Homeless people can be some of life’s greatest teachers. Austin American Statesman columnist Judith Knotts shares their stories and the lessons she has learned from spending time living among the homeless people of her community as one of them.

You Are My Brother is a collection of short stories, all true, about the author’s encounters with homeless people and the epiphanies that she experienced from meeting; lessons we can all learn from.

Although it’s a collection of stories, at its core, it is an inspirational book meant to connect all of us to a distinctly different environment and to each other—stimulating reflection and possibly change, encouraging us to really see this faceless community of dwellers.


  • How far would you go for someone you don’t know?
  • Judy is the voice of a population that’s typically invisible/unnoticed/unrecognized.
  • How her days living as a homeless person among them keep her grounded to this community.
  • The need to not make sweeping judgements about those who are homeless; each and every one of them has a story to tell.
  • The goal is to change peoples’ perspectives on homelessness – what can we all do to help?
  • Stories are about the homeless in Texas, but the issue is a national one. What is Austin, Texas doing that other major cities might emulate?
  • Actionable steps cities can take to help the homeless


  • Self-Improvement Month – September
  • Read a New Book Month – September
  • International Day of Charity – September 5
  • Catholic Women’s Conference Diocese of Austin (breakout speaker) – September 7
  • World Gratitude Day – September 21
  • National Book Month – October
  • World Smile Day – October 5
  • Evaluate your Life Day – October 19
  • National Homeless Youth Awareness Month – November
  • Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week – November 16-24
  • Women’s Club of Austin (headlining speaker at luncheon) – November 15


Judith Knotts is a failed violinist and tap dancer. Her professional career has centered on education as a consultant to schools, school head, and writer. She is interested in how human beings develop and become who they are. Dr. Knotts’ journey into the homeless world began when she was in her sixties and continues into her seventies. She believes change always brings with it an invitation to become our best selves.


“An intense and immensely humanitarian glimpse at a marginalized population that shows how a little inspiration and understanding can go a long way.” – Kirkus Reviews