Monday, January 28, 2013

Maybe Days... a book review

Maybe Days
A Book For Children in Foster Care
By: Jennifer Wilgocki and Marci Kahn Wright
Illustrated by: Alissa Imre Geis

I was asked by Mama Foster to review this book. It's been a long time since I've written a book report. But I figured I'd give this a go.  :)

This book pretty much sums up a child's experience in foster care. There are a lot of questions in foster care and the answer to almost all of them is, "maybe".  The book doesn't exactly tell a story per se. Yet, it does. It's simple enough for most kids but you might lose younger ones that don't exactly understand at all what is happening to them. Thus why I didn't get the book out for Dude and Dolly until recently.

I did read this book with MissArguePants and TurtleTurtle. They didn't get much from it. But honestly, they both knew all about foster care and they didn't like to talk about it. Obviously it didn't make sense to read it to Pumpkin. And when Dude and Dolly came, they didn't understand anything. Honestly, I think they had been passed around so much that they just accepted being with us without much question. It was strange. Very strange. And because they didn't understand English, there was no way I could start out with a book this big. In general, this book is written for elementary aged kids.

I like how the book starts out:
All kids need a grown-up to take care of them.
But sometimes, for different reasons, kids can't live with their mom and dad...or just with their mom...or just with their dad. So sometimes kids need to live somewhere else.
That's what this book is about.

The books goes on to explain a lot of the details about foster care.'s not the kid's fault they are in Care. It lists the main reasons that kids come in to Care. It is very tactfully written! Truthful. But not demeaning to the family of origin. The book covers a lot of the different feelings that foster kids might have about being in Care. Then it got to the part that made Dolly perk right up.
Foster care involves a lot of people who all do different things.
There are the kids...
And there are a whole lot of grown-ups: the parents, the foster parents, the social worker, the therapist, the lawyers and the judge.
The grown-ups have different jobs, but one job they all share is making sure kids get taken care of well.
The book spells out the different roles each of the grown-ups play. Dolly was all ears. I think it increased her trust in me even more when a book told her exactly the same things I've been saying all along. I did simplify things for Dude and Dolly when I read the book. If the things being described on the page didn't apply to Dude and Dolly's case, I paraphrased and left off the details that didn't fit for their story.

No matter what the judge finally decides, kids in foster care have to wait a lot while the grown-ups work on the plan.
While kids are waiting, they sometimes feel worried or angry or scared or confused or many other things.
Waiting can be hard.
When kids ask questions, the grown-ups often say "maybe."
Will I go back to my parents? Maybe.
Will I stay with my foster parents? Maybe.
Will I live with my brothers and sisters again? Maybe.
Will I have more visits with my parents? Maybe.

The book ends by reminding the child that a kid's job is to always be a kid.
And there's no maybe about that.

More than anything, this book can be a great tool for conversation. I highly, highly recommend it for the elementary age group. I could see this being a great book to read right after placement. There are some wonderful notes at the end of the book for foster parents and other adults. If anything, we foster parents could give this book out to our own families to help THEM understand foster care.


MamaFoster said...

Thanks! I really was interested. Like you said, sounds great for around 5 yrs old and up. Thanks!

Foster Mom - R said...

I've read it on and off to my kids. Mr. Mohawk was 3 1/2 when he came to live here 2 years ago and so he didn't really understand. It helped explain some of the gaps. As my older girls get frustrated with the waiting they will pull it up to be reminded of how the process works. Another good one is Murphy's 3 Homes about a dog who goes from place to place.

Karen said...

I read this book a few weeks ago, and I think you did a very good review! It's definitely geared more towards an elementary school age child, but I like your suggestion of changing some parts so that kids Dude and Dolly's age can benefit from it as well. I definitely think this is a tool I want for the future as a social worker and/or foster mom!

Annie said...

I could write a book for potential foster parents!!!

Will you ever see the same worker more than twice? Unlikely

Will you ever actually get help when you ask for it, or will the response always be and immediate, "So, you want him removed from your home?" Unlikely

Will your poor foster child EVER get someone to do decent dental work? Unlikely

Will the workers learn a little sensitivity, or will they continue to personally show up and take him out of his HS classroom, thus causing profound embarrassment? Unlikely

Even though you treat your foster child as if he is one of your own children, will anyone ever SEE and acknowledge this, or will they continue to make comments like "We'll enroll him in a class so he can learn basic skills like how to cook a meal and do laundry." Will they believe me when I say I teach my kids basic things like this? Unlikely

Might they understand that scheduling mandatory counseling during basketball practice is undermining both counseling and attitude? Unlikely

Will they share my amusement when I receive a check for $35 for fall clothes for a HS boy (whose shoes cost more than that?) Unlikely

Sorry; couldn't resist. I really, really disliked dealing with those fostercare people. Can you tell?

CherubMamma said...

Oh Annie! That made me laugh!!!

We could right our own book...
"Unlikely Days"!!

I too dislike dealing with foster care!!