Homeless

Bernard Wolf, Author
Bernard Wolf, Author Orchard Books (NY) $16.95 (1p) ISBN 978-0-531-06886-1
Library Binding - 1 pages - 978-0-531-08736-7
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Photojournalist Wolf (Beneath the Stone) follows a homeless family of six as they navigate New York City's social services programs in this obviously well-meaning but flawed book. The narrator, eight-year-old Mikey, describes an eventful nine-month period during which his family moves into temporary public housing. Wolf's camera follows the family everywhere-as they line up to receive food stamps and then go shopping for groceries, into meetings with social workers, to the dinner table and the playground. But although Mikey describes his fears of ending up ``living on the city streets,'' the basic issues are sidestepped. What does it mean for Mikey's family to be ``homeless'' when they occupy an apartment? Why do some families receive public assistance? Poverty is presented here more as an alternative lifestyle than as a social problem (when Mikey has to go to the emergency room, he reports that ``Mom has Medicaid, so we don't have to pay for doctors and stuff''). This blurry account is likelier to confuse readers than to elicit their compassion. Ages 7-up. (Mar.)
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