Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Still a Family: A Story about Homelessness” as Want to Read:
Still a Family: A Story about Homelessness
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Still a Family: A Story about Homelessness

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  248 ratings  ·  78 reviews
A little girl and her parents have lost their home and must live in a homeless shelter. Even worse, due to a common shelter policy, her dad must live in a men's shelter, separated from her and her mom. Despite these circumstances, the family still finds time to be together. They meet at the park to play hide-and-seek, slide on slides, and pet puppies. While the young girl ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published January 31st 2017 by Albert Whitman Company
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Still a Family, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Still a Family

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  248 ratings  ·  78 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Still a Family: A Story about Homelessness
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-5-star
This book is the story of a homeless family. The father must live in a men's shelter while the mother and daughter live in the women's shelter. Despite the living arrangements, they still come together for play, celebrations, and meals. They are still a family.

Homelessness is handled with empathy, gentleness and respect. This book, according to the author's notes, is aimed at homeless children. However, it would be a good book to bring up the subject matter with children of all backgrounds. What
The author, Brenda Reeves Sturgis writes that she wanted a way to give a voice to children who are homeless, living with their mother and with their father in a second shelter just for men. And of all the sweet things included or happening, they are "still" a family. Illustrated in child-like drawings, this young girl talks about the rows of cots and the noise, standing in line for long minutes for meals and playing with another girl and sharing her doll. Each one gives it a name. It's her birt ...more
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books

One thing I can tell you with absolute certainty from having worked in struggling communities is that children in disadvantaged neighborhoods are still children, and their families are still families. These families might look different from the ones we typically see in portrayed in picture books, and their lives might be different, but that doesn’t make them any less valid, any less real, any less important. Families are still families, no matter their material situation, and no child should ev
Jessica Brown
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I think this would be more of a 4, but the mere fact that you rarely, if ever, find the topic of homelessness in a children's book (let alone a picture book) made me love it to the point of a 5.
This is the story of a young girl who lives in a shelter with her mom, and her dad has to live in a different shelter (as they're typically gender-separated). Despite this, and despite how hard her life may seem and how much she longs for the comforts of having her family together and her bedroom, she st
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a sweet and sad book. Due to shelter policies, a little girl and her mom must live separately from her dad, who stays at a men's shelter down the street. The little girl's constant refrain throughout the book, "we are still a family," is both inspiring and heartbreaking. Children who read this one may pick up on the fact that the family was not always homeless; the little girl pines for her old, quiet bedroom while she tries to sleep in the noisy shelter. This is an important book; I've ...more
Michele Knott
A really important book to share with all readers. The message of still being a family will be important for someone to hear.
Morgan Baumbach
Summary: A young girl, her doll, and her mother live in a Women's shelter. Although they are separated by distance due to her father living in a different shelter, the little girl sees it important to remember that they are still a family! The reality of living life homeless is captured by the young character.

Personal Response: This book is so eye-opening. It is written very purposefully to show young readers that being homeless is hard, but it should not define who you are. I love the stress on
Good, and on a topic rarely seen in kidlit.
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This important picture book shows how a family who is experiencing homelessness continues to foster connections that demonstrate their love for one another. The little girl who narrates the book must stay in one shelter with her mother while her father stays at a different one. They sleep on cots among other people and the little girl must share her doll with the other children there. Sometimes they meet her father in the park to spend time together, though most of the time her parents are out l ...more
Aug 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a story about a family who lives in two different shelters; a family shelter and a men's shelter. Shows this concept to children with the colors and illustrations give a feeling of sadness and concern when showing the dilemma and the family wanting to be together. Presents a talking point with a class on all types of people and embracing children and families from all walks of life and experience. May stir some school children to action or kindness toward others and embracing those who h ...more
As other reviewers have commented, it is not easy to find homelessness dealt with in books for children, much less in a picture book. In this one, illustrated with drawings that resemble colorful sketches that a child might make, readers encounter a girl and her mother who are living in one shelter while their father lives in a different one. The text and images show the family trying to maintain its closeness despite the challenges of shelter life, which can be noisy, crowded, and provide littl ...more
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Although this book addressed such a depressing subject, the author does a good job of highlighting the importance of family and working hard to overcome hardships. Still a family, tackles the harsh reality of homelessness and how a family lives separately in a shelter due to policy stating men and w but still manages to make effort to remain close by meeting at the park and eating together. It is unfair and unfortunate that the dad has to live separate due to shelter policy, but I respect how ha ...more
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Sturgis, Brenda Reeves Still a Family, illustrated by Jo-Shin Lee. PICTURE BOOK. Albert Whitman, 2017. $16.99. Content: G.

It's hard to feel like a family when you and your mother live in one homeless shelter and your father lives in another. Still, the family in this story makes it work, even as they hope that one day soon they will be reunited under a roof of their own.

