Fuse #8

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Books That Deal With Foster Care

An author e-mailed me yesterday wondering if I could help her come up with a great list of children's books, picture to YA, featuring foster care families and situations. I know plenty of us have read negative foster care books like Bud Not Buddy, by Christopher Paul Curtis, but what about the positive ones? Last year there was Jill Wolfson's, Home and Other Big Fat Lies, Road to Paris by Nikki Grimes, and I'll Sing You One-O by Nan Gregory. Oh! And Night of the Burning, by Linda Press Wulf. That was a good one.

But this author wants everything you have. Any suggestions you particularly prefer?



At 1:48 AM , Anonymous Jen Robinson said...

Pinballs by Betsy Byars. I loved it when I was in high school, and I believe it still holds up, because my 11 year old niece, out of the blue, told me that she loved it, too.

Also The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson. Another classic!

At 2:24 AM , Blogger Camille said...

I love Pictures of Hollis Wood by Patricia Reilly Griff.

At 2:29 AM , Blogger Jen said...

The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson.

At 5:36 AM , Blogger Monica Edinger said...

Lois Lowry's Gossamer.

At 7:21 AM , Blogger Barbara O'Connor said...

Taking Care of Moses by Barbara O'Connor :-)

At 7:40 AM , Blogger Mitali Perkins said...

Same Stuff As Stars by Paterson.
Becoming Naomi Leon by Munoz Ryan, even though the children are with their grandmother. I also just heard of this book by Pamela Lowell:

RETURNABLE GIRL, (Marshall Cavendish October 2006) A teen in foster care must choose between the woman who wants to adopt her
and the mother who abandoned her--amidst the bullying of middle school.


At 8:33 AM , Anonymous Mrs. K said...

The Wanderer by Sharon Creech (post-foster care, trying to become a part of her new adoptive family).

At 8:44 AM , Blogger Jane said...

Patricia MacLachlan's MAMA ONE, MAMA TWO.

And some day I will write something about my wonderful granddaughter Glendon, who came into our family as a non-practicing reader at 14 and graduated last year from Smith College with a degree in English Lit, Deans List all the way.

Jane Yolen

At 9:19 AM , Blogger Chris Barton said...

Surviving the Applewhites, by Stephanie Tolan.

At 9:36 AM , Blogger Charlotte said...

The Ocean Within, by V.M. Caldwell, is a lovely book about a withdrawn girl whose been bounced around foster homes and is taken into a large boisterous clan. There are also lots of good English books about WWII evacuees in foster care--Goodnight, Mr. Tom, by Michelle Magorian is a classic about an abused evacuee and a grumpy old man becoming a family. She also wrote two books dealing with what happens when the children come "home" --Cuckoo in the Nest, and Back Home. Another good evacuee story is I go by Sea, I go by Land, by PL Travers (Mary Poppins author).

At 10:07 AM , Blogger Joyce Moyer Hostetter said...

Check out QUAKING by Kathryn Erskine - (Philomel - June 2007) - a powerful, positive foster care story. (A timely tale about love and war!) Betsy, do you have the ARC?

At 10:39 AM , Blogger Sherry said...

I have a post on this topic in the works, inspired by my reading of The Higher Power of Lucky over the blog break. Isn't she a sort of a foster child?

At 11:09 AM , Blogger Kairi said...

Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech

At 11:24 AM , Anonymous Megan said...

Three cheers for The Great Gilly Hopkins! I love that book.

Locomotion and Our Gracie Aunt by Jacqueline Woodson
Thes second book looks at kinship placements in foster care.

Maybe Days illustrated by Alissa Imre Geis...can't remember the author. This isn't so much a story as it is an acknowledgement of the uncertainty that children in foster care face. Maybe it's even better for foster parents and case workers than it is for children in foster care themselves. We read it with our then 6 year old son when we were preparing to become foster parents so that he could start to grasp the state of limbo our family was entering. But, we haven't read it with any of the children we've fostered or adopted since. Has anyone out there read this book with foster children?

At 11:46 AM , Blogger Heather Tomlinson said...

Brent Hartinger's Last Chance Texaco ("Lucy Pitt is 15 when she is sent to Kindle Home, a group home and her last chance at a semi-normal life. If she makes any errors, she'll be sent to the high-security facility known as Eat-Their-Young Island.")

At 12:03 PM , Blogger Heather Tomlinson said...

and also The Book of Fred, by Abbi Bardi.

I don't think it was published as a YA novel, but the protagonist is 15, and I found it in the YA section at my library. (PW: "When 15-year-old Mary Fred Anderson's parents are charged with second-degree murder in the neglectful death of their son, Mary Fred is sent from the fundamentalist commune she's grown up in to the nearby Maryland suburbs and the foster care of a quirky 1990s family headed by librarian Alice Cullison, in this topical but uneven debut.")

At 6:33 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Illustrated Mum by Jacqueline Wilson

At 7:09 PM , Blogger Mitali Perkins said...

Oh, and isn't A Drowned Maiden's Hair a foster situation, as is Anne of Green Gables?

At 8:56 PM , Anonymous eisha said...

Harry Sue by Sue Staffaucher. It's pretty grim for a lot of it, but there's a happy foster situation by the end.

At 10:48 PM , Blogger Heidi Estrin said...

This is kind of a throwaway book that probably nobody has ever heard of, but I loved it as a kid and I still have a copy I reread from time to time. It's called Runaway Alice but was originally titled A Nickel for Alice (Scholastic, 1951), and it's by Frances Salomon Murphy. They had to change the title because the coin refers to phone call change and by the 1964 printing I have, phone calls cost a dime. I love it because it's so very cozy, if quite unrealistic. It reminds me of old b&w movies, and it's just so wholesome it could make your teeth ache. But when I need a pick-me-up I find it very comforting to read about this mildly distressed girl (orphaned but not abused or anything) who finds the perfect life and the perfect foster parents on a sweet little farm.
Another similar book I loved was Children in Hiding (original title Tomas Takes Charge) by Charlene Joy Talbot (Lothrop Lee & Shepard 1966). This one has the Mixed-Up Files twist of kids who find a secret hiding place in an abandoned apartment, and the unusual (for the 1960s) multicultural aspect of featuring Hispanic kids. Again, the problems are downplayed and the solutions come easily. It goes down smooth and comforting, like tea with honey.
Is this all just nostalgia for simpler times?

Heidi Estrin
The Book of Life

At 7:31 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The old Boxcar Children (the first four books, as it was handed over to another author after that who made it into a typical mystery series) books are about four orphans who try to make it on their own before realizing that their grandfather wants to bring them into his home because he loves them, not because he is going to put them to work. My favorite books as a kid :)


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