CASA Book List

Here are books that have been recommended to enhance you knowledge and understanding of topics related to your CASA volunteer work. These are suggestions and you can read books for a total of no more than three (3) hours towards your yearly commitment of 12 additional hours of training. In addition to this list, if you find other books, they may be read as long as they relate to this work and possibly to your case. Prior approval appreciated.

Have a title you’d like to suggest? Send your titles and authors to Cindy Verduce, Recruitment & Training specialist, at

A Place Called Home - David Ambroz (2022)

“A Galvanizing, stirring memoir about growing up homeless and in foster care to become a leading advocate for child welfare”. David was the speaker at our Rally for Kids lunch in April 2023.

What Happened to You? - Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Bruce Perry (2021)

An in-depth look into trauma and the way that if can affect the brain AND the shift that can happen when we ask “what happened to you?” rather than “what is wrong with you”.

The Invisible Child - Andrea Elliott (2021)

This is an astonishing story about the power of resilience, the importance of family and the cost of inequality-told through the crucible of one remarkable girl. This books takes on poverty, homelessness, racism, addiction, hunger and more as they shape the lives on one girl and her family.

Coming Out to the Streets: LGBTQ youth experiencing Homelessness - Brandon Andrew Robinson (2020)

LGBTQ youth are disproportionately represented in the US homelessness population. In this book the author examines their lives. This looks into lives they lived before they experience homelessness-within their families, schools, and other institutions-and later when they navigate the streets, deal with police and access shelter and other services.

The Shadow System: Mass Incarceration and the American Family - Sylvia A. Harvey (2020)

A searing expose of the effects of the mass incarceration crisis on families-including 2.7 million American children who have a parent locked up. The author follows the fears, challenges, and small victories of three families struggling to live within the confines of a brutal system.

No Visible Bruises - Rachel Snyder (2019)

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.

The Orchid and the Dandelion: Why Some Children Struggle and How All Can Thrive - Dr. Thomas Boyce (2019)

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.

Does Time Heal All? Exploring Mental Health in the First 3 Years - Miri Keren, MD; Doreet Hopp, PhD; Sam Tyano, MD (2017)

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. This book 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.

Evicted - Matthew Desmond (2016)

Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. Set in the poorest area of Milwaukee, the author follows eight families during the economic crisis of 2007-2008 as they struggled to pay their rent and the cycle of poverty that put barriers up along the way.

Helping Foster Children in School: A Guide for Foster Parents, Social Workers and Teachers - John DeGarmo (2015)

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.

Foster Girl, a Memoir - Georgette Todd (2013)

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.

The Body Keeps the Score - Bessel van der Kolk (2014)

The Body Keeps the Score teaches you how to get through the difficulties that arise from a traumatic past by revealing the psychology behind them and revealing some of the techniques therapists use to help victims recover.

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character - Paul Tough (2012)

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.

Three Little Words - Ashley Rhodes-Courter (2008)

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.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success - Carol Dweck, PhD (2006)

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.