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[Book Review] What’s a Foster Family? (2015)

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Plot Summary: Alex is an only child who is used to having Mommy and Daddy all to himself.  So when his parents start doing foster care, and little Malik joins their home, Alex is not so sure he is happy about sharing.

Author: Anne Garboczi Evans

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Genre: Children's Books

Review: by Lee

All I knew prior to reading was that "What's a Foster Family?" was a children's book about foster families.  Having no experience with the foster care system, it seemed like an interesting read.

The plot summary tells you almost everything you need to know.  In the book, Alex, an only child, finds out that his family is getting a foster child.  At first, he does not understand the relationship between him, his parents, and the new child and becomes suitably jealous.  However, after realizing how the child feels, Alex opens his heart and his home willingly.

What I Liked:

The story was very sweet.  Like I said, I have no experience with foster care, but I can imagine that it must be very difficult for the foster child.  I never really thought about how the biological children must feel.  With surprising brevity, “What’s a Foster Family?” covered both subjects.

I also liked that the foster children were of two different ethnic backgrounds.  All too easily, a book like this could fall under fire for supporting racial stereotypes, but I think it did a decent job of avoiding the biggest mistakes.

The writing was very straightforward and would be simple for a child to understand.  There was nothing overly stylistic.  There was one repeated line of description that perfectly captured Alex’s disgruntled reactions, and I found it very relatable. Also, it used a term with which I was unfamiliar, “tummy mommy.”  I wondered if that were a widely used term to describe a biological mother.  It is clever and seems like a good, logical way to explain that role to a child.

What I Didn’t Like:

There wasn’t a lot to dislike about the book.  It really was sweet.  However, there are a few nits I could pick.

First, the illustrations, while not bad by any stretch of the imagination, were not not my favorite thing.  It may have been the over-large eyes, but it was vaguely unsettling.  Again, they weren’t bad, but my preferences lie elsewhere.

As I stated previously, it would be very simple to criticize a book of this nature for displaying racial stereotypes.  While the story avoided having the central foster child be black, despite the name Malik, it still focused on a Caucasian family.  In fact, the foster care worker was also Caucasian.  Thus, the “white savior” stereotype was still a factor.  The story definitely could have been better if it had portrayed a multiracial family.

You can purchase What’s a Foster Family? from Amazon here:

Author Bio:

Anne Garboczi Evans is a mental health counselor, military spouse, author, and mama to an opinionated little toddler named “Joe-Joe.”Anne and her husband are getting licensed as foster parents in Colorado, so soon their house will be exploding with little voices, little feet, and diapers, diapers everywhere.

Author Links: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

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