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Books to Deepen Your Understanding

Reading is a powerful tool for gaining new perspectives and expanding your knowledge base. Explore our recommended books that address critical issues in child welfare, trauma-informed care, and effective advocacy. These resources will help you stay informed and prepared to make a meaningful impact in the lives of the children we serve. Below is a list of some CASA favorites, these books have great insight about common issues that may arise during your time as a CASA. Time spent reading can be counted as in-service credit.

Addiction & Recovery


"A heartbreaking book about an impossible decision. It captures the anguish of addiction, the agonizing conflict between an addict’s best and worst selves. ”

Brain Development


Grace Based Discipline

"Karis shares stories of trial and triumph straight from the trenches of parenting. Karis gives desperate parents a reliable recipe for peace, boundaries, and effective discipline."


Grace Based Parenting

"Rejecting rigid rules and checklists that don't work, Dr. Kimmel recommends a parenting style that mirrors God's love, reflects His forgiveness, and displaces fear as a motivator."

Child Welfare


No Matter How Loud I Shout

"This book discusses the Los Angeles juvenile court's failings with evidence of the system's inability to slow juvenile crime or rehabilitating offenders."


Somebody Else's Child

"In this penetrating exposé of the inner workings of the U.S. family court system, two award-winning journalists provide an intimate look at the lives of the children whose fate it decides."


Turning Stones

"Why does an infant die of malnutrition? Why does an eight-year-old hold a knife to his brother's throat? A city caseworker, searched the streets--and his heart--for the answers."


Before We Were Yours

"Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into an orphanage, at the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty."

Cultural Awareness


So You Want to Talk About Race

"Oluo guides readers through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to "model minorities"."


Why are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?

"An essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the dynamics of race in America."


We Are Not Yet Equal

"When America achieves milestones of progress toward black participation in democracy, the systemic response is a consistent racist backlash that rolls back those wins."


Stamped from the Beginning

"This fast-moving narrative chronicles the entire story of anti-black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history."


The Fire Next Time

"A powerful evocation of James Baldwin's early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, the book is an intensely personal and provocative."


The Color of Water

"McBride shares recollections of his own experiences as a mixed-race child of poverty, his flirtations with drugs and violence, and his eventual self- realization and professional success."


Between the World and Me

"Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis."


A More Beautiful and Terrible History

"Historian Jeanne Theoharis dissects myth-making, teasing apart the accepted stories to show them in a different light."


One Person, No Vote

"Anderson follows the astonishing story of government-dictated racial discrimination unfolding before our very eyes as more and more states adopt voter suppression laws."


I'm Still Here

"In a time when nearly every institution claims to value diversity, Austin writes about her journey to self-worth and the pitfalls that kill our attempts at racial justice.


The New Jim Crow

"The book discusses race-related issues specific to African-American males and mass incarceration in the United States."


Just Mercy

"A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice—from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time.


The White Man's Burden

"This study attempts to answer a simple question: What were the attitudes of white men toward Negroes during the first two centuries of European and African settlement?"


A Good Kind of Trouble

"Tensions are high over the trial of a police officer who shot an unarmed Black man. When the officer is set free, Shay goes to a silent protest and starts to see that some trouble is worth making."


I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

"It captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right."

Domestic Violence


Crazy Love

"Leslie seemed to have it all: looks, a diploma, a glamorous job, and a handsome boyfriend who adored her. But behind her façade of success, this golden girl hid a dark secret."


Why Does He Do That?

"A counselor uses his knowledge about how abusers think to help women recognize when they are being controlled or devalued, and to find ways to get free of an abusive relationship."


The Out of Sync Child

"The groundbreaking book that explains Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)—and presents a drug-free approach that offers hope for parents—now revised and updated."

Family Dynamics


The Bean Trees

"A story about love and friendship, abandonment and belonging, and the discovery of surprising resources in seemingly empty places"


Little Fires Everywhere

"It explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the pull of motherhood— and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster."


Call Me Tuesday

"Based on a true story, it recounts, with raw emotion, a young girl's physical and mental torment at the mercy of the monster in her mother's clothes--a monster she doesn't know how to stop loving."


Lost Children Archive

"As the family travels west, the bonds between them begin to fray: a fracture is growing between the parents, one the children can almost feel beneath their feet."


The Glass Castle

"A remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant."

Foster Care


Another Place at the Table

"The story of life at social services' front lines, centered on three children who, when they come together in Harrison's home, nearly destroy it."


A Chance in the World

"Caught in the clutches of a cruel foster family and subjected to constant abuse, Steve finds his only refuge in a box of books given to him by a kind stranger."


Almost Home

"With the help of a rescue dog, a foster family, a supportive teacher; a love of poetry; Sugar comes to understand that while she can't control the hand life deals her, she can control how she responds."


Walk to Beautiful

"He didn’t just overcome great adversity in his life; he now uses his country music platform to help children everywhere, especially teenagers in foster care who are about to age out of the system."

Mental Health


An Unquiet Mind

"Here Jamison examines bipolar illness from the dual perspectives of the healer and the healed, revealing both its terrors and the cruel allure that at times prompted her to resist taking medication."


Girl Interrupted

"After a session with a psychiatrist she'd never seen before, eighteen-year-old Susanna was put in a taxi and sent to McLean Hospital. Her memoir of the next two years is a "poignant, honest, triumphantly funny, and heartbreaking story."

Neglect & Trauma


The Connected Child

"The adoption of a child is always a joyous moment in the life of a family and addressing their special needs requires care, consideration, and compassion."


Etched in Sand

"Regina and her four siblings survived an abusive and painful childhood only to find themselves faced with the challenges of the foster-care system and intermittent homelessness"


The Deepest Well

"Diego—a boy who had stopped growing after a sexual assault—who galvanized Dr. Nadine Burke Harris' journey to uncover the connections between toxic stress and lifelong illnesses."


News of the World

"Kidd meets Johanna, a 10-year-old who has been living with the Kiowa people for the last six years. When she is ordered to return to her biological aunt and uncle, Kidd decides to accompany her."



"Born with a facial difference that prevented him from going to a mainstream school, now he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid."


Still Waters

"Separated from her brother, Bryan, and passed from caretaker to caretaker, Jenny endures as she always has: by following the inner compass of the survivor."


Too Close to Me

"The #1 New York Times–bestselling author and child abuse survivor reveals the challenges that he still faces as an adult, as a husband, and as a father."


The Body Keeps the Score

"Dr. Kolk uses scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust." 


Where Crawdads Sing

"Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand"

Understanding Teens


Reviving Ophelia

Explore the rising and empowering importance of student activism in girls' lives, the wider acceptance of diverse communities, and the growing disparities and how they can affect a sense of self-worth. 


One Child

Torey fought to reach Sheila, to bring the abused child back from her nightmare. They embarked on a journey gleaming with a child's joy at discovering a world filled with love.


Continuing Education

Thank you for engaging with our Read resources. To further enhance your advocacy skills and fulfill your continuing education requirements, be sure to explore our other educational materials. Visit our Resources page for more podcasts, movies, shows, and documentaries tailored to support your role as a CASA volunteer.

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