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Social Work book reviews

Posted: November 19 2020

Social Work student & staff projects, Social Work
Social Work student & staff projects, Social Work

Interested in Social Work and want to learn more about the subject? The book reviews written by our Social Work students and staff help you identify the best literature to advance your learning.

Last updated: 11th June 2024

Poster of documentary The Curious Case of Natalia Grace

The Curious Case of Natalia Grace directed by Christian and Jackson Conway, reviewed by Thedini Liyanage

This documentary focuses on the life story of a Ukrainian child, Natalia Grace, who suffers from spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita, a rare type of dwarfism. It also explores issues such as childhood neglect, abuse, and adoption, highlighting significant shortcomings within the justice system. 

Book Cover of Birmingham's Children

Birmingham's Children: A Tale of Two Cities written by Eddie O’Hara, reviewed by Tola Ogundare

This book explores the contrast between Birmingham’s children living in poverty and prosperity. Written by Eddie O’Hara, a registered social worker, it sheds light on the growing number of disadvantaged children despite the city’s wealth. 

Book Cover of I Want To Die But I Want To Eat Tteokbokki

I Want To Die But I Want To Eat Tteokbokki written by Baek Sehee, reviewed by Dior Russell

Baek Sehee, a Korean woman diagnosed with Dysthymia, shares her life-changing journey through conversations with her therapist. Her struggles with self-esteem, anxiety, and societal pressures highlight the importance of seeking professional help for mental health.

Poster of documentary Take Care of Maya

Take Care of Maya directed by Henry Roosevelt, reviewed by Andrea Addison

The Kowalski family fights to save their daughter, Maya, who suffers from a rare condition called complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). The documentary sheds light on healthcare system issues, cultural biases, and the importance of social work in safeguarding vulnerable individuals. 

Poster of film Can You See Us?

Can You See Us directed by Kenny Mumba, reviewed by Nadedra Clarke

This is a powerful coming-of-age film that delves into themes of tragedy, loss, bullying, and rejection. The film follows the life of Joseph, an albino boy born with albinism, and his mother, Chama, in Zambia. The film sheds light on social work challenges and disparities, underscoring the importance of advocates in supporting vulnerable individuals. 

Book cover of Muslim Masculinities in Literature and Film

Muslim Masculinities in Literature and Film by Peter Cherry, reviewed by Durali

KaracanCherry’s book, which is based on his PhD research, provides a welcome contribution to both Muslim cultural studies and masculinity studies.

book cover of Taken

Taken by Michelle Pearson with Eve Hatton, reviewed by Salma Ismail

'Taken’ serves as a profound exposition of the intricate layers of child welfare, specifically within the context of foster care and adoption systems. 

book cover of Bemorewolf

Bemorewolf by Wendy Kier, reviewed by Hicran Pehlivan

Wendy Kier’s inspirational book Bemorewolf offers you insights to help you heal your deep emotional scars and traumas. 

book cover of My journey to becoming a Black male social worker

My journey to becoming a Black male social worker by Debonico Aleski Brandy-Williams, reviewed by Melanie Akello

Brandy-William’s book is an account of his experience as a black man undertaking a postgraduate degree in social work and his post-qualification work in statutory children and family social work in the UK.

book cover of assessing culturally informed parenting in social work

Assessing culturally informed parenting in social work by Davis Kiima, reviewed by Jade Blake

This book sheds light on the significance and often the unacknowledged impact of culture on parenting.

book cover of dying declarations

Dying declarations: notes from a hospice volunteer by David B Resnik, reviewed by Faye Dandy

Dying Declarations gives an insightful look at what it is like to provide care for patients that have reached the end of life.

book cover of a flaw in human judgement

Noise: A flaw in human judgement by Kahneman, Sibony and Sunstein, reviewed by Dalbir S. Chana

The book highlights the contributing factors to ‘noise’ in decision-making and proposes tools and strategies to ameliorate noise and therefore improve judgment at an individual and organisational level.

book cover of social work in the face of intersectional racism

Social work in the face of intersectional racism by Hilda Chehore, reviewed by Juliana Osuebi

This book gathers the lived experiences of Black Asian Minority Ethic (BAME) social work students and practitioners who experience racism and discrimination in their workplaces.

