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list price: $12.99
also available: eBook Hardcover
category: Children's Fiction
published: Apr 2021
publisher: Orca Book Publishers

The One with the Scraggly Beard

by Elizabeth Withey, read by Kelly Nakatsuka

tagged: homelessness & poverty, city & town life, emotions & feelings

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.

About the Authors

Elizabeth Withey is a journalist, author and visual artist. She grew up in rural Saskatchewan, reading books borrowed from the Wapiti Regional Library. A former Writer in Residence at Edmonton Public Library and staff writer and columnist at the Edmonton Journal, Elizabeth is now a producer for CBC Radio and lives in Calgary. The One with the Scraggly Beard was inspired by Withey’s son’s experience meeting his uncle, who has been living on the street since 2015.

Kelly Nakatsuka is a former CBC broadcaster and journalist who spends his time these days as a father, husband, concert promoter and counseling therapist in Victoria, British Columbia. Kelly loves living and working on the West Coast and is honored and humbled to call the unceded Traditional Territories of the Lekwungen- and Hul’qumi’num-speaking Peoples his home.

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
3 to 5
p to k
Reading age:
3 to 5
  • Short-listed, Shining Willow Award
  • Commended, Notable Social Studies Trade Book
  • Commended, BC Books for BC Schools
  • Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens
Editorial Reviews

“[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.”

— Must Read Literature

“A complex topic painted with care and told with empathy.”

— Kirkus Reviews

“A powerful book…Models what respect and human dignity looks like for all community members.”

— Toronto Star

“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.”

— CM: Canadian Review of Materials

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