Boxing Kids In

christina katerinaNobody likes to be boxed in. But in Christina Katerina & The Box by Patricia Lee Gauch, a box becomes an invitation to rocket into the stratosphere of a child’s imagination. Although originally published in 1971, the story is fresh and timely. Christina Katerina, the heroine of the story is no shrinking violet awaiting a Prince Charming to save her. She’s a spunky and imaginative character who turns a lonely summer day into the beginning of a marvelous adventure.

Christina Katerina salvages an immense refrigerator box. Much to her mother’s chagrin, Christina parks it under the apple tree on her front lawn. Of course, this is no ordinary box. Through Christina’s eyes it transforms from one marvelous interpretation to another. With initial help from her dad and lots of her own effort she keeps reinventing the deteriorating box. She’s an optimistic, self-determined child who presents a marvelous model of resilience and for making one’s own fun.

Casey uses this book in her second grade classroom. It is so popular, she has to replace it periodically! Christina captivates her students and supercharges their own creative juices.  Christina Katerina & The Box    starstarstarstarstar

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AQ lens: Adopted children benefit from opportunities to reassemble disappointment and hard facts into a whole which they not only understand and accept, but also allows them to flourish.

This charming story depicts a light-hearted model for that kind of resilience and optimism. Christina Katerina is a girl that likes to make her own choices, create her own solutions and use her abilities to problem solve.

Since control tends to be a guiding issue for many adoptees, they will find Christina to be a character with whom they like to identify. Christina is the driving force behind the story. Without the intervention or prompting of adults, she reinvents the box each time and does it with verve, confidence and spunk!



Not A BoxA similar story, Not A Box written and illustrated by Antoinette Portis  won a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Award. This time, the main character is a rabbit who carries a box with him everywhere. When asked why he is toting, squirting, standing atop, wearing, etc the box, he insists that, “It’s not a box!” The simple illustrations answer the question and reveal the rabbit’s vivid imagination. The spare prose allows the wonderful illustrations to carry much of the story.

Like Christina Katerina & The BoxNot A Box fuels the reader’s creativity. The simple illustration style of both books will encourage children in their own artistic endeavors because the message of the story is clear: sometimes only the mind’s eye can truly appreciate the hidden beauty and value of things.     Not A Box      starstarstarstarstar

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AQ Lens: The appeal to adopted children is similar between  Not A Box and Christina Katerina & The BoxSince Not A Box features a rabbit as the main character, this story may have greater appeal to children of of color or other cultures. It is also much shorter so it offers a good choice for those with more limited attentioin. 





boxes for KatjeBoxes for Katje by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Stacey Dressen-McQueen offers a more serious view of “the power of the box.” Based on the post World War II childhood experience of  Fleming’s mother, the story tells of the terrible hardships faced by the Dutch. They lacked the basics: food, clothing, shelter, blankets, etc. Americans organized a relief effort which delivered small boxes filled with some of the items which the Dutch people needed so badly.

The father of the family who receives  the relief box writes back to Rosie. In his thank you note, he describes how grateful they were to receive it. Plus, he mentions that they shared the contents of her box with others in his village. Despite their own desperation, Katje’s family still found it in their hearts to share their windfall with others.  What an awesome example of generosity, of giving from one’s basics and not waiting for one’s surplus.The father also begs for some food for their baby.

His letter begins an exchange between the young American girl and the desperate Dutch family. Rosie is moved by the Dutch father’s plea. She sends another box to Holland. Again, Katje’s family acknowledges the packages and tells how  they shared it with their neighbors. Rosie continues to send packages. She also shares Katje’s letters with her own friends and family. Now many people contribute to the boxes which become larger and larger. More Dutch people receive help. The story concludes with the Dutch people expressing their gratitude with the one thing available to them: tulip bulbs.

These lessons in sharing will not be lost on young readers. The story offers a clear example of how a child can make a significant difference in other people’s lives. Boxes for Katje  provides a lovely chance to entice children into empathy and action.     Boxes for Katje     starstarstarstarstar

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AQ Lens: Adopted children must balance additional challenges in their journey through life. Grief loss and anger are familiar emotions. A story like Boxes for Katje offers a powerful peek into the difficult lives of other children. It makes a great chance to learn how these families faced and overcome their own challenges.

Empathy is an emotion which must be cultivated. This story can be a useful tool in a family’s overall strategy for nurturing emotional literacy in children. It also depicts children being empowered to act, create solutions and make a difference–another very important skill for kids to master.

“You’re Lovable to Me” Forever

In the vein of Love You Forever by Robert Munsch You’re Lovable to Me by Kat Yeh and illustrated by Sue Anderson sends a reassuring message to children that their parents will love them unconditionally. Mama’s love is steady whether bunny is “sad…or he’s frightened…or she’s lonely…or he’s worried…or she’s mad….” In other words, Mama loves her little ones when it is easy and when it is challenging. Children need  that reassuring message repeated regularly.

As in Munsch’s book, the story extends the thread of unconditional love back to the grandfather as he tucks a blanket around his now-adult daughter. What a lovely way to model the permanent need we have for nurturing, kindness and caring-in-action.

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AQ Lens: Adopted children benefit from frequent reassurance that they are fully accepted into the family, that their belonging exists independent of their measuring up or behaving in a certain way. The story does this well. It’s gentle illustrations exude a sweet nurturing feel. Moreover, the behaviors and emotions that the story mentions cover a broad spectrum.

This creates an easy teaching moment for exploring the complexity of emotions which children experience and can help them develop a broad vocabulary of emotions. This helps children identify and manage their feelings.     starstarstarstarstar


My Family Is ForeverMy Family Is Forever by Nancy Carlson features an Asian-American child–with Caucasian parents–and follows common themes in children’s books about adoption. First, loving relationships define families; they need not look similar in order to be a family. Second, it describes the parent’s yearning for a child, their working with an adoption counselor, their  struggle to wait until receiving a referral, the parents’ plane flight to meet their child and, finally the child’s thoughts about her birth parents.

The story concludes with the familiar refrain, Families are forever.”



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AQ Lens: Adopted children enjoy hearing their adoption stories and they take delight in knowing how happy their parents were to have them join the family. This story does a good job on that count.

I wish it included more direct reassurance that the adoptive parents welcome the girl’s questions and mixed feelings about the more difficult/painful parts of adoption. (When reading My Family Is Forever, parents can take the opportunity to hold that exact conversation!)

Adoptees know through direct experience that families can be broken apart. It’s already happened to them at least once (when they were separated from their birth families.) Thus, in an attempt to reassure children, adoptