post written by Emma Filbrun
Author: Jewel Carter
Major Themes: Adoption, Fostering, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Family Read-Alouds, Christian Fiction, Family Life
Synopsis: When the Hammond family was asked to take a needy 4-year-old into their home, Twila was excited—but Tanisha proved to be quite a handful for them.
Every time I order school books, I also look at the story books that are sold by that company. They publish very good books, and I would love to have every one of them on our shelf—if money wasn’t an issue! The last time I ordered, I noticed Tanisha, and decided to buy it. I read it this week, and was not disappointed. This is a good book.
One of the first things I noticed as I read the story was that the characters were familiar. The names and family relationships were the same as in the Hammond Cousins series. I flipped to the back of the book, and found an author’s note—sure enough, the author had used her mother’s books as inspiration for the characters in her own story. That made Tanisha even more interesting to me, as kind of a sequel to In Memory of Michael.
Thirteen-year-old Twila is the main character in this story. She loves her family, with four sisters and one brother. One sister and her brother are adopted, and she can’t even imagine life without them, anymore. She loves the babies and young children who have been through their home as foster children, and wishes for more. She is thrilled when the social worker tells them about a little girl who needs a new home. And then, Tanisha arrives.
At first, the beautiful little African-American girl is bubbly and happy, wanting to please everyone—but Twila wonders what is under the 4-year-old’s veneer. The family finds out soon enough when Tanisha rejects all of them, constantly does everyone in the opposite way from how she has been instructed, and deliberately tries to hurt Mother and the girls, especially. It helps a little to learn that she has an attachment disorder, and what probably happened to her in the past to cause these problems—but what can the family do to help the hurting little girl?
I have never had personal experience with a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder, but I have heard from people who have had this experience. I found this story very enlightening and was very much engrossed in it. This well-written story will help you to understand what some adoptive families experience. It will help you to have empathy with them, and maybe show you some ways you can help your friends who have adoptive or foster children. It makes me want to love my own children even more, too! I highly recommend Tanisha to everyone, especially mothers, and those who are interested in adoption or fostering.
Read Aloud—Ages 10 – 13, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults
Links to buy this book:
Keywords: Adoption, Fostering, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Family Read-Alouds, Christian Fiction, Family Life