Book Cover Description:
"Child Protection Services have been involved with Billy and his mother for some time now. He has been happily settled in a kinship placement with his grandmother and enjoys his pet cat, interacting with neighbors and even taking piano lessons. As the story unfolds, Billy's grandmother has unexpectedly passed away and so the story of Billy Had To Move begins.
Unfortunately, Billy's mother cannot be located. Mr. Murphy, Billy's social worker, places him in the foster home of Amy, Tim, and their baby "Colly." Billy experiences great loss resulting not only from his grandmother's death, but also the loss of the life he knew. Billy's inner journey therefore has also begun and with the help of Ms. Woods, a Play Therapist, there is hope."
Billy Had to Move, written by Theresa Ann Fraser, CYW, B.A. and illustrated by Alex Walton is a children's book, ideal for kids' ages 5 to 8. The book is especially ideal for kids entering the foster care system for the first time, and for participating foster parents.
The essence of the book and its core message is child play therapy and its effectiveness for children who had suffered loss or trauma in their lives. Mrs. Woods, Billy's therapist, appeared in the story after Billy moved to his new foster home and Amy (his foster mother) voiced her concern that Billy had anxiety issues. As a result, child play therapy became a main focus and the adults worked together to get Billy what he needed. What's beautiful in the story is Billy's arrival at trusting the adults around him. Fraser did a good job in showing Billy's feelings as she exposed several thoughts that ran through his mind during the therapy session. The sand tray play allowed Billy to finally begin the healing process and work through his feelings of loss. The reader could feel that Mrs. Woods was trustworthy too, as the book gently reassures that someone cares.
Billy Had to Move is a heart warming story with a happy ending, and kids who enter foster care will appreciate the book as it has an assurance that there can be hope for them too in foster care. However, from a literary perspective, the book is lacking details and vibrancy to its story plot. This book could easily be an easy-to-read short chapter book, showing more details of Billy's feelings and how he demonstrated his loss through actions and maybe through dialogue. The author needed to 'show' how the loss of his mother and grandmother, the loss of his school, cat, neighborhood and friends affected Billy. Considering that the story is being told from Billy's perspective, the reader doesn't really get the full essence of Billy's emotions. Only toward the end when Mrs. Woods entered the story did readers get a small glimpse of how Billy's emotions were a turmoil inside him.
Nevertheless, Billy Had to Move can be used as a tool for kids dealing with loss. Relating to Billy's situation probably is the first step toward healing, as it will help kids to discover that they are not alone, and that there are adults (social workers, foster parents, principals, and therapists) who work together as a team to restore hope even at a time of great loss.
Billy Had to Move by Theresa Ann Fraser, CYW, B.A. is published by Love Healing Press, a publishing house dedicated in providing quality books that help to heal both the mind and spirit - http://www.LHPress.com