poster of movie foster boy

Foster Boy by Y. Delara, S. O'Neal and J. Deratany, Gravitas Ventures, reviewed by Rathigga Pushparajah

Inspired by the true stories of four foster children, human rights advocate and Chicago lawyer, Jay Paul Deratany, who is also the producer and writer of the film, successfully portrays the injustice foster care children endured in the early 2000s in the Chicago foster care system.

book cover of fostering for adoption

Fostering for adoption: Our story and stories of others by Alice Hill, reviewed by Tienga Ngale

In Fostering for Adoption, Alice Hill deploys a chronological set of diary entries to offer us a detailed and intimate account of their journey throughout the adoption process, with a particular focus on fostering for adoption.

book cover of the rise and fall of a profession

Social work: The rise and fall of a profession? by Steve Rogowski, reviewed by Abigail Doe

Steve Rogowski states that his aim for writing the book ‘Social Work: The Rise and Fall of a Profession?’ was to inform its reader of the peaks and troughs of the social work profession, its history and development leading to 2020. The book’s audience is higher education social work and social science students, academics, and social work practitioners and managers.

book cover of Rethinking social work practice

Rethinking social work practice with multicultural communities by Yolanda Padilla, Ruth McRoy and Rocio Calvo, reviewed by Natalia Phillips

This book is a compendium of knowledge about active multicultural social work in diverse communities in North America.

book cover of No Safe Place

No safe place by Bekhal Mahmood and Hannana Siddiqui, reviewed by Reshmi Dsouza

This book gives an account of the horrific domestic violence Bekhal Mahmood had to endure and the cost her sister had to pay for not following the norms of her Kurdish community. 

Radical Hope book cover

Radical Hope by Michal Krumer-Nevo, reviewed by Sherica Harper

The reader of this book is asked to see poverty through the PAP paradigm as a direct violation of one’s human rights, and its radical nature confronts poverty through two interconnected channels based on recognition and respect politics, and redistribution politics.

book cover of Shuggie Bain

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart, reviewed by Dawn Harker

Douglas Stuart's debut novel unpicks the complicated effects of alcohol use and misuse, the impacts of infidelity, and the daily struggle of poverty in a Thatcherite Scotland.

Book cover of Radical help
book cover of Social work and the COVID-19 pandemic

Social work and the COVID-19 pandemic: International insights, edited by M. Lavalette, V. Ioakimidis and I. Ferguson, reviewed by Natalia Phillips

This book aims are to present and provide an overview of the challenges social work faces in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic and to shape the understanding of what role social work could, and should, play in such critical times.

book cover of My grandmother’s hands
book cover of Assessment, risk and decision making in social work

Assessment, risk and decision making in social work by Campbell Killick and Brian J. Taylor, reviewed by Osei Domfeh

The book has been written as a guide to social workers to help them in carrying out a well-rounded assessment to inform reasonable decision-making. 

Book cover of Mothers accused and abused

Mothers accused and abused: Addressing complex psychological needs by Coster, reviewed by Dr. Yohai Hakak

Mothers Accused and Abused is an important book about women and mothers who were accused of harming and sometimes killing their children. 

Book cover of Women, Abuse, and the Bible

Women, Abuse, and the Bible: How scripture can be used to hurt or heal by Catherine Clark Kroeger and James R Beck, reviewed by Pamela Aben

This book is a compilation of papers written by therapists, sociologist, pastors, theologians, biblical scholars, survivors, and an abuser and read at the conference on Women, Abuse, and the Bible organised by Christians for Biblical Equality. It was written to raise awareness of the increasing rate of violence and abuse in the church and home and the need for clergy and other professionals to collaborate to address the problem.

Cover of the Broken lives book

Broken lives: A social worker’s tale by Teresa Devereux, reviewed by Hannah Gborie

Broken lives’ is a powerful story which gives the reader an insight into the difficult situations social workers face in their work. Although this book is fictional, the author takes the reader through some of the experiences she faced as a children and family social worker. 


book cover of Anti-oppressive social work practice.jpg

Anti-oppressive social work practice by Prospera Tedam, reviewed by Joe Burns

Prospera Tedam is an assistant professor of social work at UAE University and a visiting fellow of social work at Anglia Ruskin University. Her 23 years of invaluable experience really show through in what is an accessible, user-friendly guide to a topically relevant area of practice and social work education.

