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Shattered Lives: Children Who Live with Courage and Dignity Paperback – 10 Aug 2007

4.9 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers; 1st American Pbk. Ed edition (10 Aug. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843106035
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843106036
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 260,532 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

The book is highly accessible as it has been written for the general reader, however, it is also thought-provoking for educational psychologists... I would recommend this book particularly for those working with highly vulnerable children. (Debate)

Camila Batmanghelidjh is well known for her work with charities ' The prince 2 be' and 'Kids Company' She is a powerful and persuasive publis speaker and speaks eloquently about the way society treats some of our most damaged young people. The book is a powerful and emotional testament that should be read by every person working with young people, and every parent. (Social Policy and Social Work Subject Centre)

Shattered life not only made me think, it moved me to tears, it inspired me, it made me angry. Whatever you feel when reading this book, I guarantee you won't feel neutral. It's straight talking with the fighting gloves off! This book is written because of fundamental flaws in our society: the way we treat our children and young people, and the way services are structured. It points its finger directly at each and every one of us, as parents, as workers, as society as a whole and it demands that things should change. Without a doubt, Camilla Batmanghelidjh (founder of the Place to Be and Kids Company) is a passionate and inspiring woman who has dedicated her life to working with vulnerable and emotionally damaged young people. Using her experience and psychotherapy training she provides the reader with an introduction to therapeutic thinking, written in a way which is easy to read and digest. She explores the impact of shattered lives and provides insight into the consequences of such, explaining how working with such despair may impact on workers and their subsequent relationship with the young person. (Youth & Policy)

This is a book which made me weep. It is in the very best Jessica Kingsley tradition of books which take a radical, innovative or immensely practical approach to matters, and most often all three. This particular book provokes a leap of the imagination to show what can be possible in work with disturbed children - given an inspired therapist, a charismatic individual prepared to mortgage her home in order to keep the work going, and a team of willing staff and volunteer mentors.

The book mainly takes the form of a series of letters from Camila Batmanghelidjh to children who had been subject to abuse and neglect in their lives. A letter to 'Chardonnay' touches the pain of a child who was sexually abused by her father and other men; a letter to 'Daisy' acknowledges the extremes of abuse and impoverishment at the hands of her mother and then neglect from social services; a letter to'Mr Mason' depicts the vulnerability of a boy subject to the vacillations of a drug-addicted mother and a cruel stepfather and the growing anger and violence within in response to experience which showed that power is often perverse and destructive, and that a brutalised life creates a brutal being. There are other letters, too, which signify an apology to each of the children within, and which so very clearly demonstrate the kind of extraordinary stamina which is needed to reach and sustain those young people who are so desperate, dangerous, delinquent and destroyed... It is an important and moving book for all who work with, study, have responsibillity for, or simply care about, children.

(The Howard Journal)

About the Author

Camila Batmanghelidjh trained as a psychotherapist and for more than twenty years has worked with exceptionally disturbed children and young people in the two charities she has founded, The Place2Be and Kids Company. Focusing on the inner city, these have concentrated on giving vulnerable children greater resilience in the face of traumatic life experiences. Kids Company has been the subject of several documentaries, and in 2005 Camila was named Social Entrepreneur of the Year.