Still a Family deals with a very important topic that isn't addressed very often in children's stories. Not only could it help
Afiya Charaniya
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: family-text-set
This book is one of the only books I know that are about homelessness. The genre of the book is a children's realistic fiction book. The book was enjoyable to read even though the subject may be depressing. The little girl lived in a shelter with her mother, and her father lived in another shelter, but it is emphasized on every other page that they were "still a family." The family does a lot of things that "normal" families would do such as go to the park, eat together, celebrate different holi ...more
Olivia Rullman
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a must-read for children as young as 5! The beautiful and simple illustrations add authenticity to the personal narrative of a young girl living in a homeless shelter with her doll and mother. The colorful pages give the reader the idea she, herself crayoned her story in pictures. Her account of living apart from her father, who is in another shelter down the street, is heartwarming and offers a unique perspective of homelessness. She tells of how they meet up and are "still a family" de ...more
Selena Quinones
Feb 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book is about a little girl who lives in a shelter with her mom while her dad has to stay in a separate men's shelter. The author writes to give a voice to children that are homeless and can relate to the story. It is important to the little girl to remember that they are still a family regardless of the trials they face. Sturgis's writing is clear and understandable for children. The story is touching as the family remains together and hopeful, while also being sad since the little girl do ...more
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
The subject of homelessness is hard to talk about with kids, but so many children are homeless that this book is a must for libraries and schools, as well as homeless shelters. A child lives with her mom in a homeless shelter while her dad must stay at a shelter for men only. At one (heart-breaking) point, the small family builds a lean-to with a tarp they found in the trash and stay there in the rain. In the end, there is no easy resolution, but the child has a cupcake for her birthday. In the ...more
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: grade-3-5, grade-k-2
What a sad, but necessary book. This book right away makes you think that mom or dad are divorcing or one has passed away - but it's neither. This book tells us a story about a family who are homeless. Dad stays in a men's shelter while mom and daughter are in the women's shelter. They wait in line for the soup kitchen and they stay under a tarp in the rain. It's so sad that this story ever has to be told. Recommended Purchase. Grades K+. Not recommended for preschool just because of the depth o ...more
Kirsten Murphy
Wow! What an incredible, real look at the issue of homelessness among families in such a way that is respectful, endearing, and yet realistic to families living in this situation. A definite book for sharing and discussion.

NOTE TO SELF: use in Community Partners Program

homelessness, poverty,families, social issues

Maddi’s Fridge - Lois Brandt
Fly Away Home - Eve Bunting
The Teddy Bear - David McPhail
Last Stop on Market Street - Matt de la Pena
Crenshaw - Katherine Applega
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a really nice book explaining to a child how it is to be homeless written through a child's eye. She talks about how her family is separated due to multiple reasons (gender, parent tiring to find work, etc.), but how they are still a family. It's really endearing how the child finds hope, is kind and shares her doll with other children, and how sometimes it's hard for her family to be separated, but they're still a family, no matter where they are at. ...more
Mar 18, 2018 rated it liked it
My heart, omg. A very tender and truthful story about a young girl describing her situation with how she and her mother live in a separate shelter home from the father. It ends on a hopeful note but the story doesn't shy away from the fact that it's a difficult situation for the family to be in. Sweet moments are peppered in along with the sad moments. I don't think I've encountered many (any?) stories where readers get to see the perspective of a homeless child. ...more
Violeta Tistova
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: t-l-307
Genre: Picture Book

Copyright Date: 2017

Thoughts: This was a heartwarming book. Not all families look the same way and this showed that even though they can't live together at the moment, they're still a family.

Classroom Use: This would be a great book to open up a discussion on homelessness. Students may have experiences with this and showing them that you care can create a feeling of safety in the classroom.
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A family strives to continue doing all the things make them family even though their living situation is unstable. I love having the voice of the little girl in the family as the narrator. The author also does a good job of explaining the problems of homeless family in a caring way. Not preachy at all. This would be a great book to donate to shelters, and to share in story times.
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is a soft, gentle vehicle to explain homelessness. It shows how homeless shelters work. And it emphasizes that family is a value even when families are living separately due to poverty. A critical sentence from the author's note: "Sometimes a few paychecks are all that separate those who have a home from those who live in a shelter." ...more
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Children who are homeless rarely see themselves portrayed in books. Brenda Reeves Sturgis and Jo-Shin Lee have brought us a gentle read about the trials of homelessness and its everyday realities. This quiet book will also be a great discussion starter to answer questions young children might have about the subject. The Author's note and resources provide more information. For ages 3 - 8. ...more
Leslie Salley
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
While reading Sturgis' book in a one room library, I was struck by the watercolor illustrations and the youthfulness of the homeless parents. The father especially stood out with his simple smile and dotted, growing mustache. For the child in this story, being homeless is terrible and long, and the happy ending is found in the same refrain, "still a family" instead of in getting a home. ...more
Oct 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
A little girl and her parents have lost their home and are living in shelters: her mom and her in one, her dad in another. But they are still a family.

Although I initially thought the book was kind of a bummer, it's a fact of life. It really has the potential to reach out to children and teach compassion.
Lynn  Davidson
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A family - mother, father, young daughter - are separated because of the misfortune of no longer having their own home. The father stays nights in a men's shelter, while his wife and daughter stay nights in a women's shelter. But they're still a family. They meet during the day and go to the park together or try to find work - and they're still a family. ...more
May 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pb
A little girl and her mom live in a separate shelter from her dad, but they are still a family. A touching story that shows homelessness from the point of view of a child. Back matter shares different ways we can get involved.
“The needs of the homeless are limitless. Whatever you can do will matter, and it will help.“
Juli Anna
Apr 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
An important addition to library shelves; not many picture books depict the day-to-day lives of a family experiencing homelessness. The gentle watercolor illustrations help this book to feel lyrical rather than somber. The text felt somewhat stilted to me, and the "still a family" reprise came off as a little hokey, but this is absolutely still worth a read. ...more
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Three Pigs
  • Sam and the Lucky Money
  • Thank You, Omu!
  • Bear Came Along
  • A Big Mooncake for Little Star
  • More More More Said the Baby
  • Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
  • Rapunzel
  • Going Down Home with Daddy
  • All Are Welcome
  • The Old Truck
  • When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree
  • Antiracist Baby
  • A Chair for My Mother
  • Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear
  • Leonardo, the Terrible Monster
  • Home in the Woods
  • The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? (Pigeon series)
See similar books…

News & Interviews

Care to travel to past times for some serious drama? Check out this season's biggest historical fiction novels and be transported to tales of...
72 likes · 20 comments