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Reactive Attachment Disorder: Resources: Books for Older Kids



Ender?s Shadow, by Orson Scott Card
As a companion to the much-acclaimed Ender?s Game series, Ender?s Shadow is a stand-alone science fiction novel. As in Ender?s Game, the setting is one in which earth is threatened by an alien race called the Formics (buggers). In order to find battle leaders with sufficient intelligence, but who are also malleable enough to be able to think like the enemy, Earth recruits and trains young children to lead its battle fleet. But the kids don?t know that it?s for real -- that they are leading a desperate battle. To them, it is only a game. In Ender?s Shadow, Card retells the tale of training and the battle, but this time through the eyes of the youngest and smallest commander, Bean -- a street urchin, with no family, who has had to shut off his feelings in order to survive. As with all of Card?s books, the story itself is exciting and interesting to adults and children. But the sequence of events is not what the book is all about. The appeal lies in character development and in the ethical dilemmas raised, as Bean searches for family as he seeks his own humanity. The novel deeply examines the question of what makes someone human. Oh, not to ruin the story, but in the end Bean returns to Earth, to a new family and a sense of purpose. My wife and I have taken in our 12 year-old nephew, who suffers from reactive attachment disorder. In our desire to help him to develop his emotions, we have bought many of the books intended, or often recommended for RAD kids, but most of them are clearly for kids younger than 12. For the purpose of continuing his education and developing his vocabulary, we are always looking for books that can entertain and educate, but without exacerbating his emotional underdevelopment. As a huge fan of Orson Scott Card, and especially the Ender series, I bought Ender?s Shadow for myself. When my nephew picked it up from my desk and paged through it, I offered to read it to him at night. While he can read pretty well, he has other reading assignments, so I wanted, not only to make this one easy for him, but to use it as a way for us to spend some time together before he went to sleep. Although I?ve skipped ahead, we?ve gotten to the fourth chapter so far, and he clearly loves it. Age 13 and up. 379 pages.



Shadow of the Hegemon, by Orson Scott Card
The second book in the Shadow series, and a continuation of the story of Bean. While Ender heads off to a faraway planet, Bean and the other brilliant children who helped Ender save the earth from alien invaders have become war heroes and have finally been sent home to live with their parents. While the children try to fit back in with the family and friends they haven't known for nearly a decade, someone's worried about their safety. Peter Wiggin, Ender's brother, has foreseen that the talented children are in danger of being killed or kidnapped. His fears are quickly realized, and only Bean manages to escape. Bean knows he must save the others and protect humanity from a new evil that has arisen, an evil from his past. But just as he played second to Ender during the Bugger war, Bean must again step into the shadow of another, the one who will be Hegemon. At this point, I think it is safe to say that Bean is no longer RAD, but your RADish might want to hear the end of the story. 365 pages.



Shadow Puppets, by Orson Scott Card
The third book in the Shadow series. In Shadow Puppets, Orson Scott Card continues the shoreline of Shadow of the Hegemon, following the exploits of the Battle School children, prodigies who have returned to an Earth thrown into chaos after the unifying force of the alien invasion they stopped in Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow has dissipated. Foremost among these whiz kids is the brilliant Bean who, in Shadow of the Hegemon, rescued his comrades from his nemesis -- the dastardly Achilles. Now, the down-but-not-out evil genius is again scheming towards global domination and vengeance against the irrepressible Bean. It's up to Bean and his newfound love, Petra, to outwit the young psychopath and save the world. Meanwhile, the other Battle School children are called to serve again as an expansionist China threatens the stability of post-Bugger War Earth. Shadow Puppets is, for better or worse, exactly what readers have come to expect from Card. There are thought-provoking musings on geopolitics, war, courage, arrogance, good versus evil, and the concept of children wise beyond their years dealing with grave responsibility. Unfortunately, many of these furnishings are looking a little frayed around the edges, but fans will enjoy an exciting, fast-paced plot and a suspense-filled conclusion. 368 pages.

While his books are not specifically attachment oriented, ?Ender?s Shadow? fit very well, and all of Orson Scott Card?s books are rich in ethics and family values, while at the same time, exciting and fun to read. For the sake of reading, I recommend him for any older child or adult.



Books That Build Character : A Guide to Teaching Your Child Moral Values Through Stories, by William Kilpatrick
Here is a family guide to classic novels, contemporary fiction, myths and legends, science fiction and fantasy, folktales, Bible stories, picture books, biographies, holiday stories, and many other books that celebrate virtues and values. There are more than 300 titles to choose from, each featuring a dramatic story and memorable characters who explore moral ground and the difference between what is right and what is wrong. These books will capture your child's imagination, and conscience as well-whether it is Beauty pondering her promise to Beast, mischievous Max in Where the Wild Things Are, the troubled boys of Lord of the Flies, generous Mr. Badger in The Wind in the Willows, or the courageous struggles of such real-life characters as Frederick Douglass and Anne Frank. With entries arranged by category and reading level, there is something here for all readers-from preschoolers to teenagers-whatever their tastes may be. Each entry features a complete plot summary and publisher information so that you can find the book with ease in your local library or bookstore. It's not always easy to teach a child the difference between right and wrong, but stories-whether they are based on fantasy or rooted in real life-can speak to children more eloquently than any list of dos or don'ts and can impart moral values as they nurture a child's imagination. 336 pages.

Note: When available, and when money is an object, please consider purchasing a used book rather than a new one. While I don't earn nearly as much of a commission on the sale of used books, the difference in cost to you is worth considering. With the money you've saved, go out and buy yourself something. -- ken


Last Modified on: Saturday, August 08, 2009


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