The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) estimates that tens of millions of homeless children spend a large portion of their lives on the streets, where they are exposed to all forms of abuse and exploitation. In Brazil, approximately eight million children are in this situation. Despite the prolonged and increasing gravity of this situation, there are few and only partial studies showing how these children have been represented in Brazilian literature. Brazilian authors ignored the problem almost completely until the decade of 1960, with the exception of Jorge Amado and a few others. Since then João Antônio, Rubem Fonseca, Clarice Lispector, José Louzeiro, Chico Buarque de Holanda, and Paulo Lins, among many others have chosen to make street children characters in fiction. Many of the greater successes in Brazilian literature during the past years directly or indirectly address the theme of street children. This thesis documents the gradual inclusion of the sociological phenomenon of street children—so long ignored in Brazilian society and even more so in imaginative literature—into the Brazilian literary canon and suggests that the consciousness-raising activity of these writers is a profound contribution to any eventual solution to this problematic demographic. Our review is a historical one, beginning with the first years of Brazilian colonization and running through to the twenty-first century.



College and Department

Humanities; Spanish and Portuguese



Date Submitted


Document Type





meninos de rua, crianças em situação de risco, Jorge Amado, Paulo Lins