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Hey Kiddo by: Jarrett Krosoczka

A profoundly important memoir about growing up in a family grappling with addiction, and finding the art that helps you


Just Mercy by: Bryan Stevenson

Bryan Stevenson grew up poor in the racially segregated South. His innate sense of justice made him a brilliant young lawyer, and one of his first defendants was Walter McMillian, a black man sentenced to die for the murder of a white woman - a crime he insisted he didn't commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, startling racial inequality, and legal brinksmanship - and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

Cinder Girl by: Christina Meredith

Born into a large working-class family in upstate New York, Christina Meredith endured years of abuse before entering the foster care system as a teenager. As she prayed in her car every day, Christina had no idea that in just a few years, she would be crowned Ms. California. She had no idea that her suffering would one day help others find healing. But she did know that she was destined for more, and she would not give up hope no matter the circumstance.

Why Do They Act That Way? By: David Walsh, Ph.D

Even smart kids do stupid things. It's a simple fact of life. No one makes it through the teenage year’s unscathed-not the teens, not their parents. But now there's expert help for both generations in this groundbreaking new guide for surviving the drama of adolescence.

The Deepest Well by: Dr. Nadine Burke Harris
A pioneering physician reveals how childhood stress leads to lifelong health problems and what we can do to break the cycle.

Foster girl by: Georgette Todd

Foster Girl reveals what it feels like to grow up in foster care. Readers will come away from this book with a better

understanding of how the foster care system works and what we can all do to make a difference.

Three Little Words by: Ashley Rhodes-Courter (Available at CWCI office)

An inspiring true story of the tumultuous nine years Ashley Rhodes-Courter spent in the foster care system, and how she

triumphed over painful memories and real-life horrors to ultimately find her own voice.

Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity by: Andrew Solomon

The author writes about families coping with deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, or multiple severe disabilities; with children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape, who become criminals, who are transgender. While each of these characteristics is potentially isolating, the experience of difference within families is universal, and Solomon documents triumphs of love over prejudice in every chapter.


Mine Until by: Jessica Yaffa

The moment Jessica walked into her high school English class and laid eyes on fellow classmate Trent, she felt alive in ways that she had always dreamed of. Swept up in a teen romance by the very charming Trent, Jessica finally had the connection and attention she'd always wanted but never seemed to achieve. When other sides of Trent's personality began to emerge--jealous, demanding, controlling--Jessica was convinced that if she could only please and satisfy him the way he deserved, the relationship would survive.

Girls Like Us: Fighting For A World Where Girls Are Not For Sale by: Rachel Lloyd
During her teens, Rachel Lloyd ended up a victim of commercial sexual exploitation. With time through incredible

resilience, and with the help of a local church community, she finally broke free of her pimp and her past.

In Our Backyard: Human Trafficking In America and What We Can Do To Stop It by: Nita Belles

In recent years, Americans have woken up to the reality that human trafficking is not just something that happens in other countries. But what most still do not understand is that neither is it something that just happens to "other people" such as runaways or the disenfranchised. The human trafficker is no respecter of faith, education, or socioeconomic status, and even kids who are raised in solid families in middle and upper class suburbs can fall victim. Likewise, labor trafficking happens in our cities, neighborhoods, and rural areas.


A Framework for Understanding Poverty by: Ruby K. Payne Ph.D (Available at CWCI Office)
Carefully researched and packed with charts, tables, and questionnaires, Framework not only documents the facts of

poverty, it provides practical yet compassionate strategies for addressing its impact on people's lives.

Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation by: Jonathan Kozol

Jonathan Kozol’s classic book on life and death in the South Bronx—the poorest urban neighborhood of the United States brings us into overcrowded schools, dysfunctional hospitals, and rat-infested homes where families have been ravaged by depression and anxiety, drug-related violence, and the spread of AIDS. The author also introduces us to devoted and unselfish teachers, dedicated ministers, and—at the heart and center of the book—courageous and delightful children.

The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog: and Other Stories From A Child Psychiatrist’s Notebook by: Dr. Bruce Perry and Maia Szalavitz The authors explain what happens to the brain when a child is exposed to extreme stress, and how today's innovative treatments are

helping ease children's pain, allowing them to become healthy adults.


Ghosts From The Nursery: Tracing the Roots of Violence by: Robin Karr-Morse and Meredith S. Wiley
Provides scientific evidence that violence can originate in the womb and become entrenched in a child's brain by preschool.

