Published January 8, 2008 by Atheneum
ya memoir, Hardcover 320 Pages
"Sunshine, you're my baby and I'm your only mother. You must mind the one taking care of you, but she's not your mama." Ashley Rhodes-Courter spent nine years of her life in fourteen different foster homes, living by those words. As her mother spirals out of control, Ashley is left clinging to an unpredictable, dissolving relationship, all the while getting pulled deeper and deeper into the foster care system.
Painful memories of being taken away from her home quickly become consumed by real-life horrors, where Ashley is juggled between caseworkers, shuffled from school to school, and forced to endure manipulative,humiliating treatment from a very abusive foster family. In this inspiring, unforgettable memoir, Ashley finds the courage to succeed - and in doing so, discovers the power of her own voice.
I chose this book because I thought it would be a good read-a-like for those who had read A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer. While A Child Called It spoke of the horrors of child abuse at the hands of Dave's mother, Three Little Words described the ways in which child protective services many times fails children in the system. Ashley spent nine years of her life in fourteen different foster homes. By the time she was saved from this dismal existence, including one abusive foster home that would make the headlines, she had put up protective barriers that hardly let anyone in. She was always waiting for the next person to give up on her and send her on to places unknown. When Ashley finally found her forever home with the help of her Guardian ad Litem, Mary Miller, she describes her experience as this:
" I felt safe enough to allow sunlight to sweep the shadows from my life"
This is a book that will stick with me for a long time. It makes you want to go out and make a difference for kids who have suffered the atrocities of the foster care system. If you would like to read more about Ashley Rhodes-Courter, you can visit her website at http://rhodes-courter.com/.