Jane Kelley, associate professor in WSU’s College of Education, shares some book titles that show depictions of poverty. She writes:

Poverty is complex and contextualized and to say that a book is the “best” depiction would be problematic. However, there are some books that are better than others when it comes to presenting the issue of poverty. Below are a few titles that are engaging and present the complexities of poverty. As I tell pre-service and service teachers, you can’t rely on one book for any topic. Readers will have a better understanding of an issue when they critically read and critically discuss several books about the same topic.

Altman, L. J. (1993). Amelia’s road. New York: Lee & Low Books.

Boelts, M. (2007). Those shoes. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press

Cohn, D. (2002). ¡Si, se puede! Yes, we can!: Janitor strike in L.A. El Paso, TX: Cinco Puntos Press.

Cooper, M. (1998). Gettin’ through Thursday. New York: Lee & Low Books.

DiSalvo, D. (1994). City green. New York: Morrow Junior Books.

DiSalvo, D. (2001). A castle on Viola Street. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.

Ketteman, H. (2001). Mama’s way. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers.

Mitchell, M. K. (1993). Uncle Jed’s barbershop. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Pérez, A. I. (2000). My very own room. San Francisco: Children’s Book Press.

Wyeth, S. D. (1998). Something beautiful. New York: Doubleday Books for Young Readers.


Read more about Kelly’s research on children’s books and poverty in our article A poor showing in children’s books.”