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Books For Kids Sharing Stories of Homelessness and Housing Instability


Home means a lot of things. Home is comfort and connection. Home is feeling safe and loved. Whether or not someone has a permanent place to live, we all need to feel safe, loved, and connected to others.

Between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020, 31,207 people accessed help or services related to housing and homelessness in the Denver region (Metro Denver Homelessness Initiative Housing Report). We don't always know someone's story about why they might be experiencing housing instability, but we know that everyone deserves a permanent place to live. Books and stories can reflect families' experiences of shelter instability, and they can also introduce kids to the experiences of others. Share these books with kids to learn more about the many different experiences of homelessness and housing instability.

For more books about community care and systemic change, try these resources:


Applegate, Katherine, author.
"A story about a homeless boy and his imaginary friend that proves in unexpected ways that friends matter, whether real or imaginary" --Publisher description.
Hold Fast
Balliett, Blue, 1955-
On a cold winter day in Chicago, Early's father disappeared, and now she, her mother and her brother have been forced to flee their apartment and join the ranks of the homeless--and it is up to Early to hold her family together and solve the mystery surrounding her father.
Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero
Baptist, Kelly J., author.
"Isaiah is now the big man of the house. But it's a lot harder than his dad made it look. His little sister, Charlie, asks too many questions, and Mama's gone totally silent. Good thing Isaiah can count on his best friend, Sneaky, who always has a scheme for getting around the rules. Plus, his classmate Angel has a few good ideas of her own--once she stops hassling Isaiah. And when things get really tough, there's Daddy's journal, filled with stories about the amazing Isaiah Dunn, a superhero who gets his powers from beans and rice. Isaiah wishes his dad's tales were real. He could use those powers right about now!"-- Provided by publisher.
Rich : A Dyamonde Daniel Book
Grimes, Nikki.
Free is excited about a local poetry contest because of its cash prize, but when he and Dyamonde befriend a classmate who is homeless and living in a shelter, they rethink what it means to be rich or poor.
A Place To Stay : A Shelter Story
Gunti, Erin, author.
"This simple, touching picture book shows readers a women's shelter through the eyes of a young girl, who, with her mother's help, uses her imagination to overcome her anxiety and adjust. Includes factual endnotes detailing various reasons people experience homelessness and the resources available to help."--Publisher's website
Where Will I Live?
McCarney, Rosemary A., author.
"This stunning photo-based picture book for younger readers takes a look at the thousands of children around the world who have been forced to flee war, terror, hunger, sickness, and natural disasters - young refugees on the move with very little left except questions. It's hard to imagine, but the images here will help unaffected children understand not only what this must feel like, but also how very lucky they are. The final message is that children, even with uncertain futures, are resilient and can face uncertainty with optimism. Gripping images are from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and include photographs of children in countries including Lebanon, Rwanda, Iraq, Niger, Hungary, Jordan, and Greece, among others."-- Provided by publisher.
No Fixed Address
Nielsen-Fernlund, Susin, 1964- author.
Twelve-year-old Felix's appearance on a television game show reveals that he and his mother have been homeless for a while, but also restores some of his faith in other people.
Still A Family
Reeves Sturgis, Brenda, author.
"A family has fallen on hard times and are living in different homeless shelters. But even though they are separate, they are still a family."--Provided by publisher.
On Our Street : Our First Talk About Poverty
Roberts, Jillian, 1971- author.
Using illustrations, full-color photographs and straightforward text, this nonfiction picture book introduces the topics of homelessness and poverty to young readers.
Just Under The Clouds
Sarno, Melissa, author.
Since her father's death, Cora, twelve, longs for a permanent home for herself, her special-needs sister, and their mother while navigating middle school and studying trees using her father's field notes.

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