NYT-bestselling author of THREE LITTLE WORDS and THREE MORE WORDS Ashley Rhodes-Courter’s SAM IS OUR SISTER, a story based on the experiences of the author’s family that follows three siblings, one of whom is transgender, as they play astronauts, learn about what it means to become your true self, and realize they will always be together. (Albert Whitman/World/Spring 2021)
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In the sequel to the New York Times bestselling memoir Three Little Words (Atheneum/Simon & Schuster, 2008), Ashley Rhodes-Courter expands on life beyond the foster care system, the joys and heartbreak with the family she’s created, and her efforts to make peace with her past.
Ashley Rhodes-Courter spent a harrowing nine years of her life in fourteen different foster homes. Her memoir, Three Little Words, captivated audiences everywhere and went on to become a New York Times bestseller. Now, in Three More Words (Atheneum/Simon & Schuster 2015/paperback 2016), Ashley reveals the nuances of life after foster care: College and its assorted hijinks, including meeting “the one.” Marriage, which began with a beautiful wedding on a boat that was almost hijacked (literally) by some biological family members. Having kids—from fostering children and the heartbreak of watching them return to destructive environments, to the miraculous joy of blending biological and adopted offspring.
Whether she’s overcoming self-image issues, responding to calls asking for her to run for Senate, or dealing with continuing drama from her biological family, Ashley Rhodes-Courter never fails to impress or inspire with her authentic voice and uplifting message of hope.
“…highly interesting, it serves as a window onto the foster-care system.” – Kirkus Reviews
The long awaited sequel to the New York Times and London Times bestseller THREE LITTLE WORDS
In her undeniably honest and inspiring memoir Three Little Words, we were captivated by Ashley Rhodes-Courter, an amazing young woman who—through nine years, forty-four caseworkers, and fourteen foster homes—“not only survived, she thrived” (Teen People). Since then Rhodes-Courter has become an international advocate for adoption and child welfare. She has been interviewed by Diane Sawyer and spoken on Capitol Hill. She was called upon to run for Florida State Senate. She became a foster and adoptive parent, helping children just like herself. And she has begun to come to terms with her past.
THREE MORE WORDS tells the riveting story of how the foster kid who refused to slip through the cracks has begun to change the world.
Each year, an estimated 30,000 adolescents age out of the foster care system without being adopted. Only about 7,000 of these young adults go on the college or vocational training. The remaining 23,000 children are left to fend for themselves, many becoming involved with drugs, alcohol, unplanned pregnancy, prostitution, and ultimately jail. This is a real problem affecting our nation and Rhodes-Courter is an advocate for change. She has the unique perspective of both a foster kid and parent, and aims to put the “child” back in “child welfare.”
THREE MORE WORDS also reveals the nuances of life after foster care, including college, marriage (which began with a beautiful wedding on a boat that was almost hijacked—literally—by some biological family members) and having kids, from fostering children and the heartbreak of watching them return to destructive environments, to the miraculous joy of blending biological and adopted offspring.
Whether she’s overcoming self-image issues, responding to calls for her to run for Senate, or dealing with continuing drama from her biological family, Ashley Rhodes-Courter never fails to impress or inspire with her authentic voice and uplifting message.
I first met Ashley Rhodes-Courter when she was 16. I represented her adoptive mother, Gay Courter, a wonderful commercial novelist, and nonfiction writer. Ashley had just won a contest sponsored by Scholastic for an essay on “What Harry Potter Means to Me.” As a child, Ashley had been in and out of foster homes from age 2-12. The encouragement she received from teachers, and a love of reading saved her from the often abusive and sad circumstances in her foster homes. Harry Potter gave her hope. A year later, Ashley won another essay contest, this one sponsored by The New York Times magazine for teens. She wrote movingly about being adopted—finally—by a loving family. At that point, Ashley had been disappointed by so many families that she wasn’t quite sure what to expect. So when the judge asked her how she felt about her adoption, she uttered three little words: “I guess so.”
That grew into a memoir about growing up in the foster system. Published by Atheneum, a division of Simon & Schuster’s Children’s Publishing, Three Little Words went on to sell over 120,000 copies, hitting The New York Times bestseller list. Ashley, who since her teens, has been speaking out about the rights of children, especially in foster care and adoption situations, crisscrossed the country, addressing audiences as diverse as those who work in the justice system to schools and parent and teen groups. The book was optioned for film, and as I write, director James Mangold (Girl Interrupted, Walk the Line) is collaborating with actress Reese Witherspoon in a feature film that should be released in the fall of 2014.
Ashley is now 27, married, with a biological son. Together with her husband, she has already fostered many children, trying to apply the lessons learned as a foster kid to parenting. She has won scores of honors and awards for her inspiring work, graduated college with two majors and two minors, and finished a Master’s degree, all while juggling the life of a newlywed, learning to parent, and a whirlwind public speaking schedule.
I was thrilled when Ashley sent me a proposal for the sequel to Three Little Words, and even more thrilled when her publisher, Atheneum, picked up the publishing rights. Three More Words continues Ashley’s story into early adulthood. She will share stories of joy and heartbreak as she learns to live with the families she belongs to—the one she was born into and her adoptive family—and as she forges the bonds of a family of her own. Most of all, she embraces the “three more words” that she now feels comfortable uttering: “I love you.” Three More Words continues the journey but also the biggest lesson of all, learning to give and receive love.
Thanks to a fantastic editor, Caitlyn Dlouhy, and the dream team at Atheneum.
The remarkable follow-up to the New York Times bestselling memoir about growing up in the foster care system, about becoming a foster parent as well as mother to a biological child, the continuing challenges of dealing with one’s family of origin into adulthood, learning to trust, accept and give love. Rhodes-Courter is a motivational speaker and advocate for the rights of children. Publication to coincide with release of a feature film based on her first book. (Atheneum/Simon & Schuster, Fall 2014)