As the holiday season approaches, many are more cognizant of helping those in need, but housing insecurity is a year-round issue, as reflected in a growing number of books for young readers. We’ve rounded up a selection of titles from 2023 and 2024 for children and teens, both fiction and memoir, that portray a variety of experiences with housing insecurity.

Picture Books

After the Shelter by Brenda Reeves Sturgis. (Albert Whitman, Oct. 3, 2024). A girl and her mother look back on their time living in a shelter for unhoused people as they settle into a new life together in their own apartment.

The Bright Side by Chad Otis. (Rocky Pond Feb $18.99 ISBN 978-0-593-53062-7). Otis offers children a different way to perceive living in nontraditional housing.

I Know How to Draw an Owl by Hilary Horder Hippely, illus. by Matt James. (Holiday House/Porter Oct. 15, 2024). Belle forms a connection with a new student who seems to live in a car with his family, just like her, and develops an artistic relationship with the owls she often sees at night.


102 Days of Lying About Lauren by Maura Jortner. (Holiday House, June $18.99 ISBN 978-0-8234-5362-7). After being abandoned by her mother in an amusement park, 12-year-old Lauren chooses to remain hidden even as her situation grows more dangerous by the day.

The In-Between by Katie Van Heidrich. (Aladdin Jan. $18.99 ISBN 978-1-66592-012-4). In the early 2000s, 13-year-old Katie Van Heidrich undergoes several sudden moves with her family. While staying at an Extended Stay America Motel, Katie and her family navigate uncertainty about their future.

Into The Light by Mark Oshiro. (Tor Teen, Mar. $19.99 ISBN 978-1-250-81225-4). Cast out of his family and driven into the wilderness of the American Southwest, Manny is searching for his sister when he encounters the Varelas, a traveling family who may have a link to his past.

Junkyard Dogs by Katherine Higgs-Coulthard. (Peachtree Teen, Feb. $18.99 ISBN 978-1-68263-540-7). When his father disappears, Josh and his younger brother begin living on the streets to avoid social services, and fight for their survival when their father’s old friend implicates them in an illegal scrap metal operation.

No Place Like Home by James Bird. (Feiwel and Friends, Aug. $17.99 ISBN 978-1-250-87762-8). Opin and his family navigate the struggles of living in their car, and after Obin adopts a puppy he worries about how they will care for it.

Road Home by Rex Ogle (Norton Young Readers, May 14, 2024, $18.99 ISBN 978-1-324-01992-3). Ogle closes his trilogy of memoirs with an account of being forced from his home and living on the streets after his conservative father discovers he’s gay.

Sami’s Special Gift by M.O. Yuksel, illus. by Hüseyin Sönmezay. (Charlesbridge Apr. 16, 2024 $17.99, ISBN 978-1-62354-296-2). While grieving the loss of his grandfather, Sami starts volunteering at a shelter where he meets a boy his age and considers how his grandfather would want him to help.

The Second Chance of Darius Logan by David F. Walker (Scholastic Press, July 2, 2024 $19.99 ISBN 978-1-338-82642-5). Darius Logan has the opportunity to escape foster homes and shelters by joining the Second Chance program of the Super Justice Force, a league for superhumans who protect their community.