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The Best Children’s Books About Homelessness

“What are the best Children’s books about Being Homeless?” We looked at 86 of the top Kids Homelessness books, aggregating and ranking them so we could answer that very question!

The top 18 titles, all appearing on 2 or more “Best Kids Homelessness” book lists, are ranked below by how many lists they appear on. The remaining 50+ titles, as well as the lists we used are in alphabetical order at the bottom of the page.

Happy Scrolling!



Top 18 Children’s Books About Being Homeless



18 .) A Shelter in Our Car written by Monica Gunning

	A Shelter in Our Car

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Pragmatic Mom

Since she left Jamaica for America after her father died, Zettie lives in a car with her mother while they both go to school and plan for a real home.



17 .) Beatrice’s Goat written by Page McBrier and Lori Lohstoeter

	Beatrice’s Goat

Lists It Appears On:

  • Lets Lasso The Moon
  • The Barefoot Mommy

A young girl’s dream of attending school in her small Ugandan village is fulfilled after her family is given an income-producing goat. Based on a true story about the work of Project Heifer.



16 .) Crenshaw written by Katherine Applegate

	Crenshaw

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Pragmatic Mom

In her first novel since winning the Newbery Medal, Katherine Applegate delivers an unforgettable and magical story about family, friendship, and resilience. Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There’s no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again.Crenshaw is a cat. He’s large, he’s outspoken, and he’s imaginary. He has come back into Jackson’s life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything? Beloved author Katherine Applegate proves in unexpected ways that friends matter, whether real or imaginary.…



15 .) Hold Fast written by Blue Balliett

	Hold Fast

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Pragmatic Mom

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.…



14 .) How to Steal a Dog written by Barbara O’Connor

	How to Steal a Dog

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Pragmatic Mom

Living in the family car in their small North Carolina town after their father leaves them virtually penniless, Georgina, desperate to improve their situation and unwilling to accept her overworked mother’s calls for patience, persuades her younger brother to help her in an elaborate scheme to get money by stealing a dog and then claiming the reward that the owners are bound to offer.…



13 .) Just Under the Clouds written by Melissa Sarno

	Just Under the Clouds

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Pragmatic Mom

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.



12 .) No Fixed Address written by Susin Nielsen

	No Fixed Address

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Pragmatic Mom

From beloved Governor General Literary Award–winning author Susin Nielsen comes a touching and funny middle-grade story about family, friendship and growing up when you’re one step away from homelessness. Felix Knuttson, twelve, is an endearing kid with an incredible brain for trivia. His mom Astrid is loving but unreliable; she can’t hold onto a job, or a home. When they lose their apartment in Vancouver, they move into a camper van, just for August, till Astrid finds a job. September comes, they’re still in the van; Felix must keep “home” a secret and give a fake address in order to enroll in school. Luckily, he finds true friends. As the weeks pass and life becomes grim, he struggles not to let anyone know how precarious his situation is. When he gets to compete on a national quiz show, Felix is determined to win — the cash prize will bring them a home. Their luck is about to change! But what happens is not at all what Felix expected



11 .) One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference written by Katie Smith Milway and Eugenie Fernandes

	One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference

Lists It Appears On:

  • Lets Lasso The Moon
  • The Barefoot Mommy

Based on a true story, tells of how a poor Ghanaian boy buys a chicken through a community loan program, which eventually helps lift him, his mother, and his community out of poverty.