Runaway Girl by: Carissa Phelps

Carissa Phelps was a runner. By the time she was twelve, she had run away from home, dropped out of school, and fled blindly into the arms of a brutal pimp. Even when she escaped him, she could not outrun the crushing inner pain of abuse, neglect, and abandonment. With little to hope for, she expected to end up in prison, or worse. But then her life was transformed through the unexpected kindness of a teacher and a counselor. Through small miracles, Carissa accomplished the unimaginable, graduating from UCLA with both a law degree and an MBA. She left the streets behind, yet found herself back, this time working to help homeless and at-risk youth discover their own paths to a better life.

Educated by: Tara Westover
Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara's older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents,
to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she'd traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

Damaged by: Cathy Glass
A true story of an abused child written by Cathy Glass. Cathy was Jodie’s foster parent and writes about the time she spent with her child. Jodie is removed from her home when she is eight years old because of suspected child abuse by her parents. After being in five foster homes within four months, social services contacted Cathy to see if she would take Jodie and care for her. Cathy has been a foster parent for twenty years and has had success with all the children for whom she has cared.

Childhood Disrupted: How your biography becomes your biology, and how you can heal by: Donna Jackson Nakazawa
“Your biography becomes your biology. The emotional trauma we suffer as children not only shapes our emotional lives as adults, but it also affects our physical health, longevity, and overall wellbeing. Scientists now know on a bio-chemical level exactly how parents chronic fights, divorce, death in the family, being bullied or hazed, and growing up with a hypercritical, alcoholic, or mentally ill parent can leave permanent, physical fingerprints on our brains. When children encounter sudden or chronic adversity, stress hormones cause powerful changes in the body, altering the body s chemistry. The developing immune system and brain react to this chemical barrage by permanently resetting children's stress response to high, which in turn can have a devastating impact on their mental and physical health

as they grow up. Donna Jackson Nakazawa shares stories from people who have recognized and overcome their adverse experiences, shows why some children are more immune to stress than others, and explains why women are at particular risk.”


Beautiful Boy by: David Sheff
A teenager's addiction from the parent's point of view - a real-time chronicle of the shocking descent into substance abuse and the gradual emergence into hope.

Dope Sick by: Beth Macy
Chronicles America's more than twenty-year struggle with opioid addiction, from the introduction of OxyContin in 1996, through the spread of addiction in distressed communities in Central Appalachia, to the current national crisis.


A Child’s Journey Through Placement by: Dr. Vera Fahlberg
Although much is available in the child welfare literature about families and casework process and procedures, there is little literature available that has the child as its primary focus. This book focuses on a child's feelings, needs, and behaviors once the decision has been made to place the child in foster care.

Racism without racists: Color-blind racism and the persistance of racial inequality in the U.S. by: Eduardo Bonnill-Silva "Eduardo Bonilla-Silva's acclaimed Racism without Racists documents how, beneath our contemporary conversation about race, there lies a full-blown arsenal of arguments, phrases, and stories that whites use to account for--and ultimately justify--racial inequalities. The fifth edition of this provocative book makes clear that color blind racism is as insidious now as ever. It features new material on our current racial climate, including the Black Lives Matter movement; a significantly revised chapter that examines the Obama presidency, the 2016 election, and Trump's presidency; and a new chapter addressing what readers can do to confront racism--both personally and on a larger structural level"

Mama’s Boy: Preacher’s Son by: Kevin Jennings

Growing up poor in the South, Kevin Jennings learned a lot of things, especially about how to be a real man. When his father, a fundamentalist preacher, dropped dead at his son’s eighth birthday party, Kevin already knew he wasn’t supposed to cry. He also knew there was no salvation for homosexuals, who weren’t "real men"--Or Christians, for that matter. But Jennings found his salvation in school, inspired by his mother. Self-taught, from Appalachia, her formal education had ended in sixth grade, but she was determined that her son would be the first member of their extended family to go to college, even if it meant going North. Kevin, propelled by her dream, found a world beyond poverty. He earned a scholarship to Harvard and there learned not only about history and literature, but also that it was

possible to live openly as a gay man. But when Jennings discovered his vocation as a teacher and returned to high school to teach, he was forced back into the closet. He saw countless teachers and students struggling with their sexual orientation and desperately trying to hide their identity. For Jennings, coming out the second time was more complicated and much more important than the first--because this time he was leading a movement for justice.


