Alcock, Vivien. Stranger at the Window. Houghton Mifflin, 1998. ISBN 0-3958-1661- 0. $16.00. 200 pp. B 4+ FI Reviewed by Wendy Bishop Caring for an illegal immigrant can be a scary thing, especially when the grownups don't know. Leslie is staying with her aunt in London when she sees a face in an attic window of the house next door. She soon finds out the children next door are responsible for hiding a young boy who keeps saying in broken English,”They will kill me if I go back.” When the children's mother, an avid campaigner for the less fortunate, finds out about the illegal child she threatens to turn him in to save her husband's job. Leslie agrees to help her friends next door by hiding the boy in her aunt's home. However, she soon finds out how hard it is to house an illegal immigrant, and the story begins to turn deadly. It is soon apparent that the children do not understand all that is involved in keeping their secret. All they feel is compassion for the child. They know about Erri's bad dreams, and that his screaming can get them into a lot of trouble. Your heart will hurt with Leslie, as she sees Erri's loneliness. All of a sudden not having a father does not seem as bad as not having parents at all. In the end, the boy does not return to his homeland, but is sent to a foster home and a family who takes care of him. This is an excellent book to introduce the legalities and risks involved in helping illegal immigrants.
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