10 .) Paper Things written by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

	Paper Things

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Pragmatic Mom

When Ari’s mother died four years ago, she had two final wishes: that Ari and her older brother, Gage, would stay together always, and that Ari would go to Carter, the middle school for gifted students. So when nineteen-year-old Gage decides he can no longer live with their bossy guardian, Janna, Ari knows she has to go with him. But it’s been two months, and Gage still hasn’t found them an apartment. He and Ari have been “couch surfing,” staying with Gage’s friend in a tiny apartment, crashing with Gage’s girlfriend and two roommates, and if necessary, sneaking into a juvenile shelter to escape the cold Maine nights. But all of this jumping around makes it hard for Ari to keep up with her schoolwork, never mind her friendships, and getting into Carter starts to seem impossible. Will Ari be forced to break one of her promises to Mama? Told in an open, authentic voice, this nuanced story of hiding in plain sight may have readers thinking about homelessness in a whole new way.…



9 .) The Family Under the Bridge written by Natalie Savage Carlson

	The Family Under the Bridge

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Pragmatic Mom

An old tramp, adopted by three fatherless children when their mother hides them under a bridge on the Seine, finds a home for mother and children and a job for himself.



8 .) The Hundred Dresses written by Eleanor Estes and Louis Slobodkin

	The Hundred Dresses

Lists It Appears On:

  • Scholastic
  • The Barefoot Mommy

In winning a medal she is no longer there to receive, a tight-lipped little Polish girl teaches her classmates a lesson. Includes a note from the author’s daughter, Helena Estes.



7 .) The Lady in the Box written by Ann McGovern

	The Lady in the Box

Lists It Appears On:

  • Pragmatic Mom
  • Scholastic

When Lizzie and Ben discover a homeless lady living in their neighborhood, they must reconcile their desire to help her with their mother’s admonition not to talk to strangers.



6 .) The Old Man written by Sarah V

	The Old Man

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Pragmatic Mom

Day breaks over the town. Get up, everybody! It’s time to go to school. For the old man too, it’s time to wake up. The night was icy and he’s hungry. His name? He doesn’t know . . .



5 .) The Streets are Free written by Kurusa and Monika Doppert

	The Streets are Free

Lists It Appears On:

  • Scholastic
  • The Barefoot Mommy

Based on a true story, the children of a slum in Caracas–with the help of a librarian–rally around the dream of creating a playground.



4 .) Tight Times written by Barbara Shook Hazen

	Tight Times

Lists It Appears On:

  • Lets Lasso The Moon
  • Scholastic

A small boy, not allowed to have a dog because times are tight, finds a starving kitten in a trash can on the same day his father loses his job.



3 .) Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen written by DyAnne DiSalvo

	Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen

Lists It Appears On:

  • Lets Lasso The Moon
  • Pragmatic Mom

A boy spends the day with Uncle Willie in the soup kitchen where he works preparing and serving food for the hungry.



2 .) Fly Away Home written by Eve Bunting

	Fly Away Home

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Pragmatic Mom
  • Scholastic

A homeless boy who lives in an airport with his father, moving from terminal to terminal and trying not to be noticed, is given hope when he sees a trapped bird find its freedom.



1 .) Sam and the Lucky Money written by Karen Chinn

	Sam and the Lucky Money

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Lets Lasso The Moon
  • Pragmatic Mom

Sam must decide how to spend the lucky money he’s received for Chinese New Year.



 


The 50+ Additional Best Kids Books About Being Homeless



 

