Foster Care Fun

For Your Own Good

These books seem to be ubiquitous. I think they are stalking me! I am now sleeping with one eye open.

Yes, today we have another Sanford Special about life in a foster family. Our young protagonist is Jerome and he has a little brother Jamin. Of course, mom is a drinker and drug abuser. Her boyfriend Jake is also a real prize. He is a drug dealer and has been known to hit Jerome and his brother. Fortunately child protective service swoops in after a particularly bad night and rescues Jerome and Jamin.  Mom and Jake are off to jail and Jerome and Jamin are placed in foster care.  Jerome is confused and angry at everyone. The foster family makes him bathe and eat regularly! Jerome and Jamin go to therapy and are told they have a right to their feelings. They also try and visit mom in a rehab center. Of course, she doesn’t show up. Jake gets a new apartment and takes anger management classes. (I have no idea how these two got out of jail, the timeline is a bit foggy.) Jerome calls his foster parent “Dad” and begins to heal. Cue the orchestra and scene….

I am sure you are all happy and are comforted by Jerome and Jamin’s brave recovery.


For Your Own Good back cover

parents doing drugs

physical abuse


mom goes to rehab

temper tantrum

resource room at school


  1. These books make me a little worried because recently I made illustrations for an author’s children’s book about a little boy whose very NON-creepy uncle has schizophrenia, although the story is a lot less dark and the pictures I made look cute. In the story the boy and uncle do a lot of fun things together like watch movies or make cookies at the bakery, but the uncle needs to take medicine for his illness or he becomes frightened by his hallucinations and sometimes even runs away. I was hoping the story would help kids and maybe some adults understand, but these stories and people’s reactions to them make me think otherwise. 🙁

    1. Nahhhh, I’m sure whatever you’re working on couldn’t be anymore f-ed up than any book Doris Sanford has put out, or come close!

  2. Wow! We get dialect this time around. She is just a fright—especially since our young man can speak standard English after he goes to school which is soooooo hard he has to go to the “Resource Room” and try to sit still. Another directionless horror!

  3. Good Lord & Butter, just how many of these ARE there?!
    I will say, the text on this one isn’t quite as bad as some of the other Sanford books, they are depicting emotions/reactions a lot of foster kids would actually experience – but knowing Sanford I suppose it all just neatly resolves itself without any real discussion of these things. So frustrating.

  4. Way to connect with your audience by dropping the “g” in the gerund form, Doris. That’s not offensive AT ALL.

  5. Jerome looks like he is wearing makeup, so maybe there are other issues going on, too. The sequel, perhaps?

  6. There’s been some back and forths on this forum about whether children’s books are useful for complex and painful topics or not–some people seem to feel that it’s too simplistic to be useful, and others feel it’s an important resource.

    This specific series of books is really awful though–it definitely does oversimplify and tends to feature a magical ‘all better’ for situations that at best will take some time to work through. They also tend to be insulting (and in this case, more than a bit racist).

  7. …….
    Who keeps publishing this woman’s books?
    Seriously, Doris, were you NOT hugged enough as a child?
    Don’t take your neuroses out on the innocents…that’s what Mr. Therapist is for…

  8. Woohoo! I saw this Sanford title before and was wondering if it would show up here, and it does not “disappoint”. I have to admit, I have kind of a strange fascination with her work–not because it’s good, but because it’s so awful and disturbing that it’s actually entertaining. Her main illustrator Graci Evans’ hyper-realistic but often off-model drawings also inspire the same mixed feelings for me.

    This particular book though…I have to admit, it does seem pretty decent compared to her others, but WOW. She just wanted soooo badly to make our friend Jerome here look like your usual ghetto stereotype and yet also a cute little boy, huh? I also noticed the sudden change in enunciation of words after he goes to school. It was pretty impressive when Charlie’s dialect in Flowers for Algernon changed back and forth–not so much here.

    Also, what the heck is wrong with their TV antenna? It’s going to poke someone’s eye out if they don’t turn it around!

  9. “Jake is confused and angry at everyone. The foster family makes him bathe and eat regularly! ”

    Boy, prison has sure changed…

    (I think you meant to say Jerome there.)

  10. I know kids don’t like to take bathes but no child is against eating regularly (maybe the kids don’t like the kind of food?). What’s really sad is this is one of the less appalling books in Doris’s catalogue. It’s still a terrible book. What’s worse is there are still more books by this woman out there that haven’t been covered yet.

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