School Suppy Drive Book List
Books on Homelessness
Possible Picks for Family Literacy
Compiled and annotated by Angie Miles, Literacy Consultant
Preschool - Kindergarten
McDuff Moves In
By Rosemary Wells
Babies will enjoy the pictures of the precious pup and preschoolers who have experienced homelessness will relate to what it’s like to be unable to find a place of comfort to call home.
Kindergarten - 2nd grade
By Kate Spohn
The author introduces us to a single homeless woman and explores how her history of poverty got her to this place. This selection is one to spark a dialogue, and compare and contrast how different people experience homelessness.
Changing Places: A Kid’s View of Shelter Living
By Judy Wallace
Several children share their experience of shelter life. With this book, all children can see how the wants and needs of every person are not that different.
Fly Away Home
By Eve Bunting
A little boy who lives in an airport with his father feels the unfairness of homelessness. He also holds on to the hope that he will one day fly free to something better.
Go Home: The True Story of James the Cat
By Libby Philips Megis
The author shares with us the true story of how James the Cat came to live with her. His saga of homelessness, despair and eventual love and belonging will resonate with everyone.
Home is Where We Live: Life At a Shelter Through a Young Girl’s Eyes
By Jane Hertensten
Black and white photographs provide insight into shelter life in Chicago. A 10 year-old girl who has just arrived shares her impressions.
By B. Wolf
This photo essay is a more upbeat look at the life of one homeless family in New York. 8 year-old Mikey provides the narration.
Lives Turned Upside Down: Homeless Children in Their Own Words and Photographs
By Jim Hubbard
Children at a mission church in Santa Monica, California, participate in the Shooting Back Program. Four children with cameras reveal what their world is like.
Grade 3 and Up
A Shelter in Our Car
By Monica Gunning
A girl from Jamaica lives with her mother in their car after the child’s father dies. She is able to explain how circumstances can put ordinary people in difficult situations. She is also able to share the pain of what they endure, including at the hands of others who don’t understand.
How Many Days to America
By Eve Bunting
A close-knit family is suddenly homeless when they are forced to flee their home. Political unrest in their beloved homeland requires them to abandon all they know and love and seek asylum elsewhere. Readers’ hearts will rise and fall with the fate of this family, which finally finds refuge and hope.
Someplace to Go
By Maria Testa
Junior Fiction and Young Adult
A Single Shard
By Linda Sue Park
An orphaned boy who lives under a bridge with the homeless man who took him in becomes the unlikely hero in this riveting tale. Integrity, discipline, resilience and hard work are some of the traits depicted in this Newbery winner.
The Family Under the Bridge
By Natalie Savage Carson
A Parisian family is thrust into homelessness and must endure the wrath of the homeless man who already lives under the bridge. The journey to new understandings is worth the trip for readers. This is best used as a read-aloud for those comfortable with French pronunciations.
By Carl Hiaasen
Life becomes an adventure for the new boy at school when he has a close encounter with “running boy”. The running boy turns out to be a runaway on an environmental mission. This is a respected literary work that features a homeless kid as the hero of the story.
Parenting in Public
By Donna Haig Friedman
When a family receives any kind of public assistance, the parenting practices come under scrutiny. This is true everywhere in America. The book can promot discussion about what constitutes good parenting, what are the challenges, whose business is it how we parent, and why do others care?
Rachel and Her Children: Homeless Families in America
By Jonathan Kozol
Since homelessness is increasingly a family problem, we experience it vicariously through the story of Rachel’s family. The Martinique Hotel in New York provides the setting.
Tell Them Who I Am: the Lives of Homeless Women
By Elliot Liebow
As more and more women become homeless, Liebow attempts to put faces on the faceless. We develop a personal relationship with these women whose stories he chronicles here.
A Framework for Understanding Poverty
By Ruby Payne
This is must-reading for anyone who works with the poor, especially with those from generational poverty. It may also provide excellent discussion material for the clients we serve when handled correctly.
How to Increase Homelessness
By Joel John Roberts
Along the lines of Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal, Roberts ventures boldly into what has become a taboo topic in many quarters. Why are so many people homeless and what can and should be done? These are questions explored with sarcasm, humor, and ultimately…with unflinching honesty.