Recommended Reads for Disadvantaged Children
KS1 (ages 5-7)
A Family Is a Family Is a Family by Sara O’Leary – The story starts with a kindergarten teacher asking her students to think about what makes their family special, a nerve-wracking assignment for a young girl in foster care who worries that her family is too different from her classmates. However, she soon learns that all her classmates’ families are different.
Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting - A homeless boy who lives in an airport with his father, moving from terminal to terminal trying not to be noticed, is given hope when a trapped bird finally finds his freedom. The main issue of this book is homelessness but specifically a child who is homeless. Child readers are able to make connections between their lives and Andrew’s life because the book is told from a child’s point-of-view.
Visiting Day by Jacqueline Woodson - A poignant picture book about a little girl who waits hopefully for her father's release from prison. Only on visiting day is there chicken frying in the kitchen at 6 a.m. And Grandma in her Sunday dress, humming soft and low... As the little girl and her grandmother get ready for visiting day, her father, who adores her, is getting ready, too. The community of families who take the long bus ride upstate to visit loved ones share hope and give comfort to each other.
KS2 (ages 8-11)
The Bed and Breakfast Star by Jacqueline Wilson - The Bed and Breakfast Star follows the life of a young girl called Elsa and her family. The story is based upon the misfortune of Elsa and her family having to move from home to home throughout the duration of her childhood.
Life in the Balance by Jen Petro-Roy -Veronica Conway has been looking forward to trying out for the All-Star softball team for years. She's practically been playing the game since she was a baby. She should have this tryout on lock. Except right before tryouts, Veronica’s mom announces that she’s entering rehab for alcoholism, and her dad tells her that they may not be able to afford the fees needed to be on the team. Veronica decides to enter the town talent show in an effort to make her own money, but along the way discovers a new hobby that leads her to doubt her feelings for the game she thought she loves so much.
Isiah Dunn is My Hero by Kelly J Baptist - Isaiah becomes the "man of his house" after his father passes away. Unfortunately, after this loss Isaiah's mother never fully processes or deals with her husband’s death. She's often absent and Isaiah is forced to take on responsibilities that belong to an adult. He fights adversity that comes in the form of homelessness, alcoholism, and death. To help cope with everything going on, Isaiah finds solace in his dad's old writings which feature a superhero who gets his powers from eating beans and rice. It is through these writings that Isaiah finds his own passion in writing and the strength to support his sister and mothe