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  • Jane Martin

Check Me Out - Winter Haven June 2024


ON OUR STREET

By: Dr. Jillian Roberts and Jaime Casap

If you have curious kiddos who ask questions about hard topics, this book series is for you. This first book explores topics surrounding poverty, but focuses on the unhoused population, explaining “who,” “why,” and “how” in a person-first, age-appropriate way. Great for kids aged 6 and up.


I SEE YOU

By: Michael Genhart

Told through illustrations, this story follows a year in the life of a young boy who seems to be the only one who notices the older, unhoused woman living by the bus stop. Reading this story with children opens up the floor to ask what they notice about the woman and the child, and how other people are reacting to her. This book is great for ages 4 and up.


SOMETHING LIKE HOME

By: Andrea Beatriz Arango

A Pura Belpré Honor Book from 2023, this middle grade novel explores the foster care system, and how a family can come with two legs or four paws. “Laura Rodríguez Colón has a plan: no matter what the grown-ups say, she will live with her parents again. And while staying at her aunt’s house is okay, it just isn’t the same as being in her own space.”


SHELTER

By: Christie Matheson

A heart-wrenching middle grade debut that considers homelessness from one girl’s perspective and explores deep truths about the resounding impact of empathy. Perfect for fans of “One for the Murphys” and “Paper Things.” A Junior Library Guild selection from 2021.


ON THE COME UP

By: Angie Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Bri begins to go viral after releasing her first song online but for all the wrong reasons. With her family facing homelessness, how far will one teen go to make it to the top of the charts? Bri’s story will make you want to fight for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you.


GATHER

By: Kenneth M. Cadow

Ian Gray isn’t supposed to have a dog, but a lot of things that shouldn’t happen end up happening anyway. And Gather, Ian’s adopted pup, is good company now that Ian has to quit the basketball team, find a job, and take care of his mom as she tries to overcome her opioid addiction.


EVICTED

By: Matthew Desmond

“Evicted” transforms our understanding of poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving one of twentyfirst-century America’s most devastating problems. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible.


IF YOU SEE THEM

By: Vicki Sokolik

When Vicki Sokolik’s son brought home a classmate who was living on her own and was dropping out of school to support herself, Vicki stepped in to help. As she learned more about the invisible population of young people navigating life alone, she discovered the ways they are overlooked and impeded by the system. She founded a nonprofit and worked to change legislation in her home state of Florida to give these kids agency over their lives.


LITTLE FAMILY

By: Ishmael Beah

We meet Beah’s protagonists as an unnamed narrator glimpses a boy in a Zimbabwean forest before the boy slips away. The child has heard an elaborate whistle and answered it, the all-clear of four adolescents and one small girl surviving by their wits. The four have come together to shelter in the remains of a crashed airplane covered with foliage.


PARABLE OF THE SOWER

By: Octavia E. Butler

This graphic novel adaptation of the 1993 dystopian science fiction saga brings the story of Olamina to life like never before. Winner of the 2021 Hugo award and 2021 Ignyte award, this novel follows the life of Olamina, a young woman ousted from her home, but convinced of bringing radical empathy to her deteriorating society as a means for deliverance.

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