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Homeless and Hope Go Hand in Hand for Middle Grade Student in New Book by Susin Nielson

Updated on September 29, 2018
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Cindy Hewitt is a retired teacher with a passion for children's literature. Read-aloud stories add quality to a child's life experiences.

Hope and Humor in No Fixed Address for Children Who Have Experienced Homelessness

Charming story of hope
Charming story of hope | Source

Homelessness Presents a Variety of Adventures

Susin Nielsen's No Fixed Address is an engaging story of an all-too-familiar-crisis that is occurring in the lives of many children in our society today. She writes with both humorous and heartbreaking events that Felix encounters when his family is experiencing homelessness after losing their apartment. His mom has a hard time keeping a job and after they lose their apartment, they must live in their van. His mom swears him to secrecy. He is unable to share this disaster with even his best friends at school. His mom tells him that if he tells anyone about their plight he can be taken away and placed in a foster home. That would be worse!

A sliver of progress happens when Felix is able to enrolled in a new school after his mom tells a few white lies to get the acceptance. One does what one must do when survival is on the line. There are some new friends for Felix. They manage to hide the fact that they are still living in the van. All is going well. An exciting opportunity for Felix comes when he is able to appear on his favorite tv show that showcases his interest in trivia. Felix has always been interested in writing about the who, what , when, and where of events and this trivia show is an awesome opportunity to win a cash prize that would really help his mom. Felix is the winner, but a surprise catch to the collection of the winning cash prize. Nielsen interjects the idea of having faith in God at the end of story. Faith and friends help Felix on the continued journey of regaining a home.

No Fixed Address was published by Random House Children's Books and is recommended for ages 10+. It has an ISBN of 978-1-5247-6834-8. Nielsen's engaging story is a great addition to a school library.

Vans and Hotels are a Part of Homelessness for Children in Our Society Today

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Opportunities for Teachable Moments with No Fixed Address

Teachers who teach children in the middle grades will find Susin Nielsen's No Fixed Address to be an on-topic chapter book for reading in a group reading session through a period of weeks or a book to assign to students to use for a reading project or social project on homelessness in our society today. There is a very high chance that there are homeless children in classes around your school. Some children do not share their secret of homelessness as Felix did not share his secret, but there is still a high chance that some are known to be homeless. No Fixed Address presents the opportunity for children to explore their feelings and to find ways to help a child in their school who might be homeless.

*Read No Fixed Address in a group reading session. Children enjoy reading chapter books aloud in a period of weeks. Teachers may read to the class or students may share the reading aloud each day.

*The opportunity may arise to explore the topic of homelessness and to discover that that there are homeless children in the school environment. Children may feel comfortable after reading this story and want to share the fact that they are homeless. No Fixed Address presents the opportunity to share this experience in real life.

*Make a class graph of the number of children who are actually homeless and attend your school if children are willing to share their information.

*Brainstorm with children to get their thoughts on homelessness and how it affects families. Have they ever seen homeless children with their families on the streets of their community?

*Engage children in a discussion on how to help a friend who might be homeless.

*Children might like to start a class project to help homeless classmates or others who are homeless in their community. Collections of needed items, food products, and personal care items are just a few of the suggestions that could be collected to share with any homeless child in the school.

Projects to Help Homeless Classmates

Does your school have homeless students and does the school provide help to these students?

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© 2018 Cindy Hewitt

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