Lizzy Lives in An Angry House by: Karen Addison

This practical resource will help countless children, families and trusted adults make sense of an angry parent, show how to love them and still be able to stand up and speak up, and teach ways to keep themselves safe.


Helping Foster Children In School: A Guide for Foster Parents, Social Workers and Teachers by: John DeGarmo
This book explores the challenges that foster children face in schools and offers positive and practical guidance tailored to help the parents, teachers and social workers supporting them.


Renting Lacy: A Story of America’s Prostituted Children by: Linda Smith

To millions of Americans, the trafficking of children for commercial sexual purposes only happens somewhere else - in Southeast Asia or Central America - not on Main Street USA. Yet, it is abundantly clear that today at least 100,000 children are being used as commodities for sale or trade in cities across the nation. These kids are 21st Century slaves. They cannot walk away.


The American Epidemic: Solutions for Over-Medicating Our Youth by: Dr. Frank J. Granett

Dr. Granett “provides new knowledge for parents, educators, all healthcare professionals, and public health policymakers to determine the cause of behavioral symptoms prior to psychoactive drug therapy in children.”


I Never Told Anyone by: Ellen Bass
Deeply moving testimonies by women survivors of child sexual abuse.

The Body Keeps the Score by: Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk
This book uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust. He explores innovative treatments—from neurofeedback and meditation to sports, drama, and yoga—that offer new paths to recovery by activating the brain’s natural neuroplasticity.


Paper Tigers

The principal of Lincoln High School changes his school's approach to discipline to help students overcome traumatic events.

How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir: by Saeed Jones
In powerful poetry and prose, Saeed Jones recounts his experiences growing up as a young, black, gay man in rural Texas. In powerful poetry and prose, Saeed Jones recounts his experiences growing up as a young, black, gay man in rural Texas.

How To Be An Antiracist: A Memoir: by Ibram X. Kendi

Despite the nature of its title, Kendi has gifted us with a book that is not only an essential instruction manual but also a memoir of the author's own path from anti-black racism to anti- white racism and, finally, to antiracism.


Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother’s Will to Survive: by Stephanie Land
In her unstinting memoir — a portrait of working-class poverty in America — Land scrapes by on

$9 an hour cleaning houses to support herself and her young daughter.

No Visible Bruises: by Rachel Snyder

Snyder highlights an epidemic of unacknowledged violence. Fifty women a month are shot and killed by their partners, and she explores the problem from multiple perspectives: the victims, the aggressors and a society that turns a blind eye.

In The Dream House: by Carmen Maria Machado
This memoir, which tells the story of Machado’s abusive relationship with another woman, is an

act of personal and formal bravery.

Dumpster Doll: The Early Years: by Michelle Mays and Michelle Moon


Michelle Mays was born into an abusive family in the Midwest. As she and her siblings cling to survival, the balance of family ties is weighed against alcoholism, drug abuse, abandonment, and despair. Hope dawns in the form of foster care, only to be deferred by multiple placements and a system not equipped to support the children it's meant to protect.  Through powerful vignettes of a life disjointed, Mays's story is a journey of hope that is echoed in the experiences of thousands of children in the court and foster care systems today. Dumpster Doll is brave not because it is unique, but because it unflinchingly shines a light on family turmoil, flaws in judicial systems, and ultimately, the grit and tenacity that thousands of children exhibit each day just to make it through.

Lost Children Archive: by Valeria Luiselli

There is an impressive and moving body of storytelling that has accumulated in the wake of the crisis of migrant children – lost, separated, incarcerated – at the U.S.-Mexico border. But if you’re interested in the role that fiction can play, you must read Valeria Luiselli’s marvelous book Lost Children Archive. It’s structured as a road trip novel.


The Orchid and the Dandelion: Why Some Children Struggle and How All Can Thrive: by Dr. Thomas Boyce

This book looks at the resiliency of children and how to adapt our strategies so that all types of children can be successful. Dr. Boyce, a professor emeritus at the University of California, San Francisco has studied how stress effects children for nearly forty years and over time has developed his classifications of Orchids and

Dandelion children. Dandelions are kids who are adaptable, resilient and largely unphased by changes in their circumstances. Orchids, on the other hands, are more sensitive and react to change in biologically different ways. This book will teach us how children deal with stress and how to tailor our approaches so that we can support a full spectrum of children.


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