This week we're celebrating books about adoption. (Also, don't forget, I'm giving away a copy of my middle grade novel, Red Butterfly. Click here to enter!)
I know there are lots of books with adoption themes out there, but these are a few that have ended up in our house that have meant something to me.
Bear at the Beach by Clay Carmichael
We bought this picture book not knowing it was about adoption. What a lovely surprise! It gently and beautifully handles the sense of loss that most adopted children feel at being separated from their birth parents, but also gives such a beautiful picture of what family can be. The illustrations are charming and simple, the text sparse, yet engaging. What a touching tribute to adoption. Every time I read it, I choke up, without fail.
|Detail from Bear at the Beach, by Clay Carmichael|
The Great Call of China by Cynthia Liu
The Great Call of China is part of the S.A.S.S. series, a collection of books written by various authors. My eldest daughter devoured these books when she was a tween. They're perfect for girls who want to read higher than a normal middle grade chapter book, but aren't ready for full-fledged YA. I highly recommend them, because they take kids all around the world in a light and fun way.
I'll be honest here, though: I struggled with The Great Call of China. I read it before my daughter did and, afterward, wanted to hide it away and never let her read it! My Olivia is adopted from China and the story follows an adopted, ethnically-Chinese teenage girl who returns to China with a study abroad program, harboring a secret hope to find her birth family. I didn't want Olivia to read it because I thought the ending was completely unrealistic. **Spoiler Alert** I didn't want her to get her hopes up, to think she could go back to China, poke around a little, and instantly find her birth family!
Olivia saw the cover, however, and begged to read it. Can I just say that she has now read this book at least five times? Several times I've walked into her room to find her randomly rereading it!
Which shows how much I know. And really, maybe I was overprotective in trying to keep a book like this away from her, not wanting her to get her hopes up about finding her birth family. Maybe I need to give her credit for being a smart young lady who can think for herself, and apply reasonable expectations for herself, and dream for herself....
I still think the novel handles the subject unrealistically, but I'm so glad my Chinese daughter found a character with whom she could identify. That in itself is priceless!
Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge
This is non-fiction! And sort of a self-help book! If you know me, you know I rarely read non-fiction (though sometimes the occasional biography) and generally have an aversion to self-help books. (I might be a little overly confident that I can figure things out on my own.) A friend of mine gave me this book, however, after it changed her perspective. She said, "I wish I'd had this book when my kids were growing up!" Since that's pretty high praise, I decided to go ahead and read it.
I'm so glad I did. The author is a grown adopted child and her insight is priceless. Reading this book has given me a whole new empathy for my adopted child. It softened my heart when my heart was in danger of growing hard. It gave me a new perspective, just like it gave my friend. It gave me a lot of hope, too.
I'd love to hear if you've read any of these books, or if there's an adoption book you've loved. Please comment here, but also make sure to comment on my post for the Red Butterfly giveaway!
Have a wonderful week!