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One Small Boat: The Story of a Little Girl, Lost Then Found
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One Small Boat: The Story of a Little Girl, Lost Then Found

4.2  ·  Rating Details ·  917 Ratings  ·  120 Reviews
This story of one little girl's journey through our foster-care system forms an intimate portrait of foster care in America and the children whose lives are forever shaped by it Augusten Burroughs called Kathy Harrison's memoir Another Place at the Table a riveting and profoundly moving story of a hero, disguised as an everyday woman. In One Small Boat, Harrison tells the ...more
ebook, 224 pages
Published April 6th 2006 by Tarcher (first published 2006)
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Jan 13, 2010 Mia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It seems curmudgeonly of me not to like a book about a kind and dedicated foster mother who takes in damaged children and works tirelessly to heal them, I know. And I do applaud Ms. Harrison for her priceless work as a foster parent, but judging the book and not the person, I have to say eh.

The story is a combo of sticky sweet (watch me make cookies and soup and cookies again and kiss boo-boos and have sensitive heart-to-hearts, not like those BAD mommies) and Law & Order SVU voyeuristic ick
Apr 09, 2014 Deborah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a powerful book that gives the reader a glimpse of the heartbreak so many children endure in our country's foster care system and the special people who make a difference as foster parents.
Mar 21, 2008 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who can handle the heart wrenching topic of children who are found to be unwanted.
I LOVED this book. It was so inspiring. I truly admire this author and her heart. She has figured out the meaning of unconditional love through her actions.
Abbie Plake
Aug 20, 2015 Abbie Plake rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One Small Boat focuses on the real life of a foster mother. She lives with her husband, Bruce, and their children. They have children of their own and have also adopted. On top of that, they take in more children in need. Kathy mentions at times how she doesn't know why she chose such a crazy life for only seventeen dollars a day, but then she sees special children and the impact she can make on them. Special children like Daisy.
Daisy was first put in foster care voluntarily by her mother. She
Oct 15, 2011 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ever think about becoming a foster parent or legal guardian to a child? This book should be something you read before taking that on. Hopefully it will not talk you out of becoming a foster parent because the book doesn't try to do that. It is utterly truthful on the hardships for the children, social workers, foster & biological families.
At times Kathy Harrison is a little on the sappy side but I like her. She gets shit done. She's an amazing advocate for these children stuck in the system
This book reads more like a series of blog posts smushed together. Kathy Harrison is not really a writer in the traditional sense, and occasionally that was distracting. But ultimately, her story about her experiences as a foster parent is so authentic and honest about both the good and the bad that I read it from start to finish in about 2 days.

As a parent who adopted from foster care, I was really moved in particular by her insights into how quickly we parents forget what "typical" looks like
Sep 09, 2014 Liz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing, amazing, amazing! This is a women who knows hurt children inside and out. Anyone who is considering fostering or wants to know more about foster care should read this book and Another Place At The Table. Kathy shows that there are truly heroes in the child welfare system.
Tiffany McFly
Aug 12, 2012 Tiffany McFly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
This book just hurt my soul, but it was amazing.
Savanah Rae
May 07, 2017 Savanah Rae rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 20, 2017 Brooke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are considering fostering, I would recommend this book! Warning: there are some difficult stories about the children that come into her care.
Rachel B
4.5 stars

Another great book by foster mom Kathy Harrison. Her writing is very fluid, and I got through this book in a matter of hours, despite the hard topic and the need to stop reading and just think for several moments.

What I love most about her stories is that she is very transparent about her flaws. She doesn't claim to be the "perfect" mom and readily admits areas where she made the wrong decision, or at least not the best one. She doesn't do this in a self-deprecating or even falsely humb
Jul 06, 2014 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book - and I wasn't expecting to, because I didn't love her other book I read "Another Place at the Table". With this book, however, I feel like she hit a home run. I found it to be a believable account of life in a foster home -- albeit she did come across very good in her reactions to things, and if that is how she truly is, oh, how wonderful for those kids! There are so few good foster homes out there, that the good ones often get overwhelmed with requests for placements.
Daisy a
Kathy Harrison, along with her husband and family, has cared for more than 120 foster children. The Harrisons have three biological children and three more that they adopted, yet they still continue to open their home to neglected and abused children. This book is purportedly about one foster child in particular, a little girl named Daisy. But really the book is more about the time in their lives when Daisy was a part of their family, as there is just as much written about the other children as ...more
Apr 27, 2010 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: potential adoptive parents, people interested in foster care
Shelves: adoption
My friend Nina recommended this book. I always take Nina's recommendations because she reads great books. This was no exception. In general, this is an autobiography of sorts written by a foster-care mother who has provided a safe home for many many kids. It is a quick read, moves really easily through the chapters, the children are portrayed so nicely and it is well written.

I took a few things away from my reading. I learned a lot about foster care and the possibilities of the system. This wom
I hover between thinking this book was just OK and liking it. It is a memoir, so there isn't any particular story to be told through it - though I was expecting there to be. I thought this book would be focused on a little girl and her problems while living with this family. It was about that, but the focus was more on the foster mother and the revolving door of children coming through their home during the time that this little girl also lived there. So, the book wasn't exactly what I expected. ...more
Jun 08, 2011 Tracy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
Wow, another really great book by Kathy. Both of her books were easy reads for me. This book was a little more emotional for me, especially the end and how Kathy dealt with ultimately giving the daughter she hoped to adopt back to her dad. A fascinating look at the world of foster care. Usually you hear about the bad, but you do not hear about the good people who work hard to care for these children. The stories of the children in both of her books were just so heartbreaking, and happy at the sa ...more
Sep 14, 2012 Jill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
At first read I liked this a lot. I read it in one day because it was so engaging. The story is just as much about the whole family as it is about the one little girl. It's also a tribute to the foster parents in the USA who change the lives of these children.

