Did you realize that among the 20,000 young individuals transitioning out of foster care annually upon reaching the age of eighteen, a staggering 40% will grapple with homelessness within just three years? This stark reality casts a shadow over the lives of individuals like Elliott Glover, who narrowly escaped the same fate. However, homelessness is just one piece of a much larger puzzle. Tragically, this vulnerable group also faces disproportionately high rates of pregnancy, substance abuse, exploitation through sex trafficking, incarceration, and even premature death.

Elliott entered my life just five weeks ago. While on vacation in Florida, I got a message requesting me to read and review a new book. I almost begged off, but instead I invited the writer to resend his request upon my return from Sarasota. A few weeks later, he sent the .pdf version of his book along with a winsome cover note. When I read that his memoir describes three Black boys whose mother was unable to care for them, leaving them vulnerable to the vagaries of the child welfare system, I was intrigued. I wanted to know more. My heart was touched by the cover.

Those Boys on the Hill by Elliott Glover is available on Kindle preorder now and will be officially published in hard cover and paperback on February 16. An audible book is also in the works.

After I read the book, I wanted to know more about the author. I explored his website and the podcast that features him and his brother Iszel. I found myself pulled into more episodes of the podcast than I anticipated, marveling at the way the Glover boys attracted people of all races, social classes, and cultural backgrounds. There’s something about this story that makes you want to participate.

So I did. I invited Elliott to do a Zoom interview with me so that I can share his story with you. Meet him below in this chat:

Elliott exudes a comfort in his own skin that comes from processing his past with the eyes and ears of an artist. He has done the work of the memoirist — sorting, sifting, probing, questioning his own life. He has studied the system that shaped him, and he wants to use his talents to help others who are growing up in similar circumstances. You won’t be surprised to learn that he is in the process of setting up a foundation to help young people as they age out of the system, and that profits from the sale of his book will go to the foundation.

Elliott’s skills as a story teller reminded me of two other works of art that have enriched my thinking and understanding during Black History Month. The first was the new biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Jonathan Eig.

A big biography, the most extensive one yet.

I also watched the movie Origin, written and directed by Ava DuVernay. I highly recommend this viewing experience.

All of these experiences of reading and watching have made me aware of the distance we have come as a nation regarding race and caste — and even more of the great challenges we still have not overcome.

But I do know this. Making a new friend across the color line is perhaps the best way to celebrate Black History month. I hope you have the opportunity to do the same. One way to do so is to buy this book!

Do you have any experience with the child welfare system? I’d love to hear your story. Elliott will be happy to respond to any of your questions about the system, his book, and his podcast, in the comment section if you care to share.* 

Also, do you have any recommendations for other books, museums, experiences for Black History Month?

Shirley Showalter


  1. Maren C. Tirabassi on February 8, 2024 at 12:45 pm

    Thank you especially for the book recommendation.

    • Shirley Showalter on February 8, 2024 at 3:30 pm

      So glad you are interested, Maren. If you have time to watch the interview with Elliott, I think you will recognize another artist. Hope you enjoy the book.

    • Elliott Glover on February 8, 2024 at 4:21 pm


      Thank you so much! I pray the memoir is an enjoyable read.

  2. Dolores Nice-Siegenthaler on February 8, 2024 at 3:04 pm

    I’m looking forward to reading the book.
    Thank you for all you shared here.
    I don’t see many movies but I’m glad to see that the book I read, CASTE, is coming forth in a new way.

    My great grandma, Lizzie Dutcher, child to immigrant parents, lost her mother at age 3 and 1/2. In 1867 there weren’t orphanages yet in her part of the country and Lizzie grew up with the children of a nearby Mennonite family. Her foster brothers begged their father to buy shoes and clothes for my gg that were nicer, more like what their sisters wore.

    Even though I never met my great grandma I am glad she lived to 1950 and told her memories to my Aunt Hazel who wrote them down.

    • Elliott Glover on February 8, 2024 at 4:23 pm


      Thank you so much for sharing your GG’s story. I can only imagine what things were like for orphaned children during her time. I pray the memoir is an enjoyable read.

    • Shirley Showalter on February 8, 2024 at 4:38 pm

      Hi Dolores! Good to connect here again. So glad you are going to read the book. Since your own great grandma grew up as an orphan in a Mennonite foster family and she was able to write the memories down, I know you will identify with these brave and creative little boys.

      Oh, and if Origin is playing near you, it is one movie worth your time and money. Having read Caste, you will know the thesis, but what writer-director Ava DuVernay has done to dramatize the life and mind of the author Isabelle Wilkerson is nothing short of brilliant.

  3. Laurie Buchanan on February 8, 2024 at 3:21 pm

    Shirley — I just preordered the book and look forward to it loading on my Kindle on February 16th. I’ll carve out time to watch the interview between now and then.

    • Elliott Glover on February 8, 2024 at 4:23 pm


      Thank you so much. I hope you enjoy the memoir.

    • Shirley Showalter on February 8, 2024 at 4:43 pm

      Laurie, you are so generous to other authors — and so disciplined with your time. I admire both. If you like the book, I know you will take a few minutes to review it on Amazon and Goodreads. Thank you!

  4. Elfrieda Neufeld Schroeder on February 8, 2024 at 4:17 pm

    That was an interesting interview, Shirley! Canada was a place of refuge for American slaves, but we have our own history of discrimination and racism., especially toward our Indigenous neighbours.
    Also, the Mennonites who settled in Ukraine often took advantage of their Ukrainian servants. I’m just reading a novel by Wilma Derksen called “Lavish Mercy” that explores that topic.

