Books – Poverty


High Rise Stories: Voices from Chicago Public Housing
Former residents of Chicago’s iconic public housing projects describe life in the now-demolished high rises. These oral histories of community, displacement, and poverty in the wake of gentrification give voice to those who have long been ignored, but whose hopes and struggles exist firmly at the heart of our national identity. Accompanying Lesson plans available.

  • Author: Audrey Petty (editor)
  • Publisher: Voice of Witness/McSweeney’s
  • Grade Level: middle school – college/adult
  • Subject Area: social studies

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, 2009
Stories of extraordinary women that show how a little help can transform the lives of women and girls abroad. Shows that the key to economic progress lies in unleashing the unexploited economic potential of the female half of the population. It’s also the best strategy for fighting poverty.

  • Author: Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
  • Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2009
  • Grade Level: high school – adult
  • Subject Area: social studies, women’s studies

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America
The author investigates the lives of the working poor in America by going under cover to work low-wage jobs across America, learning how difficult it is to eat, find shelter, and survive earning poverty-level wages.  Accompanying teaching guides available.

  • Author: Barbara Ehrenreich
  • Source: Metropolitan Books, 2001
  • Grade Level: high school – adult
  • Subject Area: social studies, economics