The Boy on the Porch
One day a young couple awake to find a boy asleep on their porch. Unable to speak, the boy cannot explain his history. What kind of person would leave their child with a stranger? All they know is that they have been chosen to care for this boy. As their connection to him grows, they embrace his exuberant spirit and talents. The three of them blossom into an unlikely family, but how long can their happiness last? Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech weaves together a beautiful story about the surprising connections that bloom when unconditional love and generosity prevail, and finding family when you least expect it.
Three mornings in a row, I woke hearing this phrase in my head: “the boy on the porch.” I had no idea to whom or what those words referred, but after the third day, I thought I’d better pay attention and write a story about the boy on the porch! I’ve learned to trust those instincts.
The story emerged steadily, a few pages a day, over the next few months, unfolding itself a scene at a time.
I discovered that the boy, who does not speak, is like all characters that do not have a voice until a writer is ready to listen to them; and he is like so many children who do not have a ‘voice’ in this world; and he is like all children who come into our lives: when they arrive—at any age—we wonder who they are and what they think and fear and feel and who they will become.
It was a challenge to write about a boy who does not speak, but I hope the reader learns as much about the boy through what he does and how he affects others as we might learn if he could use words.
I wish all children were as fortunate as the boy on the porch, who landed with a couple who cared about him. They are shaped as much–or more–by the boy as he might be shaped by them.
Click the edges of the sample to turn the pages.
A beagle and cows are important to the boy in this story. I knew that the beagle was inspired by my sister’s dog, but I had no idea where the cows came from. Ironically, six months after finishing The Boy on the Porch, my granddaughter started working on a cow farm where she became especially attached to one particular cow and where she regularly draped herself across its back, much as the boy in the story ‘rides’ the cow.
Recently we moved to Maine to be near our grandchildren. On one of our first days in Maine, I took this photo of our grandson—a boy on a porch: