Homelessness and Poverty in Children’s Books

By Kerry McGuire

Happy New Year from all of us at Renaissance! We hope you had a restful break over the holidays.

For our first booklist of 2022, we’re taking a look at the themes of homelessness and poverty in children’s books, with recommendations for all ages. Check out the list below for a selection of fiction and non-fiction on these themes, along with the books’ Accelerated Reader quiz information.

Lower Years

Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood, illustrated by Sally Wern
Non-Fiction | Quiz #241843 | BL 4.6 | Simon & Schuster Children’s
This book is the true tale of how an orchestra made up of children playing instruments built from recycled rubbish from landfills, began entertaining audiences all over the world.

Broadway Barks by Bernadette Peters, illustrated by Liz Murphy
Quiz #241787 | BL 2.0 | Handprint Books
A homeless dog living in a New York City park follows a woman to Broadway Barks, an annual show sponsored by Broadway stars, where he is adopted by a little girl and finds a new home.

The Invisible by Tom Percival
Quiz #240999 | BL 3.1 | Simon & Schuster Children’s
In this book, examples of how to be tolerant and why tolerance is important are given.

Way Home by Libby Hathorn
Quiz #202069 | BL 2.5 | Andersen Press
Shane is used to the harsh life of the city streets where everyone has to fend for themselves. But when he finds and protects a lost kitten he discovers a friendship that starkly contrasts with the hostility and danger around him.

 

Middle Years

The Dog That Saved the World (Cup) by Phil Earle
Quiz #239851 | BL 4.5 | Barrington Stoke
Pickles and his owner Elsie are football mad, so they are really excited when Elsie’s team win the chance to play in a half-time match at the World Cup! But when Dad loses his job and the World Cup trophy is stolen, its up to Pickles to save the day.

The Soup Movement by Ben Davis
Quiz #241347 | BL 4.3 | Oxford University Press
When Jordan meets a homeless man called Harry and gives him some soup, it’s the start of an unlikely friendship. Soon the two of them begin giving soup to others, and a movement begins. But not everybody wants the #SoupMovement to succeed.

Welcome to Trashland by Steve Cole
Quiz #240716 | BL 4.0 | Barrington Stoke
Theo dreams of escaping the vast dumping ground for electronics in Ghana and sees his chance when Emanuel arrives with talk of buried treasure, but Emanuel quickly draws the attention of a local gang.

Real Life Stories (series) by Various authors
Non-Fiction | BL 6.7- 8.1 | Ticktock
Each title tells the real-life story of different children living in poverty. The stories include facts on an AIDS orphan, a child worker, and a refugee.

Middle Years Plus

Caged by Theresa Breslin
Quiz #233810 | BL 5.0 | Corgi Children’s
Kai thinks he’s found the perfect sanctuary: an abandoned London Underground tunnel where runaways are trained to become Cage Fighters and earn enough money to start new lives. But danger is lurking and the finale is looming…

Hero Worship by Christopher E. Long
Quiz #241788 | BL 5.0 | Flux
When teenager Marvin realises his dream of working for the Core, an elite squad of costumed heroes, he discovers the superstars he’s idolised for so long aren’t the people he thought they were.

Home by Karen Moncrieffe
High/Low | Quiz #236437 | BL 3.8 | Badger Publishing
Aliyah and her family have been made homeless. She is finding it hard not having a proper place to live. Trinity lives in a huge house. Her life appears perfect, but all is not as it seems.

Lottery Boy by Michael Byrne
Quiz #229016 | BL 5.4 | Walker Books
Bully discovers that he has a winning lottery ticket while living on the streets. But his luck soon runs out when he finds himself being chased by gangs that are after the money.

No Fixed Address by Susin Nielsen
Quiz #235475 | BL 4.3 | Andersen Press
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.

  
Upper Years

A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen
Non-Fiction | Quiz #226655 | BL 6.3 | Hodder and Stoughton
James Bowen is a street musician in London. In the spring of 2007, barely getting by himself, James decided to take in and nurse back to health a homeless cat whom he named Bob. They have been inseparable ever since.

Pitch Black by Youme Landowne
Non-Fiction | Quiz #241844 | BL 3.1 | Cinco Puntos Press
Youme describes her unique collaboration with artist Anthony Horton, which began as the two travelled together on the New York subway system.

The Life I’m In by Sharon G. Flake
Quiz #241845
| BL 3.5 | Scholastic Ltd
Turned out of her home, Charlese Jones is lured into human trafficking. She is frightened but determined to bring herself and her fellow victims out of danger.

Where I Live by Brenda Rufener
Quiz #241757 | BL 4.5 | Harper
Linden has a big secret. She is homeless and living in the halls of her high school. Her best friends and the promise of a future far away are what keep her moving forward.

   

If you have some titles you’d like to see quizzed, please use the request a quiz form.

Happy quizzing!


Posted on 5 January 2022 at 11:05 am
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