Reading for Empathy

To help build empathy for our homeless neighbors, Jenny Ryan and the team at Saskatoon Public Library (Saskatchewan, Canada) built a book list on homelessness.


  • Searching for Sam – Sophie Bienvenu
  • Scarborough – Catherine Hernandez
  • Ragged Company – Richard Wagamese
  • Little Family – Ishmael Beah
  • The Tender Birds – Carole Giangrande
  • What Strange Paradise – Omar El Akkad
  • Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman
  • Parable of the Sower – Octavia Butler
  • All We Had – Annie Weatherwax
  • At the Edge of the Haight – Katherine Seligman
  • Brave Girl, Quiet Girl – Catherine Hyde
  • The Motel Life – Willy Vlautin
  • The Break – Katherena Vermette
  • Lullabies for Little Criminals – Heather O’Neill
  • The Onion Girl – Charles De Lint
  • Forest Green – Kate Pullinger
  • Anatomy of a Girl Gang – Ashley Little
  • Stanley Park – Timothy Taylor
  • The Dregs – Lonnie Nadler & Zac Thompson (Graphic Novel)
  • Up and Down on the Downtown Eastside – Chris Walter
  • Like a Child to Home – Bill Engleson


  • From the Ashes: My Story of Being Métis, Homeless, and Finding My Way – Jesse Thistle
  • The Glass Castle – Jeannette Walls
  • Runaway: Diary of a Street Kid – Evelyn Lau
  • How Poetry Saved My Life: A Hustler’s Memoir – Amber Dawn
  • Breakfast at Sally’s: One Homeless Man’s Inspirational Journey – Richard LeMieux
  • The Salt Path – Raynor Winn
  • Nowhere to Call Home: Photographs and Stories of People Experiencing Homelessness – Leah Denbok
  • The Unexpected Guest: How a Homeless Man from the Streets of L.A. Redefined Our Home – Michael Konik
  • Walk to Beautiful: The Power of Love and a Homeless Kid Who Found the Way – Jimmy Wayne
  • Homeless by Choice – Roy Juarez Jr.
  • A Gift of Hope: Helping the Homeless – Danielle Steel
  • Finding Murph: How Joe Murphy went from Winning a Championship to Living Homeless in the Bush – Rick Westhead
  • 48: An Experiential Memoir on Homelessness – Sheldon Jacobs
  • This is All I Got: A New Mother’s Search for Home – Lauren Sandler
  • Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League – Dan-El Padilla Peralta
  • Catching Homelessness: A Nurse’s Story of Falling Through the Safety Net – Josephine Ensign
  • Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century – Jessica Bruder
  • Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City – Matthew Desmond