    • Shirley Showalter on February 8, 2024 at 4:46 pm

      Elfrieda, thanks for bringing a Canadian perspective to this conversation. There seems to be no group of people, however peace loving, who is exempt from being cruel to someone else. That’s one of the points in the movie Origins. The culprit behind so many atrocities is the idea that some people are inferior to other people and must pay the price and carry the burden.

  5. Elliott Glover on February 8, 2024 at 4:27 pm


    Thank you for taking the time to read the advance copy and for taking such an interest in my story to further it with your platform. It means the world to me. I feel so humbled by all you have done. I appreciate your mentorship and guidance. And yes, I can say I made a new friend (My Friend Shirley) and look forward to getting to know you better.

    Warm Regards

    Elliott Glover
    Those Boys on the Hill

    • Shirley Showalter on February 8, 2024 at 4:47 pm

      Thank you, Elliott. It’s my pleasure.

  6. Marian Beaman on February 8, 2024 at 10:23 pm

    Shirley, it’s so much in your character to say Yes to Elliott’s heartfelt appeal. And you, Elliott, are doing so much right as an author: seeking an interview and even replying to comments here. I’ve just pre-ordered your book.

    In April my niece Shakeeta will be hosting me when I travel to Pennsylvania for a class reunion. Years ago, my brother and sister-in-law adopted her when her parents decided they could not care for both her and her brother, twins. I am so very proud of the independent woman she has become.

    • Shirley Showalter on February 9, 2024 at 8:37 am


      It’s good to know that you are planning to come to PA. Hope we can connect! I had almost forgotten about your niece Shakeeta, but I do recall your own blog post about your brother and his family now.

      I know you will enjoy the book. Maybe Shakeeta will too.

    • Elliott Matthew Glover on February 9, 2024 at 9:36 am


      Thank you so much. Taking in a child in need and going further to adopt is such a loving and selfless act.

      Wonderful! Here’s to your brother and sister-in-law and the wonder woman their daughter has become.

  7. Sherrey Meyer on February 9, 2024 at 1:39 am

    Shirley, I’m looking forward to reading Elliott’s memoir. Part of my story is linked to my Dad’s life story, one similar to Elliott’s. When my father was four years old, his recently widowed mother took him and his two older siblings to the Masonic Orphanage in Louisville, KY.. In 1904, women had no ability to work outside the home and therefore could not care for their children. However, once they arrived at the orphanage, my grandmother couldn’t leave my dad there as he was so young. She returned home with him. How she managed I don’t know, but records show she remarried within a short time. She and her second husband had a daughter. My grandmother died when that child was 2 years old. The stepfather told my dad he wasn’t his child and he would be taking him back to the orphanage. So, Dad was taken to the orphanage once again. By this time, a wealthy family in Louisville had employed his sister as a daily maid, but the brother was still at the orphanage. When dad was 16, he was apprenticed to a newspaper owner in a small Tennessee town. Coincidentally, the gentleman owner was also a county judge. Dad had worked at the orphanage on a printing press. From this experience, he finally made his way to Nashville TN to work for newspaper publishers as well as a large publisher of governmental materials.

    I have wanted for some time to write his life story in book form, but health issues and mental changes keep me from having the creativity and ability I once had. Also, in the last year and a half I have almost lost my husband to health problems.. But Elliott, I’m purchasing your book and thinking of you as I write these words. I know the work that goes into memoir writing. I admire your courage and knowledge. I can’t wait to read your story. I’ll be praying for you and your foundation in the days to come.

    • Shirley Showalter on February 9, 2024 at 8:44 am

      Wow, Sherrey, what a dramatic story of your father’s life. He was given up twice and yet found a way. I’m glad you shared the story here where all the readers of this blog can take their hats off to him.

      Thank you for your vulnerable words at the end. You have always been a support to other writers. Now is our time to support you. I am writing you and Bob into my prayer journal. God bless.

    • Elliott Matthew Glover on February 9, 2024 at 9:49 am


      Your father’s story is one that I pray is one day fully told. So many of us went through the child welfare system in this country’s long history, whose stories of survival, perseverance, and determination over such adversity are amazing. Each is unique and deserves to be heard. Thank you for sharing it here.

      Thank you for reading my book. I pray you enjoy the read.

      Warmest Regard

  8. Laurie Gray on February 9, 2024 at 1:02 pm

    Thank you for this interview and recommendation. I’ve preorder the book and look forward to reading it and listening to The Boys on the Hill podcast.

    Most of my work currently is as a court-appointed guardian ad litem representing the best interests of children in child welfare cases. Sometimes it is very satisfying to know that I’m helping protect our most vulnerable children and working to keep them safe. Other times it’s heart-wrenching to see all the ways that parents, families, and the system can fail children. It is especially inspiring to hear a story of resilience and courage like Elliot’s and to think of ways that we can all do a better job of protecting all children today.

    For Black History Month I highly recommend reading Kekla Magoon’s well-researched YA text on the Black Panthers: Revolution in Our Time.

    • Shirley Showalter on February 9, 2024 at 1:12 pm

      Laurie, so good to see you here. Your experiences as an attorney ad litem with the child welfare system are so relevant. Glad you found this post. I know Elliott will be excited to know you are interested in his story. If you read it and like it, perhaps you can remember Elliott if you need a speaker or connect in some other way.

      And thanks for the book recommendation. Sounds good!

    • Elliott Glover on February 9, 2024 at 7:03 pm


      Your work in the child welfare field is so needed. Not all superheroes wear capes. Some of you come with huge caseloads and even bigger hearts. I am friends with and have referred a few CASA Advocates and have met some amazing guardan ad litems. You are the voice of the voiceless and I can only imagine what you have seen. Thank you for being the champion you are.

      I hope you enjoy the read and I am alway open to speaking about my experience and advocating where needed.

  9. […] urge you to go to Showalter’s blog where she shares more about the book as well as a Zoom interview with Glover. Also check out […]

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