Synopses & Reviews
A New York Times Notable Book
“Casts a searing eye on the labyrinth that is the American foster care system.” — NPR’s On Point
Who are the children of foster care? What, as a country, do we owe them? Cris Beam, a foster mother herself, spent five years immersed in the world of foster care looking into these questions and tracing firsthand stories. The result is To the End of June, an unforgettable portrait that takes us deep inside the lives of foster children in their search for a stable, loving family.
Beam shows us the intricacies of growing up in the system—the back-and-forth with agencies, the rootless shuffling between homes, the emotionally charged tug between foster and birth parents, the terrifying push out of foster care and into adulthood. Humanizing and challenging a broken system, To the End of June offers a tribute to resiliency and hope for real change.
“[A] powerful . . . and refreshing read.” — Chicago Tribune
“A sharp critique of foster-care policies and a searching exploration of the meaning of family.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Heart-rending and tentatively hopeful.” — Salon
"This true story of a woman surviving domestic abuse as a child, emancipating herself as a teenager, and then becoming a successful attorney is courageous and fascinating, written with a descriptive restraint that recalls moments of tragedy and perseverance with simplicity and subtlety. Her story begins with an account of life among 'a scrappy pack of homeless siblings' and narrows to Calcaterra's rise to executive director of the New York State Moreland Commission on Utility Preparation and Response. Woven into the narrative is Calcaterra's search to discover the identity of her birth father, a man who resisted acknowledging that he is her parent; this conflict led to a landmark court decision in the state of Washington over an adult child's right to an accurate determination of paternity; it also led to a touching reunion with other members of her birth father's family. Written as a 'story of the hope it took a community to raise a child,' Calcaterra concludes her story with the genuine sentiment that 'we all have to believe.' At the end of this unforgettable book, readers will." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Riveting reading from start to finish… Never once does she flinch from the terrible truths with which she has lived and so courageously reveals here. Kirkus Reviews
Courageous and fascinating, written with a descriptive restraint that recalls moments of tragedy and perseverance with simplicity and subtlety… Calcaterra concludes her story with the genuine sentiment that ‘we all have to believe. At the end of this unforgettable book, readers will. Publishers Weekly
A New York Times Notable Book
An NPR Best Book of 2013
One of New York Magazines 10 Best Books of the Year
A Chicago Tribune Noteworthy Best Book of 2013
Boston Globe Top Nonfiction of 2013
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2013
A 2014 ALA Notable Book
"A triumph of narrative reporting and storytelling, as well as a thorough and nuanced analysis of an American institution deeply in need of reform. . . . Beam writes about social outcasts without stereotyping them. She gives them a much-needed voice and does what too many adults in the foster-care system can't, or won't: She advocates for them."
—New York Times Book Reivew
"Beam invites the reader inside the system for sometimes uncomfortably close but always compassionate visits with parents, children and workers. . . .She takes comfort in the 'countless academics and organizers and families with countless good ideas.' Its this conclusion—rather than the admission that she doesnt have the answer, even with her many lenses on the system both inside and out—that makes this a challenging and refreshing read."
"Heart-rending and tentatively hopeful"
"Informative, poignant, passionate, and persuasive . . . Almost certain to generate a sense of urgency in readers to fix a broken system that has sometimes managed to fly beneath the radar."
"Beam's intimate immersion into this system, as both a parent and an author, has brought great empathy and insight into a world most people never contemplate. Beam's book will likely change hearts and minds, and hopefully social policy."—Bay Area Reporter
"In this compassionate, rigorous book, Beam describes the failures of foster care, often by way of the moments of light and hope that are inscribed in its brokenness. It is her largeness of heart, manifest on every page, that makes her arguments impossible to ignore, and that informs the deeply engaging stories she so eloquently narrates."
—Andrew Solomon, author of Far From the Tree
"Packed with messy humanity, To the End of June is an urgent and necessary book. It would break your heart were it not for the recurring tales of good people trying to do the right thing, and an undercurrent of rage at what life has served up these kids. Cris Beam brings careful listening, unflinching poise, and her own experience as a foster mother to this account of how the state tries to step up when parents can't."
—Ted Conover, author of Pulitzer-finalist Newjack and Coyotes
"To the End of June is a clear-eyed and heartfelt look at foster care in America. It will astound you and appall you. Cris Beam has written an extraordinary book about ordinary people trying to save kids' lives. She has cast a ray of light into a dark and hidden place."
—Tim Weiner, National Book Award-winning author of Legacy of Ashes
Reginas Calcaterra memoir, Etched in Sand, is an inspiring and triumphant coming-of-age story of tenacity and hope.
Regina Calcaterra is a successful lawyer, New York State official, and activist. Her painful early life, however, was quite different. 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 in the shadows of Manhattan and the Hamptons.
A true-life rags-to-riches story, Etched in Sand chronicles Reginas rising above her past, while fighting to keep her brother and three sisters together through it all.
Beautifully written, with heartbreaking honesty, Etched in Sand is an unforgettable reminder that regardless of social status, the American Dream is still within reach for those who have the desire and the determination to succeed.
In this story of perseverance in the face of adversity, Regina Calcaterra recounts her childhood in foster care and on the streets—and how she and her savvy crew of homeless siblings managed to survive years of homelessness, abandonment, and abuse
Regina Calcaterra's emotionally powerful memoir reveals how she endured a series of foster homes and intermittent homelessness in the shadow of the Hamptons, and how she rose above her past while fighting to keep her brother and three sisters together.
Beautifully written and heartbreakingly honest, Etched in Sand is an unforgettable reminder that regardless of social status, the American dream is still within reach for those who have the desire and the determination to succeed.
An intimate, authoritative look at the foster care system that examines why it is failing the kids it is supposed to protect and what can be done to change it.
About the Author
Regina Calcaterra was appointed executive director of New York State's Moreland Commission on Utility Storm Preparation and Response by Governor Andrew Cuomo after she assisted in the recovery of Superstorm Sandy in her capacity as chief deputy executive for Suffolk County. She has provided commentary on politics and policy on national and local media outlets since 2000 and is a passionate advocate for the adoption of older foster children.