National Reading Month

We’re filling our book shelf with must-reads for children and families


Access to books as a child is widely accepted as one of the two most important indicators of academic and lifetime success. It is also associated with positive behavioral, educational and psychological outcomes. Yet nearly two-thirds of low-income families do not own a single children’s book.

Books read by a loving adult can prompt understanding, relay new concepts and aid in the coping and healing process. This is particularly beneficial to children who have experienced the chronic stress and trauma associated with homelessness like those at Horizons. Reading with a loving adult builds motivation, curiosity and memory.

“Reading exposes children to the world beyond their neighborhood – to possibilities beyond their current circumstances,” said Wendy Kennedy, Director of Education at Horizons.

The introduction of new characters and ideas can introduce concepts in a more accessible and safe way than a direct conversation. Selecting and sharing well-written literature is a simple but powerful way to empower children.

Horizons for Homeless Children has long been committed to providing access to books and literacy opportunities as key components of its curriculum. Many of the children served by Horizons in its Early Education centers and Playspaces do not have regular or adequate access to books at home. To address this issue, Horizons has thoughtfully curated a series of books and is in the process of putting them in its classrooms and each of its more than 90 Playspaces across Massachusetts. These books include the high-quality classics and convey important themes like courage, inclusion, acceptance, perseverance, accountability/responsibility, self-regulation, handling emotions, diversity and self-esteem. In addition to making these books available and educating staff and volunteers about how to best share them, Horizons is also investing in creating literature-rich spaces so that children are repeatedly exposed to fundamentals that support literacy skills.

National Reading Month-Horizons For Homeless Children

Have a look at what’s on our bookshelf for National Reading Month.

Baby! Talk! by Penny Gentieu – This unique board book has been specially created for parents and older children to share with new babies, helping to lay the foundation for secure attachment and early language skills.

Brown Bear (bilingual) by Bill Martin Jr and Eric Carle-  This high- quality classic board book is presented in English and Spanish and is an early introduction to words and their meanings.

Charlotte and the Quiet Place by Deborah Sosin-  Sometimes children need a break from our noisy, over-stimulating world. Charlotte and the Quiet Place shows how a child learns and practices mindful breathing on her own and experiences the beauty of silence.

Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae- This tale is gentle inspiration for every child with dreams of greatness.

Global Babies (bilingual) by The Global Fund for Children- Babies love to look at babies and this bright collection of photos is a ticket to an around-the-world journey.

Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard- A little exercise and companionship help Bird overcome his bad mood.

Hands Are Not for Hitting by Martine Agassi-  – In this bright, inviting, durable board book, simple words and full-color illustrations teach important concepts in ways even very young children can understand.

Have you Filled a Bucket Today? By Carol McCloud- Readers imagine an invisible bucket that follows them everywhere

and teaches young readers valuable lessons about giving, sharing, and caring.

I am Baby by Katherine Madeline Allen – Photos of happy babies and words that encourage readers make this an irresistible read-aloud for every child and family.

I am Enough by Grace Byers-  This is a gorgeous, lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another.

Jabari Jump by Gaia Cornwall- This sweetly appealing tale is about overcoming your fears.

Making Faces: A First Book of Emotions by Abrams Appleseed- This bold, beautiful board book introduces five essential expressions: happy, sad, angry, surprised, and silly.

One by Kathryn Otoshi- Learn about accepting each other’s differences and how it sometimes just takes one voice to make everyone count.

Spaghetti in a Hotdog Bun by Maria Dismondy- This charming story empowers children to always do the right thing and be proud of themselves, even when they are faced with someone as challenging as Ralph.

Swimmy by Leo Lionni-  Swimmy shows his friends how—with ingenuity and team work—they can overcome any danger.

The Way I Feel by Janan Cain-  This book uses strong, colorful, and expressive images which go along with simple verses to help children connect the word and the emotion.