Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
Jackson begins to worry that he is going crazy. Crenshaw, his imaginary friend from when he was in 1st grade, starts to show up again. No one else seems to notice him except the dog. Jackson is a little embarrassed to be seeing his imaginary friend. Maybe this is because Crenshaw is a big black and white cat who likes to do goofy things like stand on his head or make a bubble beard in the tub. But Jackson is also emotionally distressed about his family's financial problems. Jackson and his sister, Robin, often go to bed hungry. They had to sell a lot of their belongings. And now it looks like they might have to live in their car. Crenshaw gives Jackson a friend to lean on and advice to guide him through this tough time. This story is sweet and heartfelt. As for kid's experiences during difficult times, It rings true. It deserves a read and a spot on your shelf if only for children to gain a better understanding and capacity for empathy for those who face homelessness and hunger in our own community.