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Children's Fiction Alternative Family

Bank Job

by (author) James Heneghan & Norma Charles

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Apr 2009
Alternative Family, Law & Crime, Orphans & Foster Homes
Recommended Age
9 to 12
Recommended Grade
4 to 7
Recommended Reading age
9 to 12
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2009
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2009
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


Nell has been in foster homes all her life—most of them have been horrible.

She finally gets moved to a home she likes, and the ministry threatens to close it down unless an expensive renovation is made to the house. Nell and the two boys in the home, Billy and Tom, decide to raise the funds themselves. How do kids get large amounts of money quickly? By robbing banks, of course. Their first few heists are successful, but when they almost get caught on their sixth robbery, the friends start to fight about whether they should continue. The bank jobs that were meant to keep their family together just might tear it apart.

About the authors

A former fingerprint specialist with the Vancouver Police Department, James Heneghan has won numerous awards for his books for young readers, including the Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Award three times for Flood, Wish Me Luck and The Grave. James lives in North Vancouver, British
School visits, author readings, adults & children, by arrangement.


James Heneghan's profile page

Norma Charles' profile page


  • Commended, M.Y.R.C.A Honour Book
  • Runner-up, Chocolate Lily nominee
  • Commended, CCBC Best Books starred selection

Excerpt: Bank Job (by (author) James Heneghan & Norma Charles)

He passed a note across the counter. THIS IS A BANK ROBBERY. YOU WON'T GET HURT IF YOU DO AS YOU'RE TOLD. I knew what the note said because I had written it.

Editorial Reviews

"A satisfying moral tale...described in gripping detail. The effects of peer pressure and the desire to please those we love and admire are clearly illustrated. While not condoning robbery, Heneghan and Charles make valuable points about the importance of family, especially family of choice, in young people's lives."


"[Heneghan and Charles] convincingly portray shockingly contemporary adolescent social behaviour while upholding the dominant moral position that such behaviour is problematic...Smoothly written, carefully paced, and convincingly plotted... Recommended."

CM Magazine

"The crime adventure component of the plot—written in spare, easily accessible prose, skilfully executed and paced—makes for an involving, suspenseful read, particularly for younger readers."

Ottawa Citizen

"This straightforward choice for junior high readers has a good balance of action tempered with morality and the unusual addition of adults who really seem to know what is going on."

Southwestern Ohio Young Adult Materials Review Group

"A concise and fast-paced novel ideal for reluctant readers."

Resource Links

"[Heneghan and Charles] do a good job of creating tension and keeping us wondering if (and when) something will go horribly wrong. The pacing is right and the details realistic enough to give the story plausibility."

Quill & Quire

"Fast-paced with growing tension which should appeal to reluctant readers."

Washington State YA Review

Other titles by James Heneghan

Other titles by Norma Charles