Pictures of Hollis Woods is a Newberry Honor Book written by Patricia Reilly Giff. I found out about this book when Mita brought it to me to see how many stamps she would get for reading it. Remember I do summer stamps for the kids to earn media time and gift cards to keep them off the TV and to encourage some mind movements! She had gotten it at school. I hade no idea what it was about and asked her. She said it was good. That was about all the description I got from her, but taking her 12-year-old moodiness in stride I was just happy I didn’t get an eye roll!
So I read it. It only took an afternoon, but the book made an impact on me, like books about foster kids often do. A quick summary: Hollis Woods was abandoned an hour old in NYC and lived her life from foster home to foster home. She often ran away, she felt worthless, but her saving grace was her talent for art.
Seeing inside the mind of a child who has suffered from not having a family is tough. This may be a fictional story, but it could very well be a real one thousands of times over. Children without someone to love them often feel like they are nothing but trouble in the world. My heart breaks.
When we decided to adopt, I first called our local children’s services. I received bad information, and I have sometimes wondered if I had pushed harder or asked on another day how might our adoption journey would have been. Of course the past is the past and I’m in love with my family so it really doesn’t matter. Though I really want people to have good information when seeking adoption. Working through the foster system isn’t easy, but people do it. Kids do find homes, parents do find children.
A bit of a spoiler here in that Hollis does find a home. She learns that families are not perfect, so she doesn’t have to be perfect either. A sweet message.
I recommend this book for fourth grade and up. My goal is to ask Mita a bit more about the book. I’m not even sure if she sees a correlation between her and Hollis as they do have different stories. I do hope she gets the overriding message that the love of a family is deserved by everyone.