National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day takes place each year on the longest night of the year, the winter solstice (usually December 21st). 2020 marked the 30th Annual Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day. The observance remembers people who have died homeless in the past year. 

More than 30% of the homeless population in the United States is made up of families with children ( Two and a half million children experience homelessness every year. ( Even if they aren’t experiencing homelessness themselves, children are likely to have questions about homelessness when they notice people in the community who lack housing. 

It’s important for children to be able to explore this issue and see themselves and their community represented in books. Magination Press has two stories about homelessness to help children understand it and foster conversations about this issue.

Home by Tonia Lippert PhD, LCSW

In the brown house, Claire and Wes were home. But home turned to nowhere and nowhere turned to anywhere. Then somewhere finally came, and finally, always.

This lyrical story is timely and thoughtful, depicting the life of two children thrust into homelessness and uncertain housing situations as they move out of their house, to a motel, to a shelter, and finally another more permanent home. Throughout, the duo is challenged by uncomfortable new places and inquiries from strangers, but ultimately, never lose their optimism or determination. They have each other, no matter at home, nowhere, anywhere, or somewhere—always.

Home includes a poignant Reader’s Note on how homelessness affects children and what we can do to help. It will be released on February 8, 2022.

I See You by Michael Genhart, PhD

I See You is a wordless picture book that earned a Mom’s Choice Award which depicts a homeless woman who is not seen by everyone around her — except for a little boy. Over the course of a year, the boy is witness to all that she endures. Ultimately, in a gesture of compassion, the boy acknowledges her in an exchange in which he sees her and she experiences being seen.

This book opens the door for kids and parents to begin a conversation about homelessness. In a “Note for Parents, Educators, and Neighbors,” there are discussion questions and additional resources about helping the homeless.

“Michael Genhart’s wordless picture book is about heart, compassion and connecting with others. It is the perfect medium to open the door for children and parents to begin a conversation about the many kinds of homelessness.” —Children’s Books Heal