“There are more than 400,000 children in foster care in the United States at any given time. According to 2016 federal data, the number of children and youth in foster care has risen for the third year in a row.” (Kit Coyote: A Brave Pup Helps Children Cope with Transition into Foster Care by GWright).
Kit Coyote: A Brave Pup is an insightful and informative picture book for children in the foster care system. Kit faces a very challenging event. We immediately learn that he is sometimes left home alone without any food. When he’s visited by Officer Bear and social worker Kathy Rabbit, they examine the situation and then take him to live with Rayna Fox, a foster mother. Frightened and confused, young Kit is lured out of bed by the promise of pancakes. Hunger supersedes fear.
Soon new people enter Kit’s life: the therapist Dr. Hedgehog and court advocate Clara Raccoon. With these supportive adults, Kit is able to share his feelings and ask tough questions. The key question is why he’s not living with his parents and whether he will live with his mother and father again. Dr. Hedgehog explains that his parents do love him, but that being a partner is a tough job. When (and if) his parents learn to do this job, he can return to them.
The story is written in child-friendly language and pictures. The story clearly explains the foster care process and clearly defines the roles of everyone involved in the foster care process; the police officer, social worker, court advocate, foster mother, and judge. It makes them all approachable and unintimidating. Through Kit, many of the questions that children in foster care are most likely thinking (even if they are not asking them aloud) are answered. I enjoyed that Kit was able to share his feelings and to understand that it’s is okay to feel scared.
The bright, colorful pictures introduce all the characters in a friendly way. The use of animals seems much less intimidating to children and also avoids racial or ethnic stereotypes. My favorite picture was the picture of Kit coloring.
I love the positive message it sent to the reader about foster care. It showed that everyone was working to do what was best for Kit and making sure that he’s safe. The book encourages Kit to believe he can survive and even thrive in a difficult situation.
Ms. Raccoon said it best when she states, “You are a brave pup, Kit.” That is the valuable message I hope children reading this book will receive; they are brave and never alone.
Rosemary Zibart is a former foster mom, an adoptive mom, journalist, children’s book author, and playwright. You can visit her website here and purchase Kit Coyote: A Brave Pup here.
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