Book cover of Social Work for lazy radicals book

Social Work for Lazy Radicals by Jane Fenton, reviewed by Karen Maria Layne MA social work student

Jane Fenton is a Reader in Social Work at the University of Dundee, and head of Taught Post Graduate Programmes for the school. Her research and teaching interests are Teaching and Values, Neoliberalism and Risk and Decision.

Days in the Lives of Social Workers book cover

Days in the Lives of Social Workers by Linda May Grobman, reviewed by Gabrielle Smith, MA social work student‘

Days in the lives of Social Workers’ is an exploration of the diversity, humours and challenges of the social work profession. Through 62 narratives, insight is provided into the scope and perspectives of the many specialisations and career opportunities for prospective or current social workers

cover photo of the My Name is Why book

My Name is Why by Lemn Sissay, reviewed by Agnes Conteh & Corin Fraser-Brown

‘My Name Is Why’ is a memoir written by Lemn Sissay, a BAFTA-nominated, award-winning writer, poet, performer, broadcaster, and chancellor of the University of Manchester. The book ‘My Name Is Why’ tells the story of Lemn during his time spent at foster homes.

Book cover of Diary of a prison officer

Diary of a Prison Officer by Josie Channer, reviewed by: Naema Hussein, MA in Social Work student

Josie Channer’s book, ‘Diary of a Prison Officer’ is a narrative publication which is set as diary entries which alternate from her past experiences as a prison officer and present experiences of backpacking throughout Africa.

How to Thrive in Professional Practice book cover

How to Thrive in Professional Practice by Stephan J Mordue, Lisa Watson, and Steph Hunter, reviewed by: Joyce Ngoma, MA Social Work student

This book begins with the authors’ Stephen, Lisa and Steph sharing their life stories in the introduction chapter. Individually, they tell their story reflecting on their life journey as a practitioner and their reality of self-care. In the book it was stated that the authors have several years of experience in social work and working in health and social care settings throughout their career.

Introducing social work book cover

Introducing Social Work by Jonathan Parker, reviewed by: Natalia Phillips, MA Social Work student

‘Introducing Social Work’ is a book edited by Jonathan Parker, a professor of Society and Social Welfare at Bournemouth University, who is a leading figure in social work research and practice. This book brought together over 30 academics and experts in the field and its aim is to provide an introduction and overview of contemporary social work.

Diversity & Cultural Awareness in Nursing Practice book cover

Diversity & Cultural Awareness in Nursing Practice by Brathwaite B. (ed.), reviewed by: Dr Dmitri Guskov

This textbook is published by Learning Matters, a publisher of materials for professional and vocational courses in education, nursing, and social work.

Collaborating against child abuse book cover

Collaborating Against Child Abuse by Susanna Johansson, Kari Stefansen, Elisiv Bakketeig and Anna Kaldal (eds), reviewed by: Dr Alison Cocks

Barnahus as a model of practice is gradually being adopted in countries beyond the Nordic region, so there exists a timeliness in the publication of a book which comprehensively explores how it is defined and analyses the ways in which the model is evolving. The editors' aim is to bring together researchers in the field to provide a comprehensive research‐based critique which incorporates policy and practice.

Intercultural parenting and relationships book cover

Intercultural parenting and relationships by Dharam Bhugun, reviewed by: Petra Navratilova, Brunel MA Social Work student & Dr Yohai Hakak, Senior Lecturer in Social Work

Dr. Dharam Bhugun is an Australian Psycho-Social Therapist and Counsellor, author and writer, as well as a Guest Lecturer at Southern Cross University, Gold Coast, Australia. His latest book Intercultural Parenting and Relationships: Challenges and Rewards provides a balanced overview of the challenges as well as the strengths and resiliencies of intercultural parents living in Australia.

Transnational social work book cover

Transnational Social Work by Allen Bartley and Liz Beddoe, reviewed by: Glory Alade, Social Work MA student 

This book brought together 21 leading researchers in the field to explore the current state of transnational Social Work (TSW) in five countries that share English as a common language.