Tag Archives: foster care

Our Gracie Aunt

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Our Gracie Aunt
by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrations by Jon J Muth
Hyperion Books, 2002

Again, Jacqueline Woodson tells a heart-wrenching, yet heart-warming story, this one of children who have parents unable to care for them.  Told with love and dignity, children not familiar with this lifestyle can get a glimpse into what it’s like for abandoned children.  For children who have been abandoned, it reminds them they are not alone.

Two children refuse to open the door for Ms. Roy, ’cause their mama told them not to open the door to strangers, even though they had not seen their mama for several days.  After returning several times, Ms. Roy seemed to know things about them, and they were hungry.  They hoped foster care had toys when they let Ms. Roy in.  The children were taken to their aunt Gracie’s house and they learned to love the safe, comfortable, dependable house.  After several weeks they visited their mama, but she wasn’t able to take them home.  They decided they liked aunt Gracie’s house better.  Someday their mama could take them, but not now.  They returned to Aunt Gracie and gave her a long, deep hug.

Illustrations by Jon J Muth bring visual richness and highlight the children’s plight and emotions in warm, comforting tones.

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Mountain Dog

Mountain Dog 
by Margarita Engle, illustrations by Aleksky and Olga Ivanov
Henry Holt and Company, 2013

Written in poem, told in two voices, 11 year old Tony, and his rescue dog Gabe captured me and lifted me to a new understanding of healing after living in an abusive home. Deftly written, readers glimpse into a boys transition in life dealing with an abusive lifestyle, foster care, search and rescue dogs, and learning love and respect. A compelling, change-of-life story.

Tony’s mother goes to prison for illegally running pit-bulls fights and Tony falls into the foster system.  Fortunately, a relative is found and Tony goes to live with his loving and respectful Uncle Tio who volunteers on rescue missions with his dog.  In this environment, wary Tony discovers and adjusts to a new life.  Throughout the story Tony struggles to visit his mom in prison, but in the end gives up and chooses to live his own life.

Seeing the world from a dog’s perspective—the second voice in the story—is also fascinating and held my attention, curious on what a dog might be really thinking.  The story is rich with ideas to ponder.

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