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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
<DIV><B>“Beam presents both a sharp critique of foster-care policies and a searching exploration of the meaning of family.”—<I>Publishers Weekly</I>, starred review</B><BR><br> Who are the children of foster care? What, as a country, do we owe them? Cris Beam, a foster mother herself, spent five years immersed in the world of foster care, looking into these questions and tracing firsthand stories. The result is <I>To the End of June</I>, an unforgettable portrait that takes us deep inside the lives of foster children at the critical points in their search for a stable, loving family.<BR><br> The book mirrors the life cycle of a foster child and so begins with the removal of babies and kids from birth families. There’s a teenage birth mother in Texas who signs away her parental rights on a napkin only to later reconsider, crushing the hopes of her baby’s adoptive parents. Beam then paints an unprecedented portrait of the intricacies of growing up in the system—the back-and-forth with agencies, the shuffling between pre-adoptive homes and group homes, the emotionally charged tug of prospective adoptive parents and the fundamental pull of birth parents. And then what happens as these system-reared kids become adults? Beam closely follows a group of teenagers in New York who are grappling with what aging out will mean for them and meets a woman who has parented eleven kids from the system, almost all over the age of eighteen, and all still in desperate need of a sense of home and belonging.<BR><br> Focusing intensely on a few foster families who are deeply invested in the system’s success, <I>To the End of June</I> is essential for humanizing and challenging a broken system, while at the same time it is a tribute to resiliency and offers hope for real change.</div>