on their way to stay with a "rich" aunt in Bridgeport, CT, Dicey decides to continue on
Show More
foot. Unfortunately, They are miles away from their destination. When they finally arrive in Bridgeport, the aunt has died and they are left in the care of a rather odd cousin. The journey doesn't end there. A story of survival and perserverance in the face of adversity.
Show Less
LibraryThing member msmalnick
I have such a soft spot for this book. It stands out as my favorite from the early teen years. Can't say why, as I truly can't relate to 4 kids who are all on their own, but I just love it.
LibraryThing member brittneywest
I remember reading this book in the 4th grade. After rereading the book, all the memories I had began to come back to me. The book is a Tillerman series that focues on the lives of Dicey Tillerman and her struggle to take care of her siblings after her mother abandones them in a shopping mall
Show More
parking lot. The children set out to find their mother and sturggles to find places to live and food to eat on their journey. They find a cousin and live their for a brief moment and then leave in hopes of finding their mother. Eventually, they find their maternal grandmother- a woman who is very selfish and stuck in her own ways. She finally realizes to love and care for her grandchildren.
Show Less
LibraryThing member cabinmn
4 children abandoned by mother travel to a relative with $9.00 and a few clothes. Traveling across country with only an address. Big sister, Dicy, keeps the family together by becoming a mother figure. Good mystery as how to get to Conn. Kept me rivoted on what would happen next.

Fictional story of
Show More
four children who lived in abandoned by Mom. They had an address in Bridgeport, Conn. for an Aunt they'd never met. Great mystery as to how they'd get to Bridgeport from Providencetown.
Show Less
LibraryThing member mybookshelf
Dicey is thirteen. She can dimly remember her father, though James, Maybeth, and Sammy, her three younger siblings, can not. When their mother leaves them in a car park at the mall and forgets to come back, Dicey decides that, rather than involve Social Services, she will look after her family
Show More
herself. With just an address to aim for, the four children set off on foot across the state to try to find some relatives to take care of them.

Initially, looking at the map, Dicey estimates it will be a few days’ walk to Bridgeport, where they are hoping that an aunt they’ve never met will be able to give them news of their mother. But after they have walked a day or two, they realise the incredible difference between walking and driving, and that it will take weeks to reach their uncertain destination.

There are people who offer assistance to Dicey and her family, but mostly they must operate by themselves. However as a family unit they are inseparable, and each sibling is tolerant of the others’ imperfections: Dicey can be bossy, Maybeth is painfully shy around strangers, Sammy is selfish (like all six-year-olds) and James is a bit of a know-it-all. As they continue to co-operate, the family become increasingly aware of how important they each are to each other.

Of course, one of the children’s primary concerns is food. Their mother had told them they were going to visit Aunt Cilla in Bridgeport, and packed a few sandwiches each for the car journey. After Momma abandons them, the children have only a little pocket money between them, which is quickly used up. Then, as Dicey quickly realises, they have no way to get food without money, and children have very few ways of obtaining money without family assistance.

The children do not know why their mother has left them. They do not know whether she will come back, or whether she might even be dead. The older two children, Dicey and James, begin to wonder whether there is something not quite right about their family, and whether madness can be inherited.

This is a story primarily about family relationships. Dicey is a well-developed character, with many conflicting emotions which make her seem very real to the reader. I would recommend this story to readers who enjoy the idea of making decisions for themselves, or who are interested in life in America.
Show Less
LibraryThing member rustedharmony
Dicey Tillerman and her three other siblings, James, Sammy, and Maybeth are abandoned in a mall parking lot by their mother. With their mother and father gone from their lives, they decide to set off to their Great-aunt Cilla, who lives all the way in Bridgeport, miles away. With only a map and a
Show More
few dollars, the four Tillermans cross through cities and scrape up pennies and jobs. When they finally get to Cilla's house, they realize she had died so they live with her daughter, Cousin Eunice.Even with a proper home and guardian, the children aren't satisfied with Eunice, a woman who thinks she's only doing a duty and doesn't really want them. Once again, they're off, this time to the only family member they know is left. In Maryland, their grandmother, Abigail Tillerman, lives in an old farm by Chesapeake Bay. Full of hope, the Tillermans make their way to their grandmother. Finally, they know this is the right place.

I have this book myself and I have worn it out by reading it so much. I enjoyed it very well. I loved the details and trickery these children had to con their way into getting across states. I love reading how these small children would fight with each other. I think they were really brave.

