Orca Book Publishers

Browse by Category

Fiction Picture Book
Pages: 32
Themes: homelessness, poverty, empathy, compassion, family
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: 13/Oct/2020
Bookmark and Share
A child tries to understand the life of a man he has seen sleeping under a bridge. The boy’s mother patiently answers his questions and explains how people’s life paths can be so different. The child observes the things he has in common with the man and wonders where his own path will lead.

The One With the Scraggly Beard is defined by a simple narrative in which a child’s curiosity and perceptiveness act as catalysts for understanding fear, suffering and resilience while exploring themes of homelessness, belonging and compassion. This unique book will speak to children and adults alike. A note from the author explains how the origin of this story is rooted in her own life.

Kirkus Reviews
“A complex topic painted with care and told with empathy.”
CM: Canadian Review of Materials
“A wise and timely tale because young children see what is happening on our streets and wonder why. Withey’s spare text allows the little boy to fill in the spaces as he matures and develops understanding.”
Must Read Literature
“[A] sensitive story of family and love…Every elementary library should have this thought provoking book on their shelves. This difficult topic of homelessness is explained well in this narrative.”
Toronto Star
“A powerful book…Models what respect and human dignity looks like for all community members.”


Notable Social Studies Trade Book  | 2021 | Commended
CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens  | 2021 | Commended
Shining Willow Award  | 2021 | Short-listed
BC Books for BC Schools  | 2021 | Commended

Resources for Teachers:

Orca Book Publishers produces a number of tools and resources to help teachers, librarians, reading specialists and other education professionals enrich the teaching and learning experience.

Please visit our Teacher Resources page to access and download materials.

Classroom Materials:

Free Teacher Guides

Digital Subscriptions

Resource Websites

Research and Support Materials:

Common Core

Reading Levels

You might also be interested in:

Swimming With Seals
By (author): Maggie De Vries   Illustrated by: Janice Kun
The Silence Slips In
By (author): Alison Hughes   Illustrated by: Ninon Pelletier