Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons - Recommended for High School
Posted on 05/20/2019
Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons book cover.“Ellen Foster demonstrates that you are never alone and things can always be worse. She found hope through her painting and the homemade dinners at her church. She endured abuse from her parents, but she persevered despite hopelessness and character flaws that only made her human—after all she had to raise herself. Ellen Foster will put you in her shoes and allow you to walk through her story.” - Iciss Wilkerson, a student at Hixson High School.

Ellen Foster is the Hamilton Book of the Week nominated by Iciss Wilkerson, James Huynh, and Jeremy Thomas, 11th-grade students at Hixson High School. Ellen Foster is a 1987 novel by American novelist Kaye Gibbons. It was a selection of Oprah's Book Club in October 1997. Ellen Foster follows the story of Ellen, the first person narrator, a young white American girl living under unfavorable conditions somewhere in the rural South. Two-time levels are intertwined throughout the book: one presenting Ellen's life from her present point of view, living with her "new mama"; and the other one telling Ellen's story from her mother's death and leading up to the present. The two-time levels are united at the end of the novel when Ellen is about twelve years old. The reader can follow her life over about two years. A sequel, The Life All Around Me by Ellen Foster, was published in 2006.

Editorial Reviews

Four and a half stars.from Amazon Readers

From GoodReads.com:
Ellen Foster is the brave and engaging heroine of Kay Gibbons' first novel, which won the Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy of Institute of Arts and Letters. Wise, funny, affectionate, and true, this is a short, powerful, and a lot of the time painful, story. Ellen Foster is a precocious eleven-year-old girl whose courage and strength and infinite wisdom carry her through things that no child should bear. She must deal with her alcoholic, abusive father who abandons her, a mother who is hospitalized, and her miserable grandmother. Ellen’s fight to make something great out of her unfortunate circumstances is what makes this story so special.

To check out more recommended books in the Hamilton Book of the Week at https://www.hcde.org/parents___students/suggested_reading.

Hamilton Book of the Week seeks to move Hamilton County Schools closer to district goals found in the Future Ready 2023 action plan. We hope to encourage kids to read more books for fun by sharing books popular at area schools.

District goals more students reading will address include:
• Reading improvement will increase the number of students on-track or mastering English language arts
• Improve the district ACT score to a district average of 21
• Reach the target goal of a 90 percent graduation rate by 2023