An expansion could be to write about visiting at a family members house. Another expansion can be to draw a family portrait.
Show Less
LibraryThing member wenxin
"Homecoming" was my favourite book in my early teens. Diecy and her siblings are abandoned by her mother in a car. She leaves her home to somewhere far where her grandmother stays. The story tells how they survive through their journey, almost penniless. It was very appealing to me when I read it 6
Show More
years ago, perhaps stories of family relationships are always very heartwarming.
Show Less
LibraryThing member lycomayflower
Best book I've read so far this year (I know: February 1 means that's not saying a lot, but I bet it's still in the top five come December 31). This young-adult book is the first in Voigt's Tillerman Cycle, and it follows the Tillerman children's journey from Connecticut to Maryland. When their
Show More
mother disappears, leaving thirteen-year-old Dicey, ten-year-old James, nine-year-old MayBeth, and six-year-old Sammy alone in the family car, the Tillermans must decide what to do. Dicey takes charge of the family and leads them first to Bridgeport, Connecticut, where she knows an aunt lives, and then, when the aunt makes noises about not being able to keep all four kids, on to Crisfield, Maryland, and an unknown grandmother . This journey is made mostly on foot, and the book chronicles the ins-and-outs of life on the road for four children with almost no money. They meet quite a few people along the way--mostly kind and helpful strangers--but the focus is always on the family and what they learn about themselves, each other, and life. As most of Voigt's books do, Homecoming makes the details of everyday chores fascinating and provides character studies that would rival those in adult literary fiction. Never sappy or sentimental and serious without ever being depressing. Recommended.
Show Less
LibraryThing member dlmann
Written in first person, Dicey and her three siblings are abandoned by their mother. Dicey, who is 14years old, leads the children to a cousins home where she fears they will be separated.When this does not work out, Dicey then leads her siblings on another journey to find their grandmother and
Show More
ultimately their home.
Show Less
LibraryThing member prpl_reader_services
First of the Tillerman series, this is the story of eldest child Dicey and her siblings James, Maybelle and Sammy. The book opens with their mother leaving them in a mall parking lot, and we follow them as they set out to figure out where their mother is. They encounter many challenges along the
Show More
way, and also meet several meet family they never knew.
Show Less
LibraryThing member justablondemoment
I really had a hard time with this book. It was slow moving to me and my attention kept wandering. I also had a hard time accepting that these very young children were going cross country on foot with no money and even though they were hungry most of the time they never got into trouble or got
Show More
caught or with the exception of the one farmer never really had any bad incidents. In other words it didn't feel real. Makes me shudder to think that there would be young people out there who would read this and go the route of the Tillerman children instead of going to a church or some other establishment for help. In todays world children that young doing what this book lays out ..they would food for the wolves.
Show Less
LibraryThing member ALelliott
Voigt, Cynthia. Homecoming. NY: Atheneum. 1981.

Never before have I read a classic children’s story that felt so fresh and relatable as this one. Cynthia Voigt has crafted a novel with such an exciting plot, empathetic characters, and universal themes that I couldn’t put it down. In this story,
Show More
the four Tillerman children lose their mother when she abandons them in a mall parking lot. The oldest, Dicey, realizes that their mother is profoundly mentally ill, and decides to take charge of her younger siblings and march them to Aunt Cilla’s house, hundreds of miles away in Connecticut. On their journey, they encounter many characters, some helpful, some frightening, and they learn some hard lessons about resilience and perseverance.

This is a typical quest story, only the children aren’t seeking treasure or glory, but simply a place of belonging. Every child can relate to that need to belong and feel at home, even if it isn’t on the same epic scale as the Tillermans. Kids will also enjoy reading this book for the tightly crafted plot, to see if the Tillermans survive their journey, and to find out what they will gain at the end.

Even though this novel was written in 1981, its theme that growing up is like being on a quest will resound for today’s readers.

For ages 10 and up.
Show Less
LibraryThing member alanpan
an awsome adventure of kids lost but found there way to their aunts house.
LibraryThing member laytonwoman3rd
Dicey Tillerman, aged 12, and her younger siblings find themselves abandoned by their mother in a car in a mall parking lot. They were supposed to be traveling as a family from their home in Providence, RI, to their Mom's Aunt Cilla's home in Bridgeport, CT, when Mom announced that she needed to
Show More
stop at a mall, and would be right back. Times had been tough with no father at home, but Aunt Cilla would surely help them out...that was the reason for the trip. When Mom did not return to the car after most of a day and a night, Dicey took matters into her own hands, and decided that going on to Bridgeport was the only option they had. With a map, very little money, and a lot of determination, she resolved to keep her brothers and sister together, and get them to Aunt Cilla's...on foot. Voigt is a marvelous storyteller, a masterful problem solver, and a genius at creating separate personalities for four remarkable little humans. If she didn't walk most of the children's route from Providence to Bridgeport herself, I'd be very surprised. As unlikely to succeed as her protagonists' endeavor seems (and it probably would not be possible in 2022, as it may have been in the late 1970s when the story is set), she made a believer out of me. One or two tiny quibbles with factual situations that I question the legitimacy of, but nothing that would swamp the entire enterprise. The ending was as good as it could be, without a scrap of sentimental BS (but I might have almost shed a little tear) I absolutely loved this book.
Show Less
LibraryThing member SeriousGrace
Picture yourself as a teenager with three younger siblings. What would you do if your mother left all of you in a car in a mall parking lot to never came back? Dicey Tillerman faces that dilemma after she realizes her mother has been "shopping" way too long. A full night and day too long. Looking
Show More
back on the events leading up to this abandonment, Dicey understands her mother had been planning this escape from her children carefully, almost deliberately. Making them memorize the address to their great-aunt's house; packing them bag lunches. The days before her departure were full of signs Dicey somehow missed or didn't want to believe. Now, armed with bag lunches and a few dollars, she must protect her little family of siblings. Shepherding them along country backroads, hiding in bushes, camping on deserted beaches, and scrimping and saving only to buy the bare necessities, Dicey navigates her way down the coast of Connecticut from Peewauket, Massachusetts to their great-aunt's house, hoping mother will be there. This is an all-too-real tale of a mother overwhelmed by life. Her children are fighters, though. Each child will warm your heart with their various personalities.
Show Less
LibraryThing member elenaj
This is that rare gift - the young adult novel that gets better and better as I get older and reread it. Rich, thoughtful, and poignant.
LibraryThing member HeatherLINC
This was a sweet little book about four young children abandoned by their mother, but unfortunately, it was rather slow and out-dated.




(529 ratings; 4)
Page: 0.8089 seconds