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Format: Paperback
The intelligence and the love required to write this book are colossal. To help these, often violent children, victims of horrific abuse on a daily basis for years, to truly understand THEM and to maintain a normality oneself - cannot be done any other way than with one's whole being, with one's heart, mind and body. That is Camila's message and that is what she has been doing all these years. I've been listening to her on the radio for years thinking that there is this one person different from all other charities, helpers and thinkers, who truly understands the problem. Camila provides not just the story of the kids themselves which has a healing power for them, but also provides the bigger picture of cause and effect in our society even on a global level, and shows that, actually, we can do something about the increasing violence on our streets, in our schools, towns and cities. After reading this, one is left devastated, and yet full of love and desire to hug these children, but also left in wonder at how Camila manages it. I could not read the whole book in one go. It was like someone was telling me all the darkest things I guessed were going on but was too scared to see. I had to pace myself to deal with the amount of pain soaked into the pages. And yet it was healing for me too. And empowering. Now that I have faced the horror, I can enter the next stage of trying to deal with it, trying do my bit for similar kids through Kids Company. I am giving the book and the website to friends and teachers. Thank you, Camila, I hope you stay on this planet long enough for us to learn from you.
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Format: Hardcover
This is it, the long awaited for book that tells the story of courage and dignity; about staying human under inhumane conditions. Somebody needed to tell it as it is and everyone must really listen. It's not happening in a far away place and time, it's happening right here right now.

An emotional rollercaoster of a read, nothing like I've ever read before.

So what are you waiting for buy the book and be part of supporting all these brave and wonderful children and young people, who against all odds survive. Support them to thrive and achieve what they really deserve; to live their lives powerfully, to find meaning in their lives and above all to know love.
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Format: Paperback
Possibly one of the best books I have read as I still remember it and think of it often and how it touched me and made me completely re-evaluate my views on how I, and many in society, particularly the media, criminalize children and condone them to lives apart from those "well-brought up" and "civilized".
Using letters written to each child, their heartbreaking story is told as their horrendous past usually consisting of horrific abuse and neglect is revealed to the reader by Camila.
One part that stood out to me is how the professionals entrusted with vulnerable children have become so clinical in their approach that even showing love is deemed completely foreign and inappropriate practice, when in fact this is exactly what these children are desperately in need of. I was so pleased that Camila was brave enough to speak out against these professionals who were fortunate enough to not live the lives of their "clients".
Necessary for lay people as well as professionals to read, as it is vital that people understand that children are not JUST the responsibility of the parents but also of society's. What is clearly evident is,as this book reports, we are failing as a society to even adequately care for these children.
I just happened upon this book in the library, and I am so glad I picked it up. It broke and changed my heart, so much so that I will never hold judgemental and assuming beliefs toward an anti-social child as I had done before.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is brilliant.. Camila's writing style is so immediate.. it's impossible to put it down..I defy anyone not to shed a tear about these kids stories.. She conveys their dignity and pain in a totally new way.

She tells how courageous these kids are but she's just as courageous.. no wonder she has queues of kids waiting to be helped by her .. has there ever been a kids champion like her? She's a first.

I've bought several copies to give to people as I think they'll be just as touched by it as I was.

I hope everyone who works with kids will read it. Kids Company has a web site

www.kidsco.org.uk where you can help kids like the ones in this book.
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Format: Hardcover
If you're looking for a book which will challenge you, inspire you, enrage you and push you out of your comfort zone - this is the book for you.

Shattered Lives tells the untold story of those we are so quick to demonise, judge and discard. Camila so eloquently tells the stories of children who struggle to survive every day, both emotionally and physically, and encourages us to something about such injustices.

This book is more than touching, it's life-changing and I encourage everyone to read it.
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Format: Hardcover
I am a avid fan of Camila, ever since I saw her on TV some years ago. She was then and still is a powerful breath of fresh air, and one of our greatest children's champions.

It is self-evident that many adults who suffer traumas in childhood have their own `shattered lives', and unfortunately they only really come to our attention when they go out and create havoc somewhere else. Hitler and Ian Brady [the Moors murderer] come immediately to mind.

The mantra of `lots of kids were abused, but have grown up OK' is puerile drivel.

I have worked with [male] sex abuse survivors, now in their 40's, in prison. One survivor, who has spent more of his life `inside' than out said he estimated the majority of prisoners had suffered some kind of childhood abuse.

We are all connected in so many ways, ways in which perhaps many of us wish we weren't. What of that other old cliché, about a society being judged by how it treats its prisoners? Well, Camila and those like her want to stop kids becoming prisoners in the first place.

A very important book.
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