#BooksAuthorsLists
19Challah in the ArkShoshana Boyd Belfand and Amanda HallThe Barefoot Mommy
20
A Haitian Story of Hope: Sélavi: That is Life:
 Pragmatic Mom
21
A Kids’ Guide to Hunger & Homelessness: How to Take Action!
 Lets Lasso The Moon
22Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of ParaguaySusan Hood and Sally Wern ComportThe Barefoot Mommy
23Almost HomeJoan BauerGoodreads
24Another Bullshit Night in Suck CityNick FlynnGoodreads
25Blink and CautionTim Wynne-JonesGoodreads
26Breakfast at Sally’s: One Homeless Man’s Inspirational JourneyRichard LeMieuxGoodreads
27Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to HarvardLiz MurrayGoodreads
28Can’t Get There from HereTodd StrasserGoodreads
29Chandra’s Magic Light: A Story in NepalTheresa Heine and Judith GueyfierThe Barefoot Mommy
30Criminal of Poverty: Growing Up Homeless in AmericaLisa Gray-GarciaGoodreads
31December Pragmatic Mom
32Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American CityMatthew DesmondGoodreads
33Faith the Cow Lets Lasso The Moon
34Falling DownEli EastonGoodreads
35Front DeskKelly YangGoodreads
36Girl in PiecesKathleen GlasgowGoodreads
37I Am A BearJean-François DumontGoodreads
38I Can Hear the Sun: A Modern Myth Pragmatic Mom
39I See YouMichael GenhartGoodreads
40If the World Were A Village Lets Lasso The Moon
41Lizzie Flying Solo Pragmatic Mom
42Louisiana’s Way HomeKate DiCamilloGoodreads
43
Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard
 Pragmatic Mom
44Mama Miti: Wangari Maathai and the Trees of KenyaDonna Jo Napoli and Kadir NelsonThe Barefoot Mommy
45Mama Panya’s PancakesMary and Rich Chamberlin and Julia CairnsThe Barefoot Mommy
46Maniac MageeJerry SpinelliGoodreads
47MigrantMaxine Trottier and Isabelle ArsenaultThe Barefoot Mommy
48Miles from NowhereNami MunGoodreads
49Mimi’s Village and How Basic Health Care Transformed ItKate Smith Milway and Eugenie FernandesThe Barefoot Mommy
50Miss Pinkeltink’s PursePatty BrozoGoodreads
51No and MeDelphine de ViganGoodreads
52No Ordinary DayDeborah EllisGoodreads
53No PlaceTodd StrasserGoodreads
54One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical FolktaleDemiThe Barefoot Mommy
55One potato, Two Potato Lets Lasso The Moon
56Rachel and Her Children: Homeless Families in AmericaJonathan KozolGoodreads
57RefugeeAlan GratzGoodreads
58Rickshaw GirlMitali Perkins and Jamie HoganThe Barefoot Mommy
59Roam Pragmatic Mom
60Same Kind of Different as Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them TogetherRon HallGoodreads
61Saving RedSonya SonesGoodreads
62SeedfolksPaul FleischmanThe Barefoot Mommy
63Serafina’s PromiseAnne E. BurgThe Barefoot Mommy
64Shingebiss Scholastic
65Shoebox Sam Pragmatic Mom
66Si, Se Puede! Scholastic
67Sorta Like a Rock StarMatthew QuickGoodreads
68Still a Family: A Story about HomelessnessBrenda Reeves SturgisGoodreads
69SuttreeCormac McCarthyGoodreads
70Tell Them Who I Am: The Lives of Homeless WomenElliot LiebowGoodreads
71The Bridge HomePadma VenkatramanGoodreads
72The Can Man Pragmatic Mom
73The Double BindChris BohjalianGoodreads
74The Exact Location of HomeKate MessnerGoodreads
75The Glass CastleJeannette WallsGoodreads
76
The Good Garden: How One Family Went from Hunger to Having Enough (CitizenKid)
 Lets Lasso The Moon
77The Hard-Times JarEthel Footman Smothers and John HolyfieldThe Barefoot Mommy
78The Invasion of TorkClaire DavisGoodreads
79The Language of FlowersVanessa DiffenbaughGoodreads
80The Lunch Thief Pragmatic Mom
81The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York CityJennifer TothGoodreads
82The Pecan ManCassie Dandridge SelleckGoodreads
83Towers FallingJewell Parker RhodesGoodreads
84W is for WastedSue GraftonGoodreads
85Wolf HollowLauren WolkGoodreads
86Yard SaleEve Bunting and Lauren CastilloThe Barefoot Mommy

 


 


5 Best Children’s Books About Being Homeless Sources/Lists



SourceArticle
Goodreads Popular Homelessness Books
Lets Lasso The Moon Top 10 Books to Help Kids Understand Hunger
Pragmatic Mom Homelessness in Children’s Books
Scholastic Read-Alouds About Poverty and Class
The Barefoot Mommy 18 Children’s Books About Poverty and Hunger

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