A Coming of Age Story in New York City’s Foster Care System”
Book Series by Damien Black
Illustrations by Laura Caiafa
5 x 7 paperback - white
181 pages
ISBN 9781634924443

Born in Spanish Harlem in 1972 to a teenage Puerto Rican mother and a Black father, Javier Soto is a blemish on the face of American society.  After a suspicious fire allegedly set by his mother, while his father serves time in prison, Javier and his sisters are removed from their home into foster care. This true story of Javier Soto’s life takes you on the soul-stirring journey of a young boy in the custody of a brutal world.
Beginning at the Catholic Home Bureau, Javier’s tale depicts the evolution of an innocent child into an enraged teenager as he battles his way through the perils of abuse, starvation and neglect. Like thousands of American children who are driven into the foster care network Javier and his siblings are repeatedly shuffled through numerous foster homes, each one less welcoming than the last. Following eventual separation from his sisters, Javier is left to continue his crusade of survival alone.
An indelible account that tells of a boy’s anguish, self-loathing and an unsatisfied yearning for love that is the birthright of every child. With such little grounds for hope, how far will Javier go?

About the Author

Damien Black was born and brought up in New York during the more interesting times of ‘the summer of Batman’, when Times Square was less frilly. He was the writer, producer and editor of the podcast and TV show, ‘The Short Film Show’, on MNN New York. Damien is currently a Language Arts and Science ESL teacher in China. He lives in Shanghai with his 5-year-old son, Hannibal, who shares his ardent love for Legos. Although Hannibal is his only biological son, Damien considers all his students as his children and is a passionate teacher.    

The Life of a Bastard is Damien Black’s first book. In writing the story of Javier Soto, he wishes to capture the essence of life in foster care and to expose the raw truths of the struggle for identity and the shocking violence inflicted on these abandoned children. He hopes that the series will increase awareness among readers and allow them to comprehend and empathize with each of the 20,000 children that leave the foster system every year in the United States of America.