Joan Clark
The Word for Home


The Word for Home by Joan Clark
It is 1924. Sadie and her little sister, Flora, are struggling with the challenges of a new school, a new town and a life without their parents. They used to live in Canada, but then their mother died and their father decided to try his luck prospecting for gold in the interior of Newfoundland. With no home of their own, Sadie and Flora must stay in a cold, grim boarding house in St. John’s, owned by the stern Mrs. Hatch.

Sadie tries hard to provide her sister with love and stability, but it’s an uphill struggle. The girls at Bishop Spencer School for Girls are mean to Sadie, partly because she is a foreigner from Canada, and partly because she is smart and does well in her classes. And although she makes a new friend—Teddy, whom she met when her family stayed at the hotel his parents run—theirs is a different kind of friendship, one that Sadie finds difficult to navigate.

Sadie’s world is rocked when her father stops writing to her and, more crucially, stops sending money to Mrs. Hatch. Terrified that something has happened to her father, and well aware she and Flora may be sent to an orphanage, Sadie quickly learns that everything depends on her.

With The Word for Home, award-winning author Joan Clark has created a moving novel about one girl’s search for friendship, love and security, and the place her search leads her—a place called home.

Winner of the 2003 Mr. Christie’s Book Award
The Canadian Library Award Shortlist
Winner of the 2002 Winterset Award
Winner of the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People
Newfoundland and Labradour Book Award Nominee 2004

“An elegant read with an old-fashioned flavour.” —Edmonton Journal

“In The Word for Home, Clark once again proves she is among the finest authors this country has produced.” —The Globe and Mail

“Beautifully written.” —Quill & Quire

In this book, Clark successfully captures the indomitable spirit of the survivor who must make crucial, perilous decisions under almost Dickensian conditions…I would highly recommend it as excellent reading for today’s generation.” —The Telegram (Newfoundland)

“Newfoundlander Joan Clark has a winner with her latest young adult novel, The Word for Home.—Times-Colonist (Victoria)

Length: 286 pp
Setting: East Coast Canada
Period: historical

World rights, Penguin Books Canada

For all other rights contact The Cooke Agency.

Joan Clark
Photo Credit: Ned Pratt
Joan Clark is the multiple-award-winning author of several novels, short story collections for adults and novels for young readers. She was born and raised in the Maritimes and lived in western Canada before settling in St. John’s, Newfoundland sixteen years ago.

  • Adult fiction:
  • An Audience of Chairs
  • Latitudes of Melt
  • Eiriksdottir: A Tale of Dreams and Luck
  • Swimming Toward the Light
  • The Victory of Geraldine Gull
  • From A High Thin Wire
  • Children’s fiction:
  • Road to Bliss
  • Snow
  • The Dream Carvers
  • The Moons of Madeleine
  • Wild Man of the Woods
  • The Leopard and the Lily
  • The Hand of Robin Squires
  • Thomasina and the Trout Tree