I Don’t Want to Go to Justin’s House Anymore



“Zippy cut-paper collages mitigate the grim subject matter in this well-pitched book about child abuse. Collin doesn’t want to keep his regular play date at his best friend’s house, but he can’t bring himself to divulge his real reasons: “It’s just that [Justin’s father] is not very nice to Justin,” is the closest he can come. Collin’s mother, cheerful and a little too busy, propels him along to Justin’s instead of opening a discussion. “Just try to play quietly and not bother him,” she advises. “I’m sure he’s worried about his job.” While the boys are playing, Justin’s father interrupts to criticize Justin and haul him off for a beating; as he hears Justin crying and both parents screaming, Collin decides to veer from the usual routine (“I know we’ll keep playing like nothing happened. Except that my stomach will keep on feeling sick”). Instead, Collin calls his mother, who picks him up, elicits the full story from him, apologizes, and promises, “I’ll make the call today to someone who can help Justin and his parents.” (The phone number of a national hotline appears in large type on the copyright page.) The story is truthful in its handling of a critical problem and realistically modest in its assurances to readers. Jepson deserves high marks for her crisp art; emphasizing Collin’s relationships and not Justin’s traumas, she keeps the mood bright and promising. Ages 5-12.”

Author: Heather Klassen
Count: 1
Other Resources