Booktalking "Three Little Words" by Ashley Rhodes-Courter

Southwest Library

Booktalking "Three Little Words" by Ashley Rhodes-Courter

Three little words keep young Ashley alive during a rapid succession of foster homes, some good, some bad and some indifferent.
My little sunshine.
Those are the words of comfort and love that her mother offers her. She told her that other people would take care of her, but they were not her mama. The ray of hope that her mother would someday regain custody of her keeps her going. She longs for her mother's sweet embrace; she misses the fun, light and laughter that they shared. The youngster relentlessly questionsd social workers, foster parents and anyone who will listen about when she will be able to visit her mother and live with her. Her plaintive pleas most often are met with vague, evasive replies.
Ashley wants her mama.
Sometimes years would pass without them seeing each other... occasionally the visits would be more frequent. Oftentimes, her mother would simply not show for scheduled visits. When they did meet, they luxuriate in their short time together. Ashley's mother always vows to get her daughter back soon, but Ashley is unsure of what "soon" means. The girl would later discover that her mother faced drug possession and prostitution charges.
In a few of her many foster care placements, Ashley is loved fiercely and doted upon, but these situations never seem to last long. The constant switching of home care settings in less than a year's time continues to take their toll on the girl, who then retreats into fantasies of being back in her mother's arms. 
Too many of the girl's foster care placements are filled with horrific instances of abuse and neglect, including unsanitary living and bathing conditions and lack of adequate nutrition. One foster mother, Marjorie Moss, is particularly bad. She seems to thrive on tormenting the children, who then take to ratting on each other in order to avoid Moss' wrath. Ashley refers to her as the Wicked Witch, yet the woman is touted by the social services department as a model foster parent who provides training to other foster parents. Despite multiple reports of extreme abuse from multiple kids in the household, it takes months for social services to remove Ashely from the Moss home.
Three Little Words: A Memoir by Ashley Rhodes-Courter, 2008
This work is a disturbing look at the high prevalence of mistreatment in the foster care system. Ashley's courage to triumph over such adverse circumstances and then thrive is an inspiration to all. Ashley's book is a wonderfully poignant, yet disturbing read. She wrote a sequel entitled, Three More Words.
Blog by Miranda J. McDermott
Books about foster care
Ashley Rhodes-Courter's web site