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Lily and the Paper Man
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Lily and the Paper Man

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  87 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Walking with her mother on the way home from school one day, Lily runs straight into a gruff and untidy-looking man selling papers on the street. Frightened, Lily insists on taking the bus home every day for fear she will run into him again. But when the weather turns cold, Lily starts to see the Paper Man differently; she sees his bare toes through the holes in his boots ...more
Hardcover, 24 pages
Published 2007 by Second Story Press
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Average rating 4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  87 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Dec 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone Looking for Picture-Books Addressing Hunger & Homelessness
Lily always enjoyed walking home from school with her mother, until the day she encountered a scruffy-looking older man, selling newspapers outside of Mrs. Chan's store. Terrified by his unsmiling face, growling voice, and unkempt appearance, Lily began to opt for the bus, in order to avoid this frightening "Paper Man." But then one snowy day, enchanted by the winter wonderland around her, Lily decided to walk home again, and (bumping into the Paper Man) noticed some things she had overlooked be ...more
Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan
Nov 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: to teach/discuss empathy, for discussion on how children/one person can make a difference
Recommended to Lisa (not getting friends updates) by: Abigail A.
This is the story of Lily, a young empathetic girl, who is first afraid of the poverty stricken and likely homeless neighborhood paper man, then notices his condition, and with great generosity figures out how she can help and, with a bit of help from her parents, implements her plan. People who meet/know Lily will feel proud of her and like her.

I do have to say that while I did really like this book, I also feel like a curmudgeon, Scrooge, and a kill joy wrapped up into one. One of my pet peeve
Morgan Dunton
This picture book is great for a lesson on poverty. Lily, the main character, and her story with the homeless man, makes it easier for children to relate and understand her. Just like other children, she is at first very scared of the homeless man. But towards the end of the story, she sets a goal to help him. She teaches a lesson on how we can make small changes to help someone struggling with poverty.
Krista Lutgring
This book tells the incredible story of young Lily who is first afraid of the homeless man but when winter rolls around she becomes empathetic and wants to help him. I love this story because it may be relatable for many young students and can open doors for children to ask more questions. The idea of homelessness can sometimes be hard for young children to understand if they do not experience it for themselves and this book does a great job of starting the conversation.
Carla Johnson-Hicks
Dec 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Lily is a little girl who walks home from school with her mother everyday, until she sees the Paper Man. She becomes frightened of the homeless man who tries to make a living selling papers for $1.00. After that they take the bus home each day. When winter comes and the first snowfall beckons, she wants to walk again. When she sees the paper man she notices that he is not very well dressed and he is not wearing socks, she can see his toes through the holes in his shoes. She asks her mother about ...more
Mar 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Really engaging and age appropriate book about homelessness. It easily passes my I-can-read-it-ten-times-aloud (hmm, new acronym? Acritta?) bar, and brought me to tears the first time I read it to my 3-1/2 year old. The illustrations are lovely. I don't my daughter yet understands the class issues, or exactly what homelessness is, but the first time we read it, she was spurred to ask interesting questions about why someone wouldn't have a home (and, uncomfortably for us grown-ups, why they don't ...more
Dec 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I love to see stories that challenge children to think and to feel grateful for what they have, and I can see that 'Lily and the Paperman' would do just that. Full of points for discussion in the school classroom and within the family, Lily's sensitive contemplation of the paperman and her attempt at resolving the situation is heart-warming and educational. Adult readers would appreciate that this is indeed not the end of Ray's misery, but it is an excellent starting point for children. The acco ...more
Nov 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: acts-of-kindness
Perfect book to demonstrate how children can do simple acts to help the needy in their community.
Fatima Khan
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lily and the paper Man is a simple yet engaging story about a young girl named Lily. While out with her mother on the way home from school one day, Lily encounters an untidy-looking man selling papers on the street. Lily is afraid of the man at first and convinces her mother to take a bus everyday in order to avoid him. When winter comes and the first snowfall arrives, she wants to walk again. When she sees the paper man again, she notices that he is not very well dressed and he is not wearing s ...more
Sarah Roberts
Oct 22, 2020 rated it liked it
In this story a young girl sees a man who is homeless selling newspapers and she feels scared. Over the course of a few weeks, she realizes that she wants to help the man rather than avoid him. She gathers warm clothing and a special quilt to give to the man. She does all of this on her own which makes her feel happy. I am not sure if I would use this book in my future classroom. I do like the honesty that I think many people can relate to of being scared of homeless people but the ending is ove ...more
Faith Harvieux
Oct 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Lily and the Paper Man is a great introduction to a lesson on Socioeconomic status. Lily is a little girl who has a lot on her mind. When she sees the homeless man who is selling newspaper she is very confused. I am sure that many children her age have felt this way in the past, especially those living in the city. Lily asks her parents about the situation and really wants to help the man. At the end of the story, Lily gives the homeless man clothes. This gesture of generosity is a great thing t ...more
Laura Weakland
What a great story for helping kids develop empathy for those in need. Can’t wait to share this “taking care of others” message with my students! Would also love to do a service project with them as well.
Rev Gary
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
A wonderful story of how a man in need touches a little girl’s heart. She sees a need and does something about it. Adults should read it. The story brought tears.
Sherry Scheline
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow! What an incredible story.
Canadian Children's Book Centre
Lily lives in a neighborhood where everyone is friendly and familiar. But that all changes when she crashes straight into a homeless man selling newspapers on the street. Terrified by his bedraggled appearance and growling voice, Lily avoids him from that day on…until the first snow fall. Then Lily starts to notice just how cold he looks in the icy winter air, shuffling from foot-to-foot with his bright red ears and thin, torn clothes, and slowly she realizes that she can do something to help. I ...more
Kim Wagner
Oct 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: homelessness
This is a simple story about a young girl named Lily. While out with her mother, Lily encounters a grubby man on the street selling newspapers. Each day, her mother buys a newspaper from the grubby, and probably homeless, man. Lily is afraid of the man at first, and convinces her mother to ride the bus in order to avoid him. When the weather turns cold, Lily asks her mother why the paper man has no socks. Lily's mother gives Lily her fist lesson in social reality--not everyone is as fortunate as ...more
Kelly McKeon
This text allows students to better understand poverty and homelessness. The main character, Lily, much like my own students, is frightened of a poor and possibly homeless man she seems every morning selling papers. She further explores within why she is scared, and soon realizes that rather than be afraid, she needs to help him. Students will connect with Lily and further find themselves proud of her as she attacks her plan with the help of her parents. This story will teach empathy and persona ...more
Jul 15, 2015 rated it liked it
A very romanticized tale of a little girl who fears a neighborhood homeless man, but then wants to help him when she realizes how cold he is in winter. To be honest, I think Lily's intentions are great, but it makes all of the adults in her life look like assholes. The parents, who also obviously know how cold the man is, can't take the time to stop and buy him a hat? That's pretty crappy. Kudos to teaching kids to be nice to people who have less than they do, but if the parents aren't going to ...more
Like Lily, our daughter was put off by the Paper Man. It took quite a bit of encouragement for her to read this story with us. After several attempts, we just started reading and eventually she sat down beside us. This is an exceptional story that effectively introduces personal hardship, empathy, and kindness without overplaying any one of those themes.
Feb 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is all about the game of hockey. As a Canadian I am supposed to love hockey, but I don’t. As a result I do not love or hate this book. My toddler likes it, but doesn’t ask for it regularly.
I would not buy it for myself, but would if I knew a hockey fan who read to a toddler.


