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Sara Lost and Found Paperback – February 7, 2017
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Castleman knows the foster care system well—she was adopted when she was six from an orphanage. She wrote this story to draw attention to the flawed foster care system and to give a voice to foster and adopted kids. Sara’s story will tug at heart strings; readers will cheer for her to succeed, for she is a heroine in the style of The Great Gilly Hopkins (HarperCollins, 2004). This book is a must for middle school readers (Judith A. Hayn VOYA, Starred Review)
About the Author
Virginia Castleman teaches English and fiction writing at the college level. She is the author of Mommi Watta, Spirit of the River, Erosion, Pile of Pups, Sky High, and numerous stories and articles that have appeared in Highlights for Children, The Children’s Writer’s Guide, and other publications. She lives in Nevada.
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Top Customer Reviews
As described by Castleman herself, this book is inspired by actual events that happened to her as a child of parental abandonment and her journey through foster care systems.
With that in mind, I felt this book beautifully explicates a very difficult subject matter to young readers, allowing insight and understanding of what it's really like to have your life shaken, and the compassion and love that defines sisterhood. Every page in this book is loaded with meaning and Castleman's style of writing solicits discussion into the deeper symbolism of the text.
I personally loved this book and would suggest it to teachers and parents who really want to help develop their children's sympathy towards those around them.
Although the author, with her clear and crisp writing, allows us to feel the sisters intense pain over their losses and beautifully describes the conflict that Sara goes through as she realizes that her sister needs more help than she can give, I found it hard to fully immerse myself in the story. All I could think was that I have never heard or seen the social welfare system work as well as in this book. As a social worker I have seen hundred's of children go through the foster care system and it does not look like this. It is possible to have one good foster parent but I have not seen any kids go through the foster system (especially twice) and have such caring, astute, loving adults in their lives. Being in foster care is hard, and often borders on its own kind of neglect so it just felt surreal to read this story. So, three stars because of the portraits of two sisters who love each other, for a story that conveys the sadness and trauma of severe neglect but hampered by the picture perfect account of the foster system. Thank you to Netgalley and Simon and Schuster for allowing me to review this book for an honest opinion.
Their story broke my heart. It seemed to begin when mama had been arrested for DUI and the girls were placed in separate foster homes. This separation broke Anna. The happy, fun- loving Anna returned to her sister Sara, broken and withdrawn with marks on her arms. She would not speak about what happened to her inside the walls of her foster home. The girls have had other experiences with foster families, some negative and some positive but their favorite place to be, is with the Silverman’s. They were grandparents to them. Daddy tries to be a good father but the bottle always calls for him and he answers, leaving him in shambles. He picks himself up, pays the price and tries to undo the damage that he has caused and starts over again. The bottle rules his world. The girls know the routine and with mother gone, they would rather stay home alone than be placed in foster care.
Home alone, the girls are startled when police and Child Services come to their door. Sneaking out, the girls take to the streets. They are welcomed at the Silverman’s, their first stop; a stop the girls wished would be their last. I loved the warmth and the gentleness that this relationship bestowed. Their father is in jail and the girls must be placed in temporary foster care so they are now moved to another home. In their new temporary home, the parents try to provide a loving environment and the girls try to adjust to their new home. Anna has difficulties, she lashes out and they are moved sooner than originally planned. I hated to see these children moved as if they were items instead of people with feelings and emotions. I realize that this is what happens in foster care, children being moved around but it was hard reading about the emotions these children were feeling. The girls just wanted to go home with their father where they had a routine, a routine that was familiar and comfortable for them but was not ideal for them. These children needed stability and love and someone to provide that for them. The title speaks for itself with Sara and as for Anna, she needed someone to help her overcome the issues that she was confronting so she could be successful. I really enjoyed this novel. I liked how it touched on foster care and the children who are affected by it.