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Book Selections for National Homeless Awareness Week! October 19, 2010

Posted by abhomeless in Events.
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National Homeless Awareness Week is November 14-20 and we have some special things planned! As part of our activities we’ll select a book about homelessness to read with the entire community.

And – we need your help!

Review the list below to help us select the perfect book for Asheville and Buncombe county schools, libraries, book clubs, and faith groups to read during National Homeless Awareness Week.

You can cast your vote by posting a comment on this blog post, or commenting at our Facebook page . Voting is open until October 29 and we’ll announce the winning book on November 1. So stay tuned!

We’ll be posting information about Homeless Awareness week and our community book reading event on here, the Homeless Initiative website, and our new Facebook page.

Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homelessness to Harvard by Liz Murray

“In the harrowing tale of her childhood in the Bronx, [Liz] Murray’s straightforward and no-frills prose hits hard. …Regarding her parents’ [drug] addiction with the utmost benevolence, Murray tells of bearing the weighty burden of young protector to her obviously flailing parents, and eventually living on the streets when it was less unhappy—and perhaps safer—than staying at home. With no resources to speak of, she ultimately commits to high school and finds her prospects can be great. Neither sensationalizing nor soliciting pity, Murray’s generous account of and caring attitude toward her past are not only uplifting, but also a fascinating lesson in the value of dedication.” –From the Booklist review

Liz Murray’s story was made into a 2003 film starring Thora Birch called Homeless to Harvard.

Rachel and Her Children: Homeless Families in America by Jonathan Kozol

“A horrifying, staggering book about the homeless in this country.  …The true heart of this book …rests on two points: the lack of affordable housing for the poor and, most tragically, the children who will become adults with little education, poor health, no marketable skills, and mental and emotional scars from spending a childhood under these conditions. Kozol’s writing is clear and reads easily due to his stark, unembellished style. It is always the people who shine through; they are a testament to the human spirit. It is impossible to read this book and remain untouched.” –From the School Library Journal Review

The Soloist by Steve Lopez

“…[Nathaniel] Ayers had been at Juilliard studying classical bass when he experienced the first in a series of schizophrenic episodes that turned his musical dreams into a nightmare. Now, worlds away from the concert halls he imagined gracing, Ayers spends his days on Los Angeles’ Skid Row, fighting off rats and drug-frenzied fellow homeless—and serenading passersby. …[Steve] Lopez [an LA Times columnist and novelist] quickly becomes an integral part of Ayers’ life…” –From the Booklist review

The Soloist was made into a 2009 film starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr.

Are you interested in joining us or helping us during National Homeless Awareness Week?

Are you part of a book club who might want to read this book?

Would you like someone to give a presentation to your group about homelessness?

Contact the Homeless Initiative to learn more.



1. Siobhan - October 19, 2010

Does it need to be an American book? When I was teaching I used to read Stone Cold by Robert Swindells with students to help them appreciate the dangers and challenges faced by homeless people. It is a fictional novel, but I think it does help people connect with people they would otherwise turn away from.

2. Emily Ball - November 3, 2010

You guys should also read Same Kind of Different As Me, by Ron Hall & Denver Moore. Denver grew up sharecropping in Louisiana, never attended school or learned to read & write, etc., and eventually left to land in Fort Worth, homeless. Ron was a wealthy art dealer in Fort Worth, and his wife convinced him to start volunteering at a shelter, where they met Denver. It’s a great read and goes back & forth between the two narrators, so it offers the perspective of each & has a lot to teach us about why people are homeless, how homelessness impacts them, and how we can get involved with them in meaningful ways.

3. Asheville Buncombe Homeless Initiative launches social media tools « City Departments « City of Asheville Blog - November 12, 2010

[…] both launched this fall, and is using those venues to get out information about events like the community book read and the calendar of events for National Homelessness and Hunger Awareness […]

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