Review from Raising Fairies and Knights
Apr 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Lily is frightened by the gruff looking and shabbily dressed man who sells papers on their street. As fall changes into winter and she realizes that the man doesn't have adequate clothing for the cold, she gets an idea on how she can make a difference. This book is a good discussion starter about homeless or others less fortunate to help children understand compassion and generosity toward others. ...more
Jul 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Fall rain surrenders to vividly blustering snow as a young girl thinks her way from fear through curiosity, empathy and finally into action in this heartwarming tale of hardship and humanity.

You can listen in on our chat about this book on our Just One More Book! Children's Book Podcast.
Karen Upper
Feb 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A heart warming tale of a young girl taking the initiative and making a difference....taking the first step and by doing so involves a variety of community members, as well as her family, to come to the aid of someone less fortunate!

A wonderful story to inspire kindness and generousity!

Dec 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Young Lily is afraid of the imposing man who sells papers on the corner until she takes some time to notice how little he has as the weather turns cold. In my bag for my "season of generosity" lesson plans. ...more
Jun 29, 2014 added it
Shelves: social-justice
This book shows a fear of the unknown and overcoming that to find understanding, compassion and empathy. It teaches students to keep an open mind and see people for humans. It also brings up the idea of activism. Lily sees something unjust and comes up with a plan to help fix it.
Nov 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Great book. Made me cry. My son loved it.
rated it it was amazing
Dec 12, 2015
Bitsy Griffin
rated it really liked it
Jul 21, 2018
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Nov 08, 2019
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Oct 13, 2019
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