Check It Out: All the Children are Home by Patry Francis

Aug 30, 2021

This is Jennifer Havlik with the Sioux City Public Library, and you’re listening to Check It Out. 

Today I’m recommending All the Children are Home by Patry Francis. This recently released work of historical fiction is a heart-wrenching coming of age saga told from multiple perspectives and spans the 1950s and 1960s. 

Unable to bear children, suburban Boston residents Dahlia and Louie Moscatelli become long-term foster parents.  Because of secrets from her own past, Dahlia initially has three rules when taking on a placement: no delinquents, no newborns, and absolutely no girls.  After eleven years, three long-term foster children named Jimmy, Zaidie, and Jon, and dozens of shorter placements, the Moscatellis are ready to hang it up. But before they do, six-year-old Agnes arrives as an emergency placement. She’s been removed from her previous foster home, and her broken hand explains why. She’s undernourished, almost non-verbal, and classified as a “failure to thrive” case. Her arrival will change every member of the Moscatelli family forever. 

A sweeping family saga, All the Children are Home doesn’t shy away from the heartbreak that is inherently connected to foster care: histories of trauma and repressed memories, abuse, neglect, violence, alcoholism, and loss of identity are all present in the book. But also present are the strength of hope, the power of unbroken spirits, the resiliency of children, and the human ability to fix what we can. 

For fans of Mary Beth Keane’s Ask Again, Yes and William Kent Krueger’s This Tender Land, All the Children are Home is a powerful, emotional read. You can find All the Children are Home and other works of historical fiction like it at the Sioux City Public Library. 

Support for Check It Out on Siouxland Public Media comes from Avery Brothers.