Let's Talk About Homelessness

Fiction and nonfiction titles for children on the topic of homelessness.

Picture Books and Younger Elementary
The Bright Side

Chad Otis
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Oti)

When an unhoused boy enters school, he runs afoul of rules and finds himself alone, but finds that he has imagination, resilience, and can define "the bright side" for himself.

A Cat Called Waverley

Debi Gliori
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Gli)

Born in a city park, a little cat belongs to no one until he's befriended and cared for by Donald, a soldier. Donald is sent away to fight in a far-off war-zone. Warfare drastically changes Donald's life, but when the lonely cat and the forgotten man are reunited, their world suddenly seems a brighter and more hopeful place.

I See You

Michael Genhart
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Gen)

A wordless picture book that depicts a woman experiencing homelessness who is not seen by all the life around her, except by a little boy. Ultimately, in a gesture of compassion, this boy approaches this woman in an exchange where he sees her and she experiences being seen. Recommended for ages 3–6.

The Old Man

Sarah V.
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej V)

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. Recommended for ages 3–6.

On Our Street: Our First Talk About Poverty

Jillian Roberts
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 362.5 Rob)

Using illustrations, full-color photographs, and straightforward text, this nonfiction picture book introduces the topics of homelessness and income below the federal poverty threshold to young readers. Recommended for ages 6–9.

Someplace to Go

Maria Testa
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Te)

Davey describes how he spends his time after school trying to keep safe and warm until he can meet his mother and older brother when the shelter opens at night. Recommended for ages 6–9.

Still a Family

Brenda Reeves-Sturgis
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Ree)

Despite living in separate shelters, a little girl and her parents find time to be together, demonstrating that even in the most trying of times, they are still a loving and committed family. Recommended for ages 3–6.

What To Do When Your Family Loses Its Home

Rachel Lynette
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 362.7 Lyn)

Moving is stressful anytime, but when a family is forced to move because they can't afford to pay their mortgage, it's a whole different experience. This book also gives some ideas of what to expect when a family moves in with relatives while they get back on their feet. Recommended for ages 6–9.

Older Elementary
Everlasting Nora

Marie Miranda Cruz
(Juvenile Fiction - J Cruz)

After the loss of her father and home, 12-year-old Nora lives with her mother in Manila's North Cemetery, but then her mother disappears, sending Nora on a dangerous quest to find her. Recommended for ages 9–12.

The Exact Location of Home

Kate Messner
(Juvenile Fiction - J Messner)

Zig lives for the world of simple circuits, light bulbs, and motors. Electronics are much more predictable than people—especially his father. When his dad's latest visit is canceled and his mom seems to be hiding something, Zig is convinced that his dad is leaving clues around town and sets out to find him. Recommended for ages 9–12.

Homelessness and Families

Hilary W. Poole
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 362.592 Poo)

This book looks at the problems of homelessness—not only the challenges, but also how families can meet and rise above them. Recommended for ages 9–12.

The Night Bus Hero

Onjali Q Raúf
(Juvenile Fiction - J Rau)

Getting in trouble is what Hector does best. He knows that not much is expected of him. In fact, he gets some of his most brilliant prank ideas while sitting in detention. But how far is too far? When Hector plays a prank on a homeless man and is seen and shamed by a schoolmate, he reaches a turning point. Recommended for ages 7–12.

No Fixed Address

Susin Nielsen-Fernlund
(Juvenile Fiction - J Nielson)

12-year-old Felix's appearance on a game show reveals that he and his mother have been experiencing homelessness, but also restores some of his faith in others. Recommended for ages 9–12.

Paper Things

Jennifer Jacobson
(Juvenile Fiction - J Jacobson)

Ari and her brother Gage have been couch surfing, making it hard for Ari to keep up with schoolwork and friendships. Recommended for ages 9–12.


Danielle Svetcov
(Juvenile Fiction - J Svetcov)

Newly experiencing homelessness, Jeanne Ann and Cal form a vital friendship as they both search for stability and community, finding it through love of books, art, and food. Recommended for ages 9–12.


Bobbie Pyron
(Juvenile Fiction - J Pyron)

Piper's life is turned upside down when her family moves into a shelter in a whole new city and she gets labeled as "the homeless girl" at her new school. When a dog's person goes missing from the shelter, Piper knows she has to help. Recommended for ages 9–12.

Wolf Hollow

Lauren Wolk
(Juvenile Fiction - J Wolk)

12-year-old Annabelle must learn to stand up for what's right in the face of a manipulative and violent new bully who targets people Annabelle cares about, including a World War I veteran experiencing homelessness. Recommended for ages 9–12.