The Star: A Story to Help Young Children Understand Foster Care – Book Review

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Synopsis from Amazon.com about The Star: A Story to Help Young Children Understand Foster Care by Cynthia Miller Lovell:

“‘THE STAR: A STORY TO HELP YOUNG CHILDREN UNDERSTAND FOSTER CARE is an easy-to-read, short story with beautiful, watercolor illustrations. The book follows a fictional young girl, Kit, who is taken from her mother to the safety, and different world, of a foster home. On Kit’s first night in foster care, she becomes friends with a star outside her bedroom window. The star tells Kit about other foster children it has seen. Through the story, the star is a source of comfort for Kit as she experiences many emotions and adjusts to all the new things in her foster home. To get the most out of this book, the author recommends also reading QUESTIONS & ACTIVITIES FOR THE STAR: A HANDBOOK FOR FOSTER PARENTS.”

Grade:

5 hoots out of 5

Transfiguring Adoption awarded this book 5 Hoots out of 5 based on how useful it will be for a foster/adoptive family. [Learn more about our Hoot grading system here]

What Our Family Thought:

The target audience for this book is foster families. The book also appears to be written for kids ages 3 – 7; toddler, preschool and early elementary school. This story deals directly with the issue of foster care from the point of the child being taken from the birth home and on.

The illustrations in this book are well executed and help to engage a child as a caregiver reads the story to them.

This story has the direct purpose of walking a child through some of the feelings and emotions that surround being placed into the foster care system as the main character talks to a star at night time. The tale centers around a little girl who is taken from her birth mother’s home at the beginning of the book and is sent to live in a foster home. The little girl soon experiences all the emotions, confusion and concerns that any child in the foster system has with a new placement.

The story does not appear to “demonize” the birth parent. The book also seems to do well in not promoting foster care as an adoption placement. The character in the story does discover that there are other children in her situation and thus, the book allows children to know that they are not strange or unusual for being a foster child. The book also validates that it is okay for children to be scared in this situation

Since this book is directly dealing with the issue of foster care, it may not be a bedtime story book as it could bring up traumatic memories for a child of being taken from their birth home. Thus, it might be a good mid-day book when the caregiver and child have time to discuss things at the moment or later on in the day as questions come to the surface of the child’s thoughts.

Overall, this book does a great job of directly confronting and engaging a child with the topic of the foster care system. To get the most out of this book it is suggested that caregivers read it through with a child and ask them questions about the main character to see if those questions pull out any personal reflection from your child.

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It’s Your Turn:

  1. How do you think Kit felt when she left her birth mom’s home?
  2. Why do you think Kit felt like crying at her foster parents’ house?
  3. What did the Star say about foster children?
  4. Will Kit be adopted or return to her birth mom? What did the Star say?
  5. Kit knew the Star was always watching her. Who is always watching out for YOU? How do you know?
  6. Were you nervous or scared moving to your foster home? Why?
  7. Were you the reason you got removed from your birth home? Do you do something wrong?
  8. Do your foster parents love you? What does that mean? How do you know?

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