Tag Archives: adoption

Summer’s Dark Waters by Simon Williams


I was recently contacted by Simon Williams who asked if I would share this book for him. Simon is donating the proceeds to TACT, an adoption and fostering charity. Since he will not be making money from this book, I decided to share here. This fantasy book is for children ages 10 and up. Below is an excerpt from Summer’s Dark Waters.


The afternoon wore on, tedious in the way that only summer afternoons spent inside can be. The hands of the clock on the wall appeared (to the eyes of the hot and tired students who kept staring at it) to be moving far too slowly, as if like them it was starting to wilt a little in the summer heat.

Joe finished his work and turned it over to stop anyone nearby from copying his answers. Nathan sat nearest to him, and he usually tried to look at Joe’s work whenever he got a chance, but today he was actually trying to figure out the answers himself for a change.

Joe frowned and looked around suddenly. The oddest sensation had come to him- something he could not even hope to describe.

It’s like there’s suddenly an extra person in the classroom, he thought, and he found himself looking around at everyone and counting heads, certain that there was a new student who had suddenly wandered into the room- although that was impossible, because he and everyone else would have seen him or her. In fact their teacher, Miss Wells, would have introduced the new student at the beginning of the lesson.

And there can’t be anyone new anyway, he reminded himself. It’s almost the end of the summer term. No one joins school with just a week to go.

But he couldn’t stop himself looking around, scanning everyone and silently counting them. A few saw him and stared back. Daniel made a rude hand signal and glared at him. Gemma stuck out her tongue. Caitlin just smiled and gave him a little wave before going back to her work.

Have you finished your work, Joe?” Miss Wells asked, staring at him over the top of her glasses.

Yes miss,” he said politely.

Then could you please stop looking around at everyone else and read a book until the end of class?”

Joe took a book out of his bag and opened it at the bookmark. He began reading, but he had only got as far as halfway down the page when another strange feeling came to him. It was as if he was being watched intently by one of the other students.

No, he thought suddenly, closing the book slowly. His heart pounded and his stomach felt as if it had turned over. No, it’s not one of the other students. It’s the missing one. It’s the one I can’t see.

He knew that what he was thinking didn’t make any sense. It sounded completely mad. But that didn’t stop him being certain that there was someone in the class apart from all the people who he could see.

His eyes were drawn to a desk not far from the window where the sun poured in. There was no one sitting there, and he tried to remember who normally sat at that desk. Did anyone sit there?

Time seemed to slow down as he stared at the desk, at the sunlight slanting in across the classroom, at the tiny specks of dust that shone in the still warm air. He could dimly hear the tired ticking of the classroom clock on the wall. It’s slower than usual, he thought. It’s slowing down.

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The Stovepipe – Bonnie E. Virag


stovepipeNormally, I don’t read memoirs, but when a friend recommended I read “The Stovepipe”, telling me I would love it, I gave it a chance. How glad I am that I listened to her.

“The Stovepipe” wasn’t written as an ego trip by an elite, rich and famous person. Nor is it about some one of great historic importance. It is written about two young girls who lived with the horrors of the foster care system in the 40’s and 50’s.

This memoir, beautifully written by one of the girls, shows the indifference of the system and its inability to properly follow up with the foster children. It should be required reading for anyone who plans to work in the foster care program or has contact with foster children.

Bonnie and her twin sister, Betty, are taken from home at the tender age of four. No one tells them why they were removed, nor are they told where they are going or for how long. Separated from their siblings, they are frightened and alone.

The two go from one situation to another. Sometimes the changes are for the better, more often not. On occasion, they meet up with other of their siblings, but mostly they have no contact with one another. Eventually, the two girls end up with the Benders. At first, it seems an ideal location. They work hard on the farm, go to school and do homework like normal children. The only hitch is the Bender’s son, Doug, who does everything he can to torment them.

I didn’t want to give away any more of the plot. Suffice to say, things go downhill rapidly. “The Stovepipe” reads more like a novel. Virag fleshes out her characters with vivid memories of the events of her life. The reader can’t help but be amazed at what a wonderful, loving person she has become after all she was forced to endure.

I highly recommend “The Stovepipe” whether you’re a fan of memoirs or not. It is an incredible work that leaves the reader feeling anger at the injustice, as well as happiness at its conclusion.

5 golden acorns

© Dellani Oakes 2013