In December of 1929, the Great Depression is beginning to roll across America and so are men, riding trains and looking for jobs. When fourteen-year-old Lisenka Schallert helps her friend Albert serve soup to men in a hobo jungle, she doesn’t suspect that homelessness could soon threaten her own family. In this third book of the series, German-Russian immigrant Lisenka learns the value of trusting God and being generous. She learns to live the Bible passage, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” (Romans 12:12-13) This book is based on historical situations, but is a work of fiction.
Here’s how WHITE begins:
“Lis, I wonder if I am putting you in danger?” Albert stood in our kitchen, stirring a big pot of chicken soup. “I want to help the hobos, but should I take you into the hobo jungle with me?”
A flutter of fear crept down my spine. I ignored it. “Albert, don’t worry about me. I want to help. And that’s that.”
Albert’s smile filled his face. “Having you along does give me confidence. Alright, the soup is hot. Let’s go, Lisenka.”
He handed me a tray of old cups and used a towel to grab the handle of the soup kettle, but when he started toward the front room, I did not follow.
“Please do not call me Lisenka.” I glared at him. “I want my name to sound American. Call me Lis.”
Albert tugged on his hat and sighed. “You have been Lisenka to me since I first met you at the German-Russian prayer meeting almost two years ago.”
“And you were my first friend in Fond du Lac.” I smiled, remembering how Albert had helped me and my family to adjust to a new life in America. “But, please, could you change and call me Lis?”
“Alright, Lis-s-s. Now may I continue walking?” I nodded, my short brown hair swinging back and forth.
Albert hesitated. “It’s important that you don’t talk to anyone. The hobo jungle is close to your house on Brooke Street, and the hobos should not know where you live. They’re hungry and cold, and sometimes desperate. You understand?” Albert stared at me.
My heart beat faster. “Ja.”
He led the way out our front door. I stopped again, not done with arguing. “I’m fourteen years old! What makes you my protector?”
“I’m sixteen,” he said over his shoulder and continued down the street.
I scrambled to catch up, balancing my tray of cups and slipping on the dusting of snow on the gravel street. Albert rounded the corner and headed toward the river. In a few minutes, I skidded to a halt. He was setting the soup kettle on a barrel near the edge of the hobo jungle.
The men had arranged a haphazard camp in a grove of trees. Tucked inside the tangle of trees were old barrels, a scattering of lumber scraps, and cardboard shelters. Several bearded men looked up from their huddled circle around a little fire and scowled at us.
One hobo yelled, “What you kids doing here?” He spat a stream of brown tobacco juice toward us . . .
“WHITE is a sweet story about an important time period in American history. Perfect for children in upper elementary school, it teaches history lesson in a fun and interesting way. The writing is engaging and the characters are charming. If your children loved the Little House books, they’ll love this one.” -Liz Tolsma, bestselling author
WHITE is available for purchase through the author, Northwestern Publishing House, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and xulonpress.com/bookstore