*This blog is a guest article part of the Foster Care Fortnight campaign. It was written by Brent Fostering in collaboration with Brent Libraries staff. We would like to thank everyone for the wonderful titles they recommended.
Placing decent work and social justice at the core of policy making is simply a recognition of the obvious: none of us can build a better future for ourselves unless we include others.
We must work to help all families and all communities realize their dream of a better future.
Future means different things for different people, but one thing is clear – future means change, and change is the only constant in life. With this in mind, we always strive for change for the better that leads to brighter futures. When it comes to writers and their published works, many writers have dedicated thousands of pages to stories of people growing to become better humans thanks to others’ love and support.
In fostering, which is our area of expertise, we try to change things by finding loving families for Brent’s looked after children. When we see these children become successful young adults, we know that we have done something right – we chose the right people to change their futures.
Inspired by our children’s stories, we decided to write this short piece about the good reads out there about changed lives. This way we hope to show that even though it is hard to keep under control a situation where inequality leads to children suffering, there is hope thanks to loving and devoted adults who become foster carers. Between 13 and 26 of May we celebrate fostering, the foster carers and the children during Foster Care Fortnight. This year we are focusing on changed lives and how fostering has changed children’s future in Brent. Discover what we’re planning for Foster Care Fortnight.
With this in mind, we asked our colleagues from Brent Libraries to recommend some powerful reads about changed lives. With their help we managed to put together the list below that we hope you’ll enjoy.
- Harry Potter – J.K. Rowling
Harry was an orphan child fostered by his uncle’s family. While this isn’t a positive fostering example that we would like to hear about in the service, we have to admit that Harry’s story is truly inspiring. The way this young boy stays positive during his time with the unloving Dursley family and how he fights the evil to discover his strength is empowering. Just like with fostering, challenges never end and things are never easy; the same happens in the story where Harry and his friends have to fight the evil in order to find peace and happiness. The novel is also a great because it speaks about the hard life of children without parents who relies solely on friends to find their sense of belonging. The mystery and the suspense it creates coupled with the humour and the imaginative descriptions make all the Harry Potter books a read suitable for everyone aged 8 to 80.
Find copies of Harry Potter on our catalogue .
- Lost and Found Sisters – Jill Shalvis
Sarah Smith, Library Development Manager recommend this novel “to curl up with on the weekend with yummy food. This is about what happens when chef Quinn finds out she’s adopted whilst still going through bereavement for a sister lost. A whole new world opens up when her birth mother whom she met without knowing, whilst in a coffee shops listening to two women discussing post-menopausal sex life (too funny but stick with me…), leaves her an inheritance with some challenges. Yes, another death but it’s the beginning of an adventure laced with lots of laugh out loud moments. I’ve just discovered this author and will definitely look out for more of her work. Go check it out!”
Find a copy to borrow in a Brent Library near you.
- The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
Recommended by Andrew Stoter, Library Stock Manager, this is a book perfect for children and adults alike. “By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.
In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.” For a realistic experience of the 1939 Nazi Germany, Find a copy to borrow here.
- A Little Princess – Frances Hodgson Burnett
Recommended by both Fiona Heffernan, Development Officer and Zoe English, Culture Services Marketing Officer, this novel follows the story of “motherless Sara Crewe who was sent home from India to school at Miss Minchin’s. Her father was immensely rich and she became ‘show pupil’ – a little princess. Then her father dies and his wealth disappears, and Sara has to learn to cope with her changed circumstances. Her strong character enables her to fight successfully against her new-found poverty and the scorn of her fellows.”
- Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
Or The Parish Boy’s Progress, tells the story of orphan Oliver who was born in a workhouse and sold into apprenticeship with an undertaker. After escaping, Oliver travels to London, where he enters a system of exploitation run by a member of a juvenile pickpockets’ gang. Crowned with a happy ending, this novel speaks about how the life of Oliver improved after overcoming the obstacles far too challenging for a young boy. The story gives us the opportunity to reflect on how far the English social care system has come since the 1800’s, and it is a reminder of how much poverty impacts the lives of innocent children, hindering their development.