Sanctuary: Kip Tiernan and Rosie's Place, the Nation's First Shelter for Women


Author: Christine McDonnell


Illustrator: Victoria Tentler-Krylov

Before Kip Tiernan came along, the US had no shelters for women who needed a safe place to sleep at night. Here is the inspirational story of a singular woman and advocate, and what her vision brought to life.

“Justice is not three hots and a cot. Justice is having your own key.” —Kip Tiernan

When Kip Tiernan was growing up during the Great Depression, she’d help her granny feed the men who came to their door asking for help. As Kip grew older, and as she continued to serve food to hungry people, she noticed something peculiar: huddled at the back of serving lines were women dressed as men. At the time, it was believed that there were no women experiencing homelessness. And yet Kip would see women sleeping on park benches and searching for food in trash cans.

This inspired Kip, and she decided to open the first shelter for women—a shelter with no questions asked, no required chores, just good meals and warm beds. With persistence, Kip took on the city of Boston in her quest to open Rosie's Place, our nation's first shelter for women.

CHRISTINE MCDONNELL, a former educator at Rosie’s Place, and illustrator VICTORIA TENTLER-KRYLOV bring warmth to Kip Tiernan's story of humanity and tenacity. Sanctuary shows young readers how one dream can make a huge difference, and how small acts of kindness can lead to great things.