Good Enough to Eat

Cole, Brock. Good Enough to Eat. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2007.
A tall tale, a folktale, a cautionary tale… When an ogre threatens a town, the people offer him a young girl. Scraps-and-Smells is poor and homeless, the perfect person to give away, they think. But she outwits them all. A marvellous story reminiscent of The Little Red Hen but far more joyful, this picture book is recommended for readers 7 years old and up who like to see people get their comeuppance. 
P.S. Anything written and illustrated by Brock Cole is worth reading. Look for his books! 

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Homeless in America

Strasser, Todd. No Place. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2014.
Dan, a high school baseball star, is dating Talia, a beautiful wealthy girl. But then Dan’s parents lose their jobs and their home. The family ends up in a shelter. What does life look like when you cannot afford to be part of the “cool” crowd? Can you hold onto your social life when you live in a tent city? Can you hold onto your hopes for a college scholarship? How does it feel to be one of the people to whom you once offered charity?

Strasser excels at writing young adult novels about modern social problems. This story is no exception. The main character’s best friend, Noah, is part of an educated well-to-do African-American family in the town of Median, and the story’s focus is on poverty among white middle class Americans.  The novel flows quickly and is told from the point of view of the main character whose voice is strong enough to sustain the interest of readers even during philosophical paragraphs about unemployment and homelessness in America today and repeated comparisons to life during the Great Depression as portrayed in The Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck. 
Readers who enjoyed Alexandria of Africa by Eric Walters – a story of wealthy high school girl who learns about life for the less fortunate – will appreciate this 262-page young adult novel by a prolific American author. [Dating (Social customs); Homeless persons; Poverty]

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