By Ashika Sethi
Happy National Read a Book Day!
Whether you’re a diligent reader or an aspiring bookworm, here are some tried and true titles about the child welfare system and surrounding topics recommended to you by members of our staff.
Melanie Babbitt - Senior Teen Advocacy Specialist
Melanie recommends To the End of June: The Intimate Life of American Foster Care by Chris Beam. This nonfiction piece discusses the trials and tribulations of being a foster parent, complete with personal experiences that put what is going on in the American foster care system into perspective.
“The book is current, well written, incredibly informative, and succeeds in the challenging task of humanizing the child welfare system,” says Melanie.
Melanie especially appreciated the chapters that highlighted stories about teens in the foster care system - a topic that is integral to her advocacy work here at CASA.
Carley Gardiner - Teen Advocacy Specialist
Carley recommends The Glass Castle, a bestselling memoir written by Jeannette Walls that takes the reader on an in-depth journey through her childhood. Growing up in a dysfunctional family, Walls discusses physical abuse, neglect and how there usually wasn’t food readily available for her and her siblings.
“[The Glass Castle] is very raw. It’s amazing how much detail the author puts in the book, she really draws you in. I read it in the span of a few days, it was hard to put down!” says Carley.
For Carley, the most intriguing aspect of the memoir was the dynamic between siblings and how Walls was forced to play the mother figure, which is very common in the cases CASA volunteers work on.
Brooke Hathaway - Senior Child Advocacy Specialist
Brook recommends Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. This historical fiction novel explores the history of an African American family’s lineage, from the slave trade through modern-day America, and how it affects cultural and social identity.
“It really gave me a more in-depth understanding of the deep implications of the subjugation of an entire race and its cyclical effect on the individual,” says Brooke.
Brooke also recommends Real Boys: Rescuing Sons from the Myths of Boyhood by William Pollack, which gives the reader a glimpse into the history of the myth of masculinity and how it shapes a boy’s gender identity.
“Real Boys looks hard at the expectation of violence and the “boys will be boys” mantra while also discussing how we can help boys become men who transcend these harmful stereotypes,” says Brooke.
CASA volunteers, these books can count towards your annual 12 hours of required Continuing Education!
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