Castleman, Virginia Sara Lost and Found, 305 pages. Aladdin (Simon) 2016. $17. Content: G.
Sara, 10, has been left to care for her older, learning disabled sister, Anna, because her mother walked out years ago and their father has been home in almost a week. Tonight she and Anna will fill growling their stomachs with paper towels, because there is no food and no money. They have already been through the foster care system before and have no desire to go back. When their case worker comes to the door with the police, the girls try to run, but are caught when they go to the only safe place they know – their previous foster grandparents. Back in the system, Sara is desperate to hide her weaknesses and the major problems that Anna has, but in order to find a place to grow, Sara is going to have to learn to let go of many things.
The life experiences of older kids in foster care are so varied. I believe that hopeful stories need to be heard as much as the terrible situations need to be heard. Castleman draws from her own experiences in writing her novel. I don’t think it quite hits the mark as well as the classic The Pinballs, but its hopeful message is a good target for young audiences.
EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Cindy, Library Teacher