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Children's Fiction Homelessness & Poverty

Lily and the Paper Man

by (author) Rebecca Upjohn

illustrated by Renne Benoit

Second Story Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2007
Homelessness & Poverty, General, Values & Virtues
Recommended Age
5 to 8
Recommended Grade
k to 3
Recommended Reading age
5 to 8
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2007
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2007
    List Price

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Walking home with her mother one day, Lily runs into a gruff and untidy-looking man selling papers on the street. Lily is afraid of the man, but when the weather turns cold, she sees the Paper Man differently.

About the authors

Rebecca Upjohn has worked as an architectural photographer, sheep farmhand, bookstore helper, and more recently a writer and film producer for an independent short film for children called The Go Cart. Rebecca lives in Toronto with her husband, Don and their two sons, Harris and Emmett. The author of the picture books Lily and the Paper Man and Patrick’s Wish, she is interested in characters who reach out to help others. She divides her time between New Hampshire and Ontario.

Rebecca Upjohn's profile page

Renné Benoit is living her childhood dream of being an artist. Trained in graphic design, she is the award-winning illustrator of more than 15 books for children. Her awards include the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award for Children's Literature for Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion; the OLA Silver Birch Express Award for The Secret of the Village Fool; and the Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Literature Prize for both Fraser Bear and Goodbye to Griffith Street. The latter was also nominated for the Amelia Frances Howard Gibbon Award. Big City Bees was nominated for the Governor General's Literary Award for Children's Illustration, and A Year of Borrowed Men was a finalist for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, among others. Renné lives in St. Thomas, Ontario.


Renne Benoit's profile page


  • Winner, ForeWord Book of the Year Award

Librarian Reviews

Lily and the Paper Man

Lily lives in a neighborhood where everyone is friendly and familiar. But that all changes when she crashes straight into a homeless man selling newspapers on the street. Terrified by his bedraggled appearance and growling voice, Lily avoids him from that day on… until the first snow fall. Then Lily starts to notice just how cold he looks in the icy winter air, shuffling from foot-to-foot with his bright red ears and thin, torn clothes, and slowly she realizes that she can do something to help.

In her debut picture book, Lily and the Paper Man, Rebecca Upjohn does a remarkable job of realistically portraying an important social issue through the eyes of a child. Lily’s candid observations, innocent questions, and genuine empathy transform a nameless and threatening stranger into a member of the community. Engaging, heartwarming and sincere, this story unobtrusively delivers a message of shared human compassion, while showing readers of all ages how a single child can make a difference.

The emotion and candor captured by this story are beautifully brought to life in Renné Benoit’s soft yet bright watercolors. Benoit’s portraits add another layer to the text, brilliantly capturing the characters’ subtle emotions.

Lily and the Paper Man is a great choice for parents and teachers alike in opening the conversation on, or merely drawing attention to, this important but difficult topic.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Winter 2008. Vol.31 No.1.

Lily and the Paper Man

A young girl encounters a homeless man living near her home. After overcoming her initial fear, she feels compassion and helps him by giving him warm clothes.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2008.

Other titles by Rebecca Upjohn

Other titles by Renne Benoit