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The Can Man

The Can Man (hc)

By Laura E. Williams

Illustrated by Craig Orback


Tim’s birthday is just a week away, and more than anything he wants a skateboard. But money is tight, and Tim knows his family cannot afford to buy him a board.

As Tim ponders how he might earn money for a skateboard, he hears The Can Man down the street collecting empty soft drink cans. The clang of the cans in the homeless man’s cart gives Tim an idea. He will collect cans too, and cash them in for the redemption money. By the end of the week, Tim has almost reached his goal—until a couple of chance encounters with The Can Man change everything.

Told with honesty and respect, this timely story shines a perceptive light on current social concerns. Readers will be encouraged to think beyond themselves and celebrate the simple acts of kindness and sharing that make a difference in people’s lives.

Booktalk with author Laura E. Williams and illustrator Craig Orback

Teacher's Guide

2012 Charlotte Award
New York State Reading Association

2011-2012 Keystone to Reading Nomination
Keystone State Reading Association

2011 Paterson Prize for Books for Young People

Keystone to Reading Book Awards, Elementary Award
Keystone State Reading Association

Show Me 2012-2013 Nominee
Missouri Association of School Librarians

More awards...
Interest Level
Grades K - 5
Reading Level
Grades 2 - 3
Asian/Asian American Interest, Biracial Interest, African/African American Interest, Environment/Nature, Friendship, Home, Multiethnic interest, Neighbors, Sharing & Giving, Poverty
About the Creators

Laura E. Williams is the author of numerous award-winning picture books and middle grade novels. Born in South Korea and adopted by an American family, Williams has since lived and traveled all over the world. She and her husband live in Farmington, Connecticut. Visit her on the Web at lauraewilliams.com.

Photo: Michael F. Metayer

Craig Orback is a fine artist who has illustrated many highly praised books for children, several of which focus on historical subjects. The Can Man especially appealed to Orback because of its contemporary topic and setting. In addition to creating fine art and illustrations, Orback teaches children’s book illustration and oil painting at local community colleges. He lives near Seattle, Washington. You can find him online at craigorback.com.

Photo: Jessica Silks

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