Fran Lewis reviews “Billy Had to Move”

Billy Had to Move: A Foster Care Story

Creating a safe a nurturing environment for a child that has suffered a family loss requires empathy and compassion on the part of those responsible for providing care for this child. Fearful and apprehensive at first when placed in an unknown home with strangers, any young child might regress and hide within themselves not wanting to speak for fear of saying or doing the wrong thing.

Author Theresa Ann Fraser with along with the colorful and expressive illustrations by Alex Walton brings the story heartwarming story titled Billy Had To Move: A Foster Care Story  for readers of all ages.

How do you tell a young child that his life is about to dramatically change because the person that loved and cared for him , his grandmother passed away. A social worker came to his school and explained what happened to this young boy and Billy was trying to process what he was told yet afraid and fearful of his future. Mr. Murphy the social worker explained that he would be living with another family, he would take him to his grandmother’s funeral and then hopefully find him a permanent home. That’s a lot for him to process and who could blame him for shedding tears. Billy was worried about his cat Miffy but , Mr. Murphy told him that someone was going to care for the cat. Then things changed and he was brought to a home with whatever was packed for him and was greeted by a nice lady named Amy. From the moment she opened the door and greeted him you could tell that this social worker really cared about Billy and must have researched the couple making sure they would care for him like he was their own.

This is a powerful story that reminds social workers, guidance counselors, foster parents like Amy and her husband, that these children need love, understanding, a feeling of security and hugs like their own children. They need to know they are wanted and safe from harm as the author continues letting us get to Amy and her daughter Colleen that Billy seemed to fall in love with right away.

Billy had a lot of adjustments to make and from the start Amy took the time to talk with him and make him part of the family but Billy bedded more. Anger can set in , anxiety and panic and these issues and more are discussed in this book as the author through Mr .Murphy and Amy’s intuitiveness realize that Billy needs a way to express his feelings, fears and anger in a way that was safe, orderly and controlled. The images of his grandmother remain in his mind and the illustration that encompasses it will warm your heart to Billy as his memory holds him tight. The past will always be part of his life and his love for Colly is exceptional and real. Amy seems to be concerned about his emotional status and with the help of Mr. Murphy, Mrs. Woods is a introduced and her role as a child and play therapist is vital to his progress if he takes to her and will allow her to teach him to use play therapy as a way to express his feelings, thoughts and fears hoping this mode of therapy helps will deal with the loss of his grandmother and not knowing where is mother might be. Hard for any child ay any age.

Headaches, stomach aches, physical problems and dreams that keep him awake are just some of what Billy experiences and has to overcome. Foster care is a responsibility for those adults that undertake it. As an educator I have worked with foster parents of some of my students and was able to see the signs of caring parents and those that requires I take steps with the social workers to find out why some children might need another placement. The author shows the positive side of foster care and the focus is on helping not only Billy but Amy and her family to teach Billy ways to overcome his sadness, find ways to express himself and know that’s it’s okay to feel frustrated and scared. Through Mrs. Woods he might even learn that using the sand tray and other modes like art or painting or games to express himself is a positive start.

The illustrations alone tell the story and the facial expressions created are realistic. The author includes information for caregivers and resources for educators, foster parents and counselors. Foster parents need to be monitored more carefully and the author through Mrs. Woods let’s Billy know and understand that he can report or tell a grownup he trusts if someone is hurting him or he’s afraid of a person for some reason.

The ending is open ended as we learn more about where Billy will live but will it be permanent? Will they ever find his mother? Will Amy and her husband adopt him and give him a permanent home?

Will Billy figure out all of his feelings that get him mixed up?

Although the book is geared for children ages 4-7 I think that even older children will benefit from reading about Billy and not every foster care situation is negative. I hope the author allows readers to continue and learn where he finds himself when he’s older.

Once again author Theresa Ann Fraser and illustrator Alex Walton raises the bar and enlightens parents, teachers, counselors, social workers, therapists and even children to understand the true meaning of caring and nurturing a young child. Great for group discussions, guidance counselors that have small group discussions and school administrators who need to monitor along with social workers the care of the foster children in their schools.

This review courtesy of Fran Lewis Just Reviews

We're All Not the Same, But We're Still Family

SKU 978-1-61599-478-6
$13.95
In stock
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This story was written for adoptive families to explore the benefits of adoption openness. The main character, Deshaun, loves his family but always wondered about his biological family. Does he look like them? Did they love him? With the support of his adoptive parents, Deshaun gets to meet his biological family. They develop an ongoing relationship, so Deshaun feels more stable in his adoptive family, but also develops a comfortable relationship with his birth family. Deshaun and his family are reminded (as we all are) that family can include biological, adopted, foster and kin members.

After reading this book, a child and their family will be able to:

  • Discuss feelings about adoption
  • Imagine what openness might mean for them
  • Acknowledge similarities and differences among family members
  • Discuss if an expanded sense of family is possible for their circumstances

"There are many children's adoption books that address the important themes of identity, attachment, grief and loss; however, very few approach the topic of openness for older children in the in-depth manner that Theresa and Eric do in their book. The emotions that Deshaun describes are typical of many adopted children and could help normalize universal feelings for young adoptees. I would highly recommend this book for all adopted children and will certainly be using it in my practice."
--Tecla Jenniskens, M.S.W., R.S.W., adoption social worker

"Many foster and adoptive parents fear the consequences of introducing their children to birth parents. This story offers a redemptive look at how parents can remain history keepers for their children by helping them answer important questions about themselves and their origins. This book is a beautiful example of how fearless curiosity and compassion can lead to increased coherence in a child's story and an expanded sense of family for everyone."
--Paris Goodyear-Brown, LCSW, RPT-S, clinical director of Nurture House, executive director of the TraumaPlay Institute and author of A Safe Circle for Little U and Trauma and Play Therapy

"We're All Not the Same, but We're Still Family is a lovely book that tackles issues adopted children really think about when they question their identity and place within a family. The authors describe the process of a boy's search for his biological family, with the full support of his adoptive parents, and the events that brought him into the child welfare system. The illustrator's rendition of the Skyped meetings between the two families is captivating, while the text gives careful attention to the unification process. I applaud the authors on their inclusion of realistic steps in this complicated process, as we witness a child's journey to find and complete his family."
--Laurie Zelinger, PhD, ABPP, RPT-S, board certified psychologist and author of Please Explain "Anxiety" to Me!

Learn more at www.TheresaFraser.com

From Loving Healing Press www.LHPRess.com

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