Recommended books and movies for foster parents

Recommended books and movies for foster parents


Trauma and Recovery by Judith Herman; published in 1992, still the greatest book in trauma studies, a must read for anyone working in any capacity with trauma victims. 

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van der kolk was published a few years ago. It’s the best recent discussion of trauma treatment and of new thinking about trauma. I have a Sounding Board commentary on this outstanding book. 

The Boy Who Was Raised As a Dog by Bruce Perry and Maia Szalavitz was published in 2007. This book contains engaging chapters about Perry’s work (he’s a child psychiatrist) with traumatized and severely neglected children. Perry’s book is written for non-experts and has great stories. I’ve written a SB discussion of this book. 

Nurturing Adoptions by Deborah Gray was published in 2007. This is the best single practical resource for foster parents and adoptive parents re how to help traumatized and severely neglected children self soothe and learn emotion regulation skills because it has concrete advice re what to do with children and youth at every age. Gray lives in Bellevue; she’s an excellent speaker. Read now at:

 Do Parents Matter?: Why Japanese Babies Sleep Soundly, Mexican Siblings Don’t Fight and American Families Should Just Relax by Robert and Sarah LeVine – these authors challenge common assumption re the components of good parenting and emphasize the importance of cultural influences on parents’ expectations of children. 


Marilynn Robinson’s novel, Lila, is a poignant account of a young woman’ shame and sense of unworthiness that result from early severe neglect. 

Kajillion is a remarkable recent movie about a young woman who was not nurtured as a child. Evan Rachel Woods plays a young woman emotionally stunted by extreme deprivation of nurturance who begins to free herself from her emotional / developmental  straitjacket as another young woman takes an interest in her.  

Ed: many of these books also feature in this previous list by Dee Wilson: The Best Books in Child Welfare

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