"A must read…may our incredible and powerful gift to imagine take us through hard times."

Cristina Arias, Domestic Violence Action Center of Hawaii


"A shelter becomes a safe place to explore together in this reassuring book."

—Jesica Dehart, Neill Public Library

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"[A]n excellent choice to start conversations about homelessness, poverty, and social services that support those who need them." 

—Myra Zarnowski, Queens College

 

"[E]vokes a sense of immediacy"

—Kirkus Reviews

LEARN ABOUT HOMELESSNESS

Young readers see a shelter through a child's eyes, showing them what shelters look like, what kinds of services they offer, and what it might be like to stay at one. By deepening their grasp of the impact of homelessness, the story builds empathy and a vocabulary for children to express their thoughts on feelings on the topic.

AUTHOR WITH RELEVANT PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

Author Erin Gunti is a social services professional who has specialized in helping children who experience homelessness. To ensure accuracy, the creative team consulted with homeless and shelter experts, as well as families experiencing homelessness. Educational notes at the end include more facts about homelessness and shelters to reinforce learning.

COMBATS STEREOTYPES

Reinforces the reality that there are many reasons a family may experience homelessness, while affirming children who share the main character's perspective. Opens doors for a compassionate conversation with children about the factors that can contribute to homelessness, such as systemic social issues or family and personal challenges.

THE POWER OF CREATIVITY

With her mother's help, the main character uses her imagination to overcome her unease about the new place in a touching display of the power of creativity to help us grow through adversity.

YSRB Logo  "This is a special book in that it focuses on the experience of a little girl in a homeless shelter -- a great way to introduce young children to this problem in our communities. […] There is no back story as to why they are in this situation so it can be interpreted many different ways (lost job, natural disaster, domestic abuse). […] What is especially nice about this book is that there is a section in the back that explains to young children the purpose of shelters. There is also information about what is in shelters, how shelters help people, and how the community (including children) can help support shelters. I can see this book being a great way to introduce community involvement to young children -- what they can do to help other children less fortunate in their community."
—Kristin Guay, Youth Services Book Review
  "This book is touching and very enlightening. The author is so thoughtful and addresses a challenging situation in such an empathetic and gentle way. The characters foster connections that demonstrate strength and resilience, finding comfort and joy in a difficult time. The author uses an upbeat and fun way to foster imagination; and, the illustrations are bright and beautiful. This book will tug at heartstrings, but also work to raise awareness and empathy."
—Endorsement Quote, April 2019
  "Presents an underrepresented topic in a cheerful and non-threatening way"
—Librarian, Herndon High School
Rosemary Kiladitis  "[S]ensitive to a child's concerns over staying in a shelter, using the main character to communicate those fears, and her mother, to assuage them. […] A Place to Stay is an important addition to your libraries. Author Erin Gunti wrote A Place to Stay: A Shelter Story after working as a child abuse and neglect investigator, to open a dialogue between adults and children about childhood homelessness. Her experiences come through with subtle nuances throughout the book […] Artist Esteli Meza uses soothing, soft colors to bring her story to life."
—Rosemary Kiladitis, Librarian

  

   "The flat, bright pencil-and-acrylic naïve-style illustrations succeed, with charming make-believe sequences and wide-eyed characters exuding hope. Except for a tearful woman shown on one page, readers could infer that residents feel welcomed and safe. Youngsters believing shelters are cheerless and impersonal may be comforted by the clean, colorful, and cozy facility. The backmatter offers lucid information about homelessness and shelters. A comforting, accessible introduction to a not often discussed subject."
— 
Kirkus Reviews
Communication Window logo  "I have personally accompanied moms and their children enter homeless shelters and witnessed how much mothers tried to make it a better experience for their kids. This book allows readers to foster imagination! The characters are relatable, the illustrations are vivid, detailed and beautiful. The book promotes positive interaction between the mothers and her child and their journey is realistic. Its conclusion is quite satisfying that amidst an unfortunate sad situation, child finds some comfort . A must read…may our incredible and powerful gift to imagine take us through hard times."
—Cristina Arias, Pulama I Ka Ohana (PIKO) program at the Domestic Violence Action Center of Hawaii
  "Arriving to a new place is full of unknowns. Hand in hand, Mama leads her child and gently answers her questions and creates a realm of safety that is rich with imagination and developmentally appropriate wonder despite the circumstances. A shelter becomes a safe place to explore together in this reassuring book that can be applied to so many new circumstances."
—Jesica Dehart, Librarian at Neill Public Library
  "As a mother and child approach a shelter, the child is reluctant to enter and clutches a familiar toy. Mom suggests that the child think of the shelter as a palace, her bed as a rocket ship, and the dining hall as a banquet hall. By helping the child use her imagination to cope with these new and unfamiliar surroundings, the mother makes this setting feel comfortable and promising. This straightforward, yet gentle and caring introduction to understanding why people need shelters and the services they provide is an excellent choice to start conversations about homelessness, poverty, and social services that support those who need them. The informative back matter answers two questions: Why do people stay in shelters? How can shelters help?"
—Myra Zarnowski, Academic at Queens College



Erin Gunti grew up in the small town of Lula, Georgia, USA. After working as a child abuse and neglect investigator, she wrote A Place to Stay: A Shelter Story to open a dialogue between adults and children about childhood homelessness. She hopes the book will serve as a call to activism to support those in need. A Place to Stay is her first project with Barefoot Books.



Award-winning illustrator Estelí Meza holds a Master's Degree in Visual Arts from the National Autonomous University of Mexico and has exhibited her work internationally. She illustrates books for children as well as culture magazines in Mexico. This is her first project for Barefoot Books.

     

  

A Place to Stay: A Shelter Story

This simple, touching picture book shows readers a women's shelter through the eyes of a young girl, who with her mother's help, uses her imagination to overcome her anxiety and adjust. Includes factual endnotes detailing various reasons people experience homelessness and the resources available to help.

AVAILABLE AUGUST 2019

AGES 5 - 9  | 32PP | 8.5 x 10.8IN

HARDCOVER | 9781782858249 $16.99 USD
PAPERBACK | 9781782858256 | $8.99 USD

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