November Staff Recs

Book Recommendation from Darcy: Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver

“Disclaimer:  I haven’t finished this book but I can’t put it down.  It is excellent.  It takes place here in Virginia, in the most southwest region of the state.  It touches on poverty, substance abuse, foster care…so many topics relevant to the work we do.  From the first few sentences, I was hooked.  I hope we can do a book club on this one!”–Darcy

From Goodreads:  “Set in the mountains of southern Appalachia, this is the story of a boy born to a teenaged single mother in a single-wide trailer, with no assets beyond his dead father’s good looks and copper-colored hair, a caustic wit, and a fierce talent for survival. In a plot that never pauses for breath, relayed in his own unsparing voice, he braves the modern perils of foster care, child labor, derelict schools, athletic success, addiction, disastrous loves, and crushing losses. Through all of it, he reckons with his own invisibility in a popular culture where even the superheroes have abandoned rural people in favor of cities.

Many generations ago, Charles Dickens wrote David Copperfield from his experience as a survivor of institutional poverty and its damages to children in his society. Those problems have yet to be solved in ours. Dickens is not a prerequisite for readers of this novel, but he provided its inspiration. In transposing a Victorian epic novel to the contemporary American South, Barbara Kingsolver enlists Dickens’ anger and compassion, and above all, his faith in the transformative powers of a good story. Demon Copperhead speaks for a new generation of lost boys, and all those born into beautiful, cursed places they can’t imagine leaving behind.”

Article from the NY Times:

Is N.Y.’s Child Welfare System Racist? Some of Its Own Workers Say Yes.

By Andy Newman

Nov. 22, 2022

New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services must protect children without overpolicing families. A report the agency commissioned says it often fails.