straw hat.jpg


The Sweetest Children’s Book I Ever Did Read - January 3rd, 2014

 When a former student asks me for a letter of recommendation, I’m generally touched. Who doesn’t want to be remembered, and remembered as a teacher, even if it entails a few hours lost to an academic endorsement? Sometimes those letters matter in an application process, sometimes they don’t. A few years ago I wrote one that apparently did, and I’ve never been happier with the result.  Nicole Sartini, a talented writer who’s worked for years with children in residential care programs, has recently published A Safer Place for Me: A Book for Children Entering Residential Care (illustrated by Zakary Kendall). She did so with funds from The Kentucky Foundation for Women, a group that offers grants to  artists “actively engaging individuals and communities in artmaking [...] focused on positive social change in Kentucky.” When she was assembling her application, she asked me for a letter. I was moved by her proposal, lucidly outlined and full of heart, and am even more moved by the final product–a book that helps children adjust to life in a group home.  As Nicole writes: “All kids deserve to be safe, but moving suddenly into a new home full of strangers can be scary. Children who have experienced trauma may be especially fearful of unfamiliar people and environments since they have not always been able to view the world as a safe place. In A Safe Place for Me, Cody [the main character] helps children understand what to expect when they are removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect and are placed into residential treatment in a group home.”  If you know anyone who works in residential youth homes, mental health facilities, or would just like to read a touching book to your child, please seek out A Safer Placer for Me, available at Amazon.

Derek MongComment