A Place to Stay, A Shelter Story – Erin Gunti, illustrated by Esteli Meza


   A Place to Stay, A Shelter Story – Erin Gunti, illustrated by Esteli Meza, Barefoot Books, 9781782858249, 2019

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Genre: Picture

What did you like about the book? This is a special book in that it focuses on the experience of a little girl in a homeless shelter — a great way to introduce young children to this problem in our communities.  In this story, a little girl is spending her first night in a homeless shelter with her mother. There is no back story as to why they are in this situation so it can be interpreted many different ways (lost job, natural disaster, domestic abuse). The little girl finds many ways to say that the shelter is not a home, but for each comment she makes, her mother has a more positive thought.  The little girl says the shelter is not a home and her mother says it is a palace, the toy room becomes a cave of treasures, the dining hall becomes a banquet with people from different countries, and her bed becomes a rocket ship reaching for the stars. By the end of the day, the little girl is also trying to view their experience in a more positive manner.

What is especially nice about this book is that there is a section in the back that explains to young children the purpose of shelters. There is also information about what is in shelters, how shelters help people, and how the community (including children) can help support shelters. I can see this book being a great way to introduce community involvement to young children — what they can do to help other children less fortunate in their community.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  Nothing

To whom would you recommend this book?  I think children might need to be five and older to really understand the concept of a shelter.

Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries. I could also see this book being very useful in a doctor’s office, social services office or any other group that supports families in need.

Where would you shelve it? Picture book but probably in a parenting section that has picture books about specific topics.

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes

Reviewer  Kristin Guay, former youth librarian

Date of review: July 3, 2019

 

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