“American Girl: A Year in the Life of Chrissa” is a fun little book that tells the story of a girl who was raised by foster parents to have a very unusual American childhood. This child was adopted into an unconventional family, and has lived in a house that was designed with no doors. As a result, she has been able to experience American life in all its complexity, as an outsider, a stranger, and a friend. The author, Lisa Olson, draws on personal experiences to bring this amazing story to life, and offers an honest, yet humorous look at what it's like to be adopted into a strange and uncommon household.
The story starts out with an introduction to “Chrissa,” a new fifth grader at an unusual new school in New Mexico. Her mother and father are both foster parents, and they raise their daughter as if she were their own. A wrestling competitor (Tishler) and other bullying bully torment an older sister (Hanratty), a new fourth grader, at her new public school. As the bullying progresses and escalates, “Chrissa” must learn to cope with being different from others, including dealing with her adoption into a strange household. The book ends on a high note by showing a new chapter in the life of “Chrissa,” one that promises a happy ending.
The most interesting part of “American Girl: A Year in the Life of Chrissa” is the chapter about the adoption process. In her chapter, Olson describes how “Chrissa” was adopted into a strange and unusual household. It also describes how this family had no money, no assets, and no future. Olson gives a real sense of the desperation that families in poverty often feel when they are adopted into strange homes.
In addition to the interesting adoption chapter, “American Girl: A Year in the Life of Chrissa” also includes a short history of the child's birth and life in foster care. Olson describes the struggles faced by the adoptive parents, the emotional trauma that the adoption caused, and the steps taken to help “Chrissa” adjust to life in foster care. It also includes the story of how “Chrissa” met her adopted sister's foster father and learned how she managed to become a good friend to his daughter. The author gives a lot of detail about the foster parents and their foster children, and the difficult experiences they faced while trying to raise them.
“American Girl: A Year in the Life of Chrissa” is a fun, entertaining read, and the author clearly loves the challenge of writing about children who are unusual. It is a short, fun read, with some great insights into what it's like to be adopted into a strange and unusual home. “American Girl: A Year in the Life of Chrissa” is a fun book for all ages. For those who enjoy reading books on foster kids and adoption, or who want to read about a different way of life, this is a perfect read.
Overall, “American Girl: A Year in the Life of Chrissa” is an enjoyable and amusing read. It's not exactly the “Year of the Kid,” but it's a quick and easy read that anyone will enjoy, even those not familiar with adoption. Anyone who has an interest in fostering kids will enjoy it. For the most part, Olson does a good job describing foster parenting and provides a positive view of the difficult times faced by many foster families.
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