Book Recommendations

Cultural Awareness

How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir: by Saeed Jones

In powerful poetry and prose, Saeed Jones recounts his experiences growing up as a young, black, gay man in rural Texas. In powerful poetry and prose, Saeed Jones recounts his experiences growing up as a young, black, gay man in rural Texas.

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How To Be An Antiracist: A Memoir: by Ibram X. Kendi

Despite the nature of its title, Kendi has gifted us with a book that is not only an essential instruction manual but also a memoir of the author's own path from anti-black racism to antiwhite racism and, finally, to antiracism.

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Domestic Violence

No Visible Bruises: by Rachel Snyder

Snyder highlights an epidemic of unacknowledged violence. Fifty women a month are shot and killed by their partners, and she explores the problem from multiple perspectives: the victims, the aggressors and a society that turns a blind eye.

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In The Dream House: by Carmen Maria Machado

This memoir, which tells the story of Machado’s abusive relationship with another woman, is an act of personal and formal bravery.

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The Early Years

Does Time Heal All? Exploring Mental Health in the First 3 Years: by Miri Keren, MD; Doreet Hopp, PhD; Sam Tyano, MD

In this book, the authors (Miri Keren, MD; Doreet Hopp, PhD; Sam Tyano, MD) seek to debunk the idea that all troubling behaviors arising in early childhood will simply “pass with time,” asserting instead that every effort should be made to attempt diagnosis and treatment of truly abnormal issues early in life, while the baby’s brain is still flexible and malleable. Not a guide, nor an ordinary textbook, Does Time Heal All?

Weaves together complex case and treatment descriptions that focus specifically on the interplay between genetic, biological, psychological, and cultural variables present both in the child and his or her environment. The resulting insights will fascinate and enrich all who seek to trace the thin line between normative behavior, even if extreme at times, and abnormal behavior caused by a psychological disorder requiring therapeutic intervention.


The Orchid and the Dandelion: Why Some Children Struggle and How All Can Thrive: by Dr. Thomas Boyce

This books looks at the resiliency of children and how to adapt our strategies so that all types of children can be successful. Dr. Boyce, a professor emeritus at the University of California, San Francisco has studied how stress effects children for nearly forty years and over time has developed his classifications of Orchids and Dandelion children. Dandelions are kids who are adaptable, resilient and largely unphased by changes in their circumstances. Orchids, on the other hands, are more sensitive and react to change in biologically different ways. This book will teach us how children deal with stress and how to tailor our approaches so that we can support a full spectrum of children.

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How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character: by Paul Tough

Why do some children succeed while others fail? The story we usually tell about childhood and success is the one about intelligence: success comes to those who score highest on tests, from preschool admissions to SATs. But in How Children Succeed, Paul Tough argues that the qualities that matter more have to do with character: skills like perseverance, curiosity, optimism, and self-control.

How Children Succeed introduces us to a new generation of researchers and educators, who, for the first time, are using the tools of science to peel back the mysteries of character. Through their stories—and the stories of the children they are trying to help—Tough reveals how this new knowledge can transform young people’s lives. He uncovers the surprising ways in which parents do—and do not—prepare their children for adulthood. And he provides us with new insights into how to improve the lives of children growing up in poverty. This provocative and profoundly hopeful book will not only inspire and engage readers, it will also change our understanding of childhood itself.

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The Body Keeps the Score by: Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk

This book uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust. He explores innovative treatments—from neurofeedback and meditation to sports, drama, and yoga—that offer new paths to recovery by activating the brain’s natural neuroplasticity.

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Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by: Carol Dweck, PhD

In this brilliant book, Dr. Dweck shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities. People with a fixed mind-set - those who believe that abilities are fixed - are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mind-set - those who believe that abilities can be developed. Mindset reveals how great parents, teachers, managers, and athletes can put this idea to use to foster outstanding accomplishment.

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Foster Care

Helping Foster Children In School: A Guide for Foster Parents, Social Workers and Teachers by: John DeGarmo

This book explores the challenges that foster children face in schools and offers positive and practical guidance tailored to help the parents, teachers and social workers supporting them.

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Foster Girl, A Memoir by: Georgette Todd

Foster Girl reveals what it feels like to grow up in foster care. Readers will come away from this book with a better understanding of how the foster care system works and what we can all do to make a difference.

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Another Place at the Table by: Kathy Harrison

Another Place at the Table is the story of life at our social services' front lines, centered on three children who, when they come together in Harrison's home, nearly destroy it. It is the frank first-person story of a woman whose compassionate best intentions for a child are sometimes all that stand between violence and redemption.

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Three Little Words by: Ashley Rhodes-Courter

An inspiring true story of the tumultuous nine years Ashley Rhodes-Courter spent in the foster care system, and how she triumphed over painful memories and real-life horrors to ultimately find her own voice.

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