Read Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter Free Online
Book Title: Three Little Words|
The author of the book: Ashley Rhodes-Courter
Edition: Turtleback Books
Date of issue: May 5th 2009
Loaded: 1845 times
Reader ratings: 6.9
ISBN 13: 9780606145053
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 578 KB
City - Country: No data
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Given that this is the first book of a very young author, I was impressed at how good the writing was. Rhodes-Courter tells her story in a direct way, using a "show me, don't tell me" approach. The simple facts of her numerous placements, the maltreatment in some of her placements, and the negligence of some of the child protective services (CPS) authorities alone are enough to make a reader understand how angry and desolate she must have felt, and why it took a long time for her to trust her adoptive parents. (In fact, she had so many placements that when I picked the book up again after a break in reading, I had trouble remembering where she was.) She also uses dialog extensively, which keeps the read lively.
A good portion of the book is focused on the abusive foster home in which she lived for 8 months (and returned for an overnight respite visit at a later time!) Multiple maltreatment reports to CPS from teachers and interviews with the children themselves either were not investigated or not taken seriously. These foster parents, Charles and Marjorie Moss, were allegedly model foster parents who even taught foster parenting classes and were allowed to adopt several children. The only possible explanation I can think of for this - which is FAR from an excuse - is that the Mosses did not turn children away, regardless of how "difficult" previous foster parents had found a child. As Rhodes-Courter reports another foster child said, "Nobody wants me because of my temper. That's why we're all here. The Mosses take the ones nobody else wants. (p. 96)"
While Rhodes-Courter's mother was clearly negligent, she did seem to care for her and Rhodes-Courter wanted for years to be reunited with her mother. It is ironic, as Rhodes-Courter observes, that the state would pay a substantial sum over the years to have Rhodes-Courter cared for by neglectful and abusive foster parents who clearly didn't care for her, yet the state did not provide financial support to her mother.
Rhodes-Courter's story also highlights a few additional things that could be done to ease foster children's lives at least a bit. First, she was rarely or never told why she was in care, why she was being moved, or what was going on with her mother and her child welfare case, even in an age-appropriate way. Secondly, at times, no one made an effort to allow her to take a few valued possessions with her from one placement to the next (and sometimes she was actively prevented from doing so.)
The story is not all dark; Rhodes-Courter describes several teachers who mentored her, as well as Ms. Sandnes, a "primary caregiver" at a group home who was so well-loved by the children that they had to be pried off her and then tried to throw themselves under the wheels of her car when she left her job to get a master's degree.
Rhodes-Courter seems very honest in telling her story; she describes a number of instances in which she behaved very poorly toward her adoptive parents (though in a few cases, the "misbehavior" was due to misunderstanding rather than bad intentions). Clearly this book required a lot of research. Rhodes-Courter was very young when she first entered foster care, so she could not have written the entire book based on her memory alone, and she describes going through several boxes of case files and interviewing a number of her foster parents and others involved in her case.
This book is sold in the children's section of my local bookstore, but I'm not sure that's appropriate. While I think it would be a good read for any mature child and particularly for youth in foster care, I think this book would appeal to anyone interested in child welfare, regardless of their age.
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Read information about the authorAshley Rhodes-Courter is the quintessential American success story. Born in 1985 to a single teen mother, by the age of 3 she was in Florida’s foster care system where she spent almost ten years being shuttled between 14 homes—some quite abusive—before being adopted from a Children’s Home at the age of twelve. Early in her life she felt compelled to advocate for herself and the other children she lived with, particularly in the abusive foster homes.
On June 1, 2003, the New York Times Magazine published her grand prize winning essay about her adoption day. She expanded her essay into a memoir, Three Little Words, which was published by Simon & Schuster in January 2008 and quickly became a New York Times bestseller. Her memoir is currently being made into a major motion picture. The book has been adopted by schools and communities as part of One School, One Book initiatives across the country.
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