But after I gave it a few days to simmer in my unconscious, it seemed a little too self-congratulatory. I hate saying that because this woman IS doing an amazing job (at least so it looks). She's brave to show her fallibility. But I think i
Jul 30, 2008 Chrisiant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I almost wish I hadn't read this right on the heels of her other book, because they were quite similar. I enjoyed them both anyway - really this just seemed like a continuation of Another Place at the Table, only more focused on a single child's effect on the family.

The experiences of children in foster care are just so incomprehensible, and the courage and energy it takes to parent them is astronomical.

I really appreciated Harrison's attitude towards bio moms, and that she really did all she
Aug 02, 2016 Kathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While parenting seven children of their own, Kathy and Bruce Harrison have taken in hundreds of foster children over the course of their lives. Some stay for months, some for days. Some come unnanounced due to dire circumstances. Part of the reason she wrote this book was to let the world know that the foster homes that make the news with stories of horror and abuse are in the minority. As I read the book, I realized that Kathy and Bruce have a gift of comforting, counseling and loving hurt and ...more
Nov 07, 2008 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very touching account of one woman’s experience providing foster care to abused and neglected children. There narrative centers around a child named Daisy who makes a big impact on her foster family and her foster mom, Kathy, in particular. This isn’t an analysis of the nuts and bolts of foster care and adoption nor is it a critique of the foster system. It’s simply a narrative of her day to day dealings with Daisy and her other children and the feelings Kathy experiences as her relationship w ...more
Dec 26, 2013 Christina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such a powerful story of mother's experience as a foster parent and one particular little girl who entered her family's life. My heart broke into a million pieces for these children who have often suffered unspeakable evils at the hands of those who should be taking care of them. Well written and very honest. I would've loved to hear a little bit more about the impact of the foster children on her biological children. I believe she has another published book about this subject that I will defini ...more
Katherine Spencer Inskeep
A wonderful book written by an amazing woman who with her husband has fostered many, many children and adopted several as well. I am in awe of this woman who has such a heart for the many children that go through the heartbreak of losing their families and growing up in foster care. She concentrates mainly on two girls - one her adopted daughter Karen who develops Tourette's syndrome and the other a litte waif , Daisy, that came to their home with a myriad of diagnosis' and medications and flowe ...more
Jan 29, 2017 Vicki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author of this book has been a foster care mother for many years, and she doesn't back off from the "difficult" cases. Kathy Harrison is very candid about the pros and cons of fostering. Harrison gives some startling statistics and shares some difficult to read true stories about children she had in her foster care. This story focuses specifically on three girls she and her husband took in, Daisy in particular who had been sexually abused. No mother likes to read about such disgusting things ...more
Overall a quick, easy read except for the whole "horrors experienced by children resulting in placement with a foster family" thing. But if you've picked up this book, you're probably okay with reading about that. Some of the exposition about the child welfare system was forced but in a memoir there aren't too many ways to convey the information seamlessly. That same information makes this a good recommendation for those considering becoming a foster family. And though I'm not coming to this boo ...more
Feb 26, 2009 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well written, interesting book about one mother's experiences with her various foster children. It primarily tells the story of one little girl named Daisy. While I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the foster care system and ached to do something to help, I was shocked at some of the situations that were described. I felt like it was tastefully done but of course any book about foster care is going to be somewhat disturbing. If you are sensitive to this kind of thing, consider yourself warned ...more
Mar 25, 2008 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves children and/or has an interest in the reality of foster care.
Recommended to Anna by: Loved her first book
Shelves: adoption
This is an amazing woman. She allows her love to be shared by many children, and she is honest in her description of heart aches and triumphs.
I have been a foster parent and plan on doing so again in the future. Kathy is brutally honest and fair. She doesnt make things look rosy or simple. Loving children and then letting them go is one of the most painfull process' in the world. There are so few us willing to step outside our safety zones and truly care about others. This mother and father real
Cait S
Sep 07, 2014 Cait S rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was obviously a very moving and emotional book. How couldn't it be? I felt for all the children and was reminded how lucky the world is to have people willing to take in kids like this and provide them with such a better life, even temporarily.

The downside of the book was...Kathy came off as a judgmental, self-centered, pretentious bitch. Sorry. But it felt more like she needed to tell this story so that she could make sure the world knew how much better she was than everyone else than beca
Aug 08, 2009 Yvonne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very touching account of the lives and events of a family which takes in foster children. It is very similar to Ms. Harrison's first book, which I finished yesterday; it is well written and full of insights into fostering children. Fostering is an important role with few tangible rewards but Ms. Harrison makes it seem like a blessing. And the children. It really does pull at the heartstrings. I'm glad to have read this book but sad to know some of the tragic stories of children that have passed ...more
Jul 09, 2013 Renee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great read about parental love. Kathy Harrison willingly brings children, who are the walking wounded and strives to parent them.

This book is about Daisy primarily, a girl whose mother voluntarily puts her daughter in the foster system. Daisy is able to grow and deal with issues while living with Kathy. Daisy does open to Kathy and we see the roots of her behavioral issues.

It's a quick read, took me one evening. It does leave one with questions about the foster system, and at the same time g
Jan 20, 2013 Sally rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The challenges and special kind of love of foster and adoptive challenges is something very few people outside of the adoptive and foster parent community know much about. I was fortunate enough to begin my career working for an excellent foster care and adoption agency and was able to see again and again examples of the love of foster parents. I was reminded of all those stories with this book and remembering and revisiting my own personal experiences has given me more and more admiration for n ...more
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Madison Mega-Mara...: one small boat 1 3 Apr 29, 2012 04:32PM  
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