Friday, August 26, 2011

Picture Books About Abuse and Complex Living Situations


The Boy Who Didn’t Want to Be Sad by Rob Goldblatt, 2004. A boy who doesn’t want to be sad anymore decides that the best way to protect himself is to get rid of anything that could make him sad – but discovers that he is closing off his heart to many of life’s joys as well.

Edwardo: The Horriblest Boy in the Whole Wide World by John Burningham, 2007. When a perfectly normal boy experiences verbal abuse from his caregivers, his behavior goes downhill – until the adults in his life remember to look for and recognize his positive qualities.

A Family That Fights by Sharon Chesler Bernstein, 1991. Henry's parents fight often and his father sometimes hits his mother, causing Henry to feel frightened and ashamed. This book includes a list of things children can do in situations of family violence.

Hands Are Not for Hitting by Martine Agassi, 2002. Children who have been abused or witnessed abuse can mimic what they have seen. This book offers alternative solutions for dealing with anger and frustration.

Hope Is An Open Heart by Lauren Thompson, 2010. A gentle reminder that, although hope can sometimes feel far away, it is always there, and that there are people that a child can go to when he/she needs help. 

Is A Worry Worrying You? by Ferida Wolff, 2005. This book acknowledges and addresses the worries of children and helps the child deal with them through problem-solving and/or telling a trusted adult.

The Magic Beads by Nancy Neilsen-Fernlund, 2007. When Lily thinks about what to bring in for Show and Tell at school, the butterflies in her stomach turn to grasshoppers, bunny rabbits, donkeys and buffaloes. She and her mother are currently staying in a homeless shelter, and she doesn't know what to share.

One of the Problems of Everett Anderson by Lucille Clifton, 2001. Everett suspects that his friend at school might be abused, and doesn’t know what to do, so he asks a trusted adult for advice.

Please Tell! A Child's Story About Sexual Abuse by Jessie Ottenweller, 1991. Nine-year-old Jennie's words and illustrations help other sexually abused children know that they're not alone, that it's okay to talk about their feelings, and that the abuse wasn't their fault.

Sometimes Bad Things Happen by Ellen Jackson, 2002. Mentions some of the bad things that happen in the world and presents some positive ways to respond to them.  

Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry by Bebe Moore Campbell, 2003. Annie reaches out to her grandmother for help when her mother acts out due to mental illness.

A Terrible Thing Happened by Margaret M. Holmes, 2000. After Sherman sees something terrible happen, he becomes anxious and angry, but talking through those emotions with an adult proves to be helpful.

Picture Books About Foster Care


A Child is A Child by Brigette Weninger, 2004. After two young frogs are abandoned by their parents, Mama Mouse mobilizes the entire animal community to help care for them.

Aunt Minnie McGranahan by Mary Skillings Prigger, 1999. Based on a true story; when nine orphans came to live with her, Aunt Minnie came up with a solution: "The oldest looked after the youngest, the ones in the middle looked after each other, and Aunt Minnie looked after them all.”

A Father Like That by Charlotte Zolotow, 2007. A boy growing up without a father lists the activities that he wishes they could share, and decides to grow up and become the type of father that he never had.

Foster Parents by Rebecca Rissman, 2011. Describes what foster families are and how they care for children who need help until they return to their original families or move on to a permanent family.

Goodbyes by Shelley Rotner, 2002. Simple text, accompanied by photos, explains that sometimes people live in more than one home, and that goodbyes might not be forever, but might be just “bye for now.”

Kids Need to be Safe by Julie Nelson, 2005. This book is designed to help foster children understand why they aren’t currently with their biological parents, and offer them hope and reassurance.

Let’s Talk About When Your Parent is in Jail by Maureen K. Wittbold, 1997. Having a parent in jail can be one of the reasons that children enter foster care. This book answers many questions that children can be harboring.

Maybe Days: A Book for Children in Foster Care by Jennifer Wilgocki and Marcia K. Wright, 2002. Provides a simple explanation for children in foster care about the processes impacting their lives, and acknowledges the questions for which there is no easy answer, such as: “When am I going home?”

A Mother for Choco by Keiko Kasza, 1992. A motherless bird searches for the right place to belong – and finally finds it with Mrs. Bear, who takes Choco into her loving home and introduces him to his new siblings.

Murphy’s Three Homes by Jan Levinson Gilman, 2008. A puppy who moves from home to home learns that it is not his fault, and finds a family who will love him even if he struggles to obey their rules.

My Dog Is As Smelly As Dirty Socks by Hanoch Piven, 2007. During their time in foster care, children often create Life Books with pictures and stories about their biological families. This book, while not specifically geared towards foster care, suggests creative collage techniques that might work well in Life Books. 

Our Gracie Aunt by Jacqueline Woodson, 2002. Initially reluctant to open the door to a social worker asking how long their mother has been gone, two children find comfort and safety at their Aunt Gracie’s house.

When I Miss You by Cornelia Maude Spelman, 2004. Various situations can cause a child to be separated from parents – for a short or long time. This book is a tool for caregivers to assist children of all backgrounds to share what it feels like to miss someone and problem-solve what to do while waiting to be reunited.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wise Words from Karen Pittman

  • "Investments in early childhood are essential to preparing the next generation to succeed—but so too are investments in older youth and young adults...

  • "In general, we as a nation invest less in older youth, and the investments we make are more reactive and fragmented. What’s more, the data we have about older youth is fragmented; it’s harder to get a coherent picture of who this group is because they straddle multiple systems.

  • "We need to do a better job of highlighting the statistics and stories of older youth, and ensuring that our policy recommendations include strategies that address their needs for job training, educational stipends, extended health and social benefits, employer incentives and paid service opportunities.

  • "We need, in short, to pull out the stops to be sure that we’re not only investing early but also maintaining those investments to give all young people a chance to be ready for college, work and life by age 21—and successful by 26."

~ Karen Pittman, founder and CEO of the Forum for Youth Investment, dedicating to ensuring that all young people are "Ready by 21" for college, work and life.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Federal Spending On Children Continues to Decline

According to Children's Budget 2011, spending on children in the 2011 federal budget dropped by nearly 10 percent from 2010, falling to 8.4 percent.

Kids' Share 2011 reveals that, if current law remains unchanged, by as early as 2014, the federal government is projected to spend more on interest payments on the federal debt than on programs that benefit children.