Helpful Books for Foster Children

Leah Tripp

Children who are in foster care often experience confusion and fear regarding the process of care, the trauma they have experienced, and the often temporary nature of the homes they are living in.

There are a wide variety of resources that help foster parents and mentors tackle the difficult topics of foster care. Below are three books that may be helpful for foster children of different age groups.

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Riley the Brave- Jess Sinarski (Ages 3-7)
Riley the Brave f ollows the story of brave bear cub, Riley, as he learns to understand complicated feelings like fear, shame, and sadness. Riley spends time with many different animal friends, and reflects on how to process anger in a healthy way by using his words. The book also addresses tough topics that are specific to foster children, such as trusting adults, food insecurity, and how to talk about trauma.

The book’s colorful illustrations paired with fun animal characters will allow children to talk about fear and courage in a way that still allows them to feel safe and comfortable.

Locomotion- Jacqueline Woodson (Ages 8-12)
Woodson’s Locomotion follows is the story of eleven-year-old Lonnie, who is living in a foster home after the death of his parents. With the help of his foster mother, Miss Edna, and his teacher, Ms. Marcus, Lonnie learns to express his feelings through poetry. The book is told entirely through Lonnie’s poems, and covers complex topics such as loss, fear, separation from siblings, and the experiences of older boys in foster care.

Far from the Tree- Robin Benway (Ages 13+)
Benway’s 2017 novel explores the meaning of family through the lives of biological siblings Grace, Maya, and Joaquin, who, through foster care and adoption experiences, are living very different lives.

When Grace places her own daughter up for adoption, she starts looking for her biological family, and begins to form relationships with her younger sister, Maya and her older brother Joaquin. Maya, who has been adopted into a family that has its own set of problems, struggles to find her own identity and the family in which she feels she belongs. Joaquin, who has spent seventeen years in foster care, is skeptical of his sisters and of the world in general. Throughout the book, the three siblings learn about the different shapes that family can take, and how to love despite difficult circumstances.

These three books are a small sample of the wide array of literature available for foster children of all ages. For a more complete list of books with foster care themes, visit the link below:

https://bookriot.com/2016/05/27/childrens-books-foster-care-themes/

Coping with Back to School Anxiety

By Jordan Upton

The start of a new school year can be a stressful time for parents and children. For children who have experienced personal trauma - like those in foster care who have been removed from their home and biological families - starting a new school may cause or worsen existing anxiety.

The goal for parents is to be supportive without increasing their child’s stress. Some tips for dealing with back to school anxiety:

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  1. Listen to and Don’t Dismiss Their Worries

    Worries are common but listen to them seriously. Rather than saying “There’s nothing to worry about”, acknowledging your child’s fears will help them feel more secure. Taking them seriously will help your child trust and feel comfortable talking with you over future issues.

  2. Problem Solve

    If your child has very specific worries, like forgetting their lunchbox or homework, work out a plan ahead of time for how you will solve it. Make sure they know who to contact if something goes wrong.

  3. Prepare and Practice
    If possible, take your child to the school before the first day. Let them walk around, find their classroom, get comfortable with this new setting. Practice driving to the drop-off or bus stop. If available, attend open house events where your child can meet their teacher and principal in advance of the first day.

  4. Focus on the Positives

    Ask your child what they’re excited about at school; even if it’s just recess or snack time, it’s a start. Focus on the fun parts of their day to distract them from anxieties. Find things to praise - going a certain amount of days without calling home, being prepared (not forgetting their backpack or lunchbox), good grades - that will encourage them and boost their confidence about attending school.

  5. Pay Attention to Your Attitude and Behavior

    If you are stressed or upset, your child will be able to tell. Be careful what you say and do as children look to you as a model.

https://www.anxietybc.com/parenting/coping-back-school-anxiety https://childmind.org/article/back-school-anxiety/

When a Parent is Incarcerated

By Melissa Radcliff

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of Fostering Perspectives

Children can love their parents, even if they don't like what they do.  Children can love their parents even if they understand they can't live with them.  This can be true for children in foster care where the parent is incarcerated.  Today's article by Melissa Radcliff helps us as foster parents or mentors to understand the child's feeling better and our role in their parent-child relationship. 

Source: http://fosteringperspectives.org/?p=987

It Is Okay To Be Angry

By Michael Olivieri

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Foster Focus Magazine

Have you ever been angry and had someone tell you to just stop it? How did that make you feel? Did it work? Many children that come to us through the foster system have good reason to be angry, but that doesn't mean the way they show the anger is acceptable.  How would you have felt if instead of being told to stop how you feel, you had been taught how to direct or use your anger in a healthy way?  Meet Michael Olivieri, and the story that is his to share.  

Source: https://www.fosterfocusmag.com/articles/it...

School and Foster Youth

By Chris Zollner

Foster Focus Magazine

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Educators with foster children in their classroom could be faced with extra challenges that without more training leave the teacher, child, and parent frustrated.  As a teacher and foster parent, Chris Zollner speaks with knowledge of the subject and this article from Foster Focus is full of good suggestions and advice.  

Source: https://www.fosterfocusmag.com/articles/sc...