Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

He’s big, likes to surf, take bubble baths and do back-flips, and oh yes, he’s an imaginary cat. He’s also Jackson’s imaginary friend. But the word imaginary doesn’t do him justice, because he’s the most reliable thing in Jackson’s life.

He comes when Jackson needs him most.

When Jackson was six his parents became one of the working homeless. They had jobs but couldn’t make ends meet. They loaded up Jackson, his baby sister, and their dog in their minivan for fourteen weeks of “camping.” The truth was they had nowhere else to go. Years later it looks like they are going to have to do it again. Jackson is terrified, so Crenshaw is back. He doesn’t have all the answers because there are no answers. But he does help Jackson find what he needs to keep going. He makes him a promise Jackson won’t forget either: he’ll never be far away, even when he grows up. What Jackson needs most is hope and he discovers it can look like many things including a giant cat!

Crenshaw is a heart-warming tribute to the innocence of childhood and the power of imagination. It is also a heart-breaking look at the plight of the working poor making it a must read.