Project Description


The House on Dirty-Third Street

by Jo S. Kittinger
illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez

A mother and daughter turn a hopeless old house into a loving family home with faith, hard work, and the support of their community.

When a girl and her mother are forced to start over, they find themselves feeling isolated and defeated. Longing for their former neighborhood and friends, and overwhelmed by the repairs their new house needs, they finally realize they can’t do everything alone – the only way to make things better is to ask for help. They both learn that when you reach out to the community, people answer with kindness. As the house gets rebuilt, so does their sense of belonging.

Stunning illustrations from Thomas Gonzalez, New York Times best-selling illustrator of 14 Cows for America, give the backdrop to Jo Kittinger’s inspiring story that reveals how communities are created—or recreated—when people work together. The House On Dirty-Third Street will touch the heart of anyone who has faced starting over in difficult circumstances.

Format: Hardcover
Price: $16.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-619-2
Publication Date: 3/1/12
Page Count: 32
Size: 10-3/8″ x 9-3/8″
Age Range: 4 – 8
Language: English
AR Level: 3.2
F&P: GRL N, Gr 3, Genre RF
Lexile: AD600L
Themes: Beauty, Belief, Community, Home, Moving
BISAC 1: JUV039220 JUVENILE FICTION / Social Issues / Values & Virtues
BISAC 2: JUV023000 JUVENILE FICTION / Lifestyles / City & Town Life
BISAC3: JUV033010 JUVENILE FICTION / Religious / Christian / General


“Here’s a book promoting faith in a light-handed, even practical way without sacrificing one bit of its inspirational power…A low-key, heartening effort that will ring true to many.” ―Booklist

“A tale of generosity, faith and friendship. Share it quietly within and with others.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Jo S. Kittinger’s powerful story of revitalizing a community and believing in a dream will touch the heart of anyone who has faced starting over in difficult circumstances.” ―Midwest Book Review

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“The pastel, colored pencil, and airbrush illustrations capture perfectly the anticipation, hope and discouragement on the face of the mother as well as her joy in finally achieving her dreams–with a lot of help from kind neighbors…” ―Reading Today Online

“I would use this book with elementary-aged students, to remind them about being helpful and optimistic. It could be used in schools, as well, as a foundation for discussions as to how people find their eyes of faith, no matter what their religion.” ―Andi’s Kids Books

The House on Dirty-Third Street is a glimpse into the resiliency of the human spirit…” ―Book Scoops

“This is such a great book, especially for today’s time…I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this book to anyone and everyone. This is my first experience with Peachtree Publishers and definitely not my last.” ―Creative Madness Mama

“By not being too specific, the reader can fill in their own ideas and personalize the story. I also loved the progression of the illustration and how the pictures changed from having a gray, washed out tone to being vibrant and colourful…there’s also a dreamy, misty quality that’s unlike many picture books that I’ve seen…” ―Crowding the Book Truck

“Jo S. Kittinger’s latest book has its roots in religion, but would appeal to anyone. The lessons of community that it teaches are important for those who need help and those who could lend a helping hand…” ―Kids Book Central

“Any child, or adult, can read this, picturing themselves as the characters and claim the story as their own. That is absolutely what a story should do; transform us into the story and let us absorb every word as our own…” ―Kid Lit Reviews

“The artwork in this story is amazing. While the whole book is done in beautiful watercolors, when the book begins we see grays, dark blues, tans and washed-out yellows. But as the story progresses, the colors soon change to bright yellows, bright blues, greens and reds…The message of the book is also shown through the changes in the coloration as the little girl’s faith in her fellow man is brought to life by the help of neighbors and new friends from church.” ―Krazy Karyn’s Books

“The art in this book is amazing! Done with watercolors or maybe diluted inks (from what I can tell) in a semi-realistic style, it compliments the story perfectly. The colors start out muted and washed-out, much like the story itself, and slowly become more and more vibrant reflecting the mood and changes in the emotions of the characters until the last page where we see the once rundown and sad house transformed and full of color.” ―Paper Dreams

“A believable and powerful story about how individuals within a community can offer the kind of help that makes all the difference between coping and quitting. Thomas Gonzalez’s illustrations softly, gently, pull you into the neighborhood, the dirty old house and the beautiful spirit of each person who offers a helping hand…” ―The Pirate Tree

“Overall, reading The House on Dirty-Third Street would be a wonderful opportunity for your child to learn about never giving up, being a beacon of light and hope in a community, and enjoying the reward that comes with good hard work…” ―The Twenty-Six Letter Imagination

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Christopher Award (Books for Young People) ―Christophers, 2013

Social Justice Literature Award ―Literacy and Social Justice Special Interest Group, International Reading Association, 2013

CCBC Choices (Picture Books for School-Age Children) ―Cooperative Children’s Book Center, 2013

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Kansas State Reading Circle Recommended Reading List (Starred, Primary) ―Kansas National Education Association, 2013

Society of School Librarians International Book Awards (Honor Book, Language Arts K-6 picture books) ―Society of School Librarians International, 2012

Carol D. Reiser Book Award for Inspiring Future Volunteers ―Corporate Volunteer Council of Atlanta, 2013

Storytelling World Resource Awards (Winner, Stories for Pre-Adolescent Listeners) ―Storytelling World, 2013

Alabama Camellia Awards (Nominee, Grades 2-3) ―Alabama Department of Education, 2013-2014

Show Me Readers Award (Nominee) ―Missouri Association of School Librarians, 2014-2015

Children’s Gallery Award (Nominee) ―National Christian School Association, 2014-2015

Mockingbird Award (Nominee) ―Abilene Independent School District, 2012-2013

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Meet the Author

Jo S. Kittinger is a graduate of the University of Montevallo and the author of a number of children’s books. You can visit her website here.

Meet the Illustrator

Thomas Gonzalez is an illustrator, designer, and portrait artist. A native of Cuba, Tom came to the United States when he was ten years old. He studied at the Atlanta School of Art (now called Savannah of Art and Design). After working at the Coca-Cola Company for more than twenty years, Tom held several creative positions with other global brands. He has illustrated many picture books, including 14 Cows for AmericaSeven and a Half Tons of Steel, and Countdown. He lives in Georgia. You can visit his website here.