Posts tagged ‘substance abuse’

OUT OF THE DARKNESS

Hey Nana! Connor’s Story of Love

Written by Toni Nunemaker

This book is a testament to the young life of Connor, a boy who was murdered by another in a playground not far from his home in a trailer park nearby. The memoir is penned by his grandmother, who herself undergoes a transformation because of the crime.

Readers need to be prepared for an emotional roller-coaster as Nana proceeds through a gamut of emotions proceeding from the moment of the crime, the funeral, the criminal investigation, the trial, and the family’s readjustment to a life without the nine-year-old child, who brought so much love into the world.

Nana even learns to understand and accept the grief that Jamarion, the young murderer, and his family experience and the abuse that led up to it. I think the author does an exceptional job of portraying her conflicting emotions as well as the character of the gentle and loving victim, her grandchild, and the special relationship they both shared.

The book is a powerful commentary on abuse, addiction, love, and the way various members of society cope or fail to cope with them. This book is one that will force readers to consider these issues, whether they agree with the author’s ultimate decision in her acceptance and forgiveness. Recommended for young adult and adult readers.

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MAKES A STATEMENT

Home

Written by Brenda Kearns

Home,pic

This novella explores the drawbacks of the foster care system and the emotions of children who are its victims. The author has had first hand experience with the system and presents her story from the point of view of fourteen year old Allie. She and her younger twin siblings, Luke and Madeleine have been ripped away from their mother many times. This time they find themselves on a farm.

Allie is determined to get them back to their urban home. She uses her experience to try to manipulate the system and the social worker. When she finds herself in the care of Jo-Jo and a few other foster children, Allie is flummoxed. While she is determined to get back home as fast as she can, this family’s approach of both tough love and common sense has her baffled. It seems that Allie’s mother is determined to sabotage her efforts because every time she has a chance to show herself a good mother, she proves just the opposite. Finally the day arrives when they have an unsupervised overnight visit with their mother; the children find themselves in trouble again. How will Allie decide to handle it this time?

This book is both an examination of foster care and a coming of age story. Kearns knows how to develop her characters and pull the heart strings of her readers. At the same time, the touches of humor like Allie falling into cow dung and getting kicked when pretending to understand how to milk a cow take the edge off an otherwise too serious topic. I recommend the book for children ages ten and up. They will find many topics with which to identify as well as being given an opportunity to explore aspects of serious family issues.

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BACK TO THE SOURCE

Creatus (They Exist):The Prequel (Creatus Series)

Written by Carmen DeSousa

Creatus,pic

I grabbed this book as an introduction to the Creatus novel series that I had read about which mixes elements of mystery, romance, suspense and a touch of the supernatural. The action in this prequel takes place fourteen years before Book One and is intended to develop the characters and fill in some gaps in the story line.

While there is no overt sex or graphic violence, the protagonist named Kris witnesses her mother being stabbed to death, and experiments with drugs and sex in her quest to find herself. For this reason, I would not recommend the book for younger teens. Derrick Ashton, her hero, is a Creatus, one of a species almost wiped out by humans. He struggles to fulfill his destiny as an overseer, while feeling a tremendous pull to be a “watcher” protecting this young human girl even though it is forbidden by his kind. Derrick cannot explain why he feels compelled to be her Dark Angel though he knows his destiny and a mate has already been chosen for him. Here we have two main characters struggling to overcome their demons and find their niche in the world. Derrick cannot help himself and Kris cannot control her destructive behavior. Every time she is at the point of self-destruction, she feels the presence of her Dark Angel. Fans of other books in the series will want to read this novella to round out the Creatus experience.

The author draws the reader in with the skillfully developed plot and imbues the reader with the conflict and torment the characters are experiencing. There is a nice balance of story elements including the right combination of mystery, suspense, and paranormal presenting an interesting drama. Fans of all three genres will enjoy the novella. Older teens will identify with Kris and her struggles to find her way.

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TALKING TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT SUBSTANCE ABUSE

Good Answers to Tough Questions About Substance Abuse (new March, 2013 edition}

by Joy Berry

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The author has sold more than 85 million books which discuss the issues parents and children face daily. This particular volume is certainly one of the best and most important, in my opinion. The author takes a non biased analytical approach to present information in a nonjudgmental way allowing the reader to make an informed decision.

First, Berry points out the items you need to know. There are prescription and non-prescription drugs. She discusses the reasons one is tempted and the reasons one should not use them. The author explains how to avoid abusing them and how to say no to drugs if you don’t want them. She emphasizes the fact  that our environment contains both good and bad things. When you use them in a positive way, you make your life better. Drugs are neither good nor bad in themselves. If you decide to abuse drugs, your body becomes dependent on them, and you become physically and psychologically addicted.

Berry then discusses almost every type of substance abuse including alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, hallucinogens, sedatives, tranquilizers, opiates, and even glues, liquids, and chemicals. Then Berry lists the long and short term effects of each. She discusses the reasons people decide to abuse these drugs, the reasons for avoiding them and how to avoid getting into these situations.  She suggests that teens shun situations that don’t represent their life style and things like clothing, movies and posters that feature such abuse. Berry details the exact way to handle these situations with actual suggestions on what to say and do. Her bottom line is that you can always ask for the support of parents or friends. No one plans to become an addict. At the same time, no one can force you to to drugs. It is YOUR DECISION.

Parents and teachers who are looking for a starting point of discussion on substance abuse will find this book invaluable. Berry presents the information in clear, concise form. She is completely non-judgmental and does not come across as an authoritarian figure. Adults can use this book as the basis of discussion with the child to learn and understand what she needs and wants to know, and how she feels about friends and peer pressure issues. Children as young as eight or nine can certainly benefit by having this discussion sooner rather than later.

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