Parents' Guide to


By Joly Herman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Poverty, being unhoused explored in hopeful tale.

Parked Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 1 parent review

age 10+

Heartfelt, Uplifting Book

(Spoilers ahead!) Parked is a lovely book that alternates from the points of view of Jean Anne and Cal. Jean Anne is living in her orange van (dubbed, The Carrot. She and her mother just moved to San Francisco from Chicago, and are nearly broke. They have to park their van in a parking lot full of other homeless people that is right across from a whole bunch of giant fancy houses. Cal lives in one of the houses across the street, and keeps watch over everyone who goes in and out of the parking lot. When Jean Anne and her mom park in their spot, he knows that he has to help. The spot they chose always gets towed, ALWAYS. Cal is constantly trying to help Jean Anne and her mom out by giving them money or inviting Jean Anne over to his house, but Jean Anne is having none of it. She does not believe in handouts and wants little more than to be left alone by this strange boy so she and her mother can figure something out. But as time goes on, Jean Anne's mother works more and more, and so Cal is able to form a tentative friendship with Jean Anne. Jean Anne gives Cal advice on how to survive middle school, and Cal... he tries his best. Jean Anne is stubborn, but eventually begins to trust Cal. In the end, Jean Anne's mother gets a decent job, and they start saving money for rent. Cal and Jean Anne are good friends. Oh yeah. The reason I rated this 10+ is because children any younger might not get the whole poverty thing.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

This relatable and beautifully told story of struggle and friendship looks at poverty in America, while maintaining a feeling of hope. Romanticizing or criticizing the burden that Jeanne Ann and her mom face would cut into the momentum of the story, but it stays real, and at the same time, age-appropriate. Parked explores the sacrifice people make to realize their American dreams.

Parked is told in two voices: Jeanne Ann's and a boy named Cal, who watch each other from across the street. Cal lives in an ultra modern luxury home, whereas Jeanne Ann lives in a van. He's sensitive; she's tough. He wants to help; she refuses his charity. Kids will like the dance and tension between characters, and they will relate to Jeanne Ann's ability to survive on peanut butter and pretzels. But they will also root for Cal, whose awkward efforts to help really do come from the heart in this optimistic tale of survival in the big city.

Book Details

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