Saturday, June 7, 2008

Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes Courter

c. 2008 Atheneum

It's been quite awhile since I've come across anything non-fiction tailored for high school students, and this is a book I would highly recommend. While most students are familiar with Dave Pelzer (A Child Called It), this book could be a companion, but it focuses more about the foster system that parental abuse. The author, Ashley Rhodes-Carter begins the book by recalling her relationship with her mother. Although there is a definite child-mother bond, her 17 year old mother makes some serious destructive choices and she and her brother are put into foster care. By the time Ashley is 9 years old, she has been through 13 homes, with the Moss foster home being the most horrible place she ever encountered. She tells what happens to her and her brother throughout their ordeal, including becoming a ward of the state when parental rights are terminated. And the things she goes through... At the time, she doesn't comprehend how this could be good (what 9 year old would?) but she realizes that she can finally trust her caseworker with her life, and ends up in a loving home. The author, just 22 years old, can tell her story with the simple style that typical teens will find attractive, especially when it comes to non-fiction. While there is good non-fiction out there, it takes a certain author (ie Marc Aronson, Steve Almond) to create a story that fits the high school shelf without becoming to authoritative and in-depth and/or too much of a picture book. While reading this, you will find yourself hoping the next foster family is the one. This book will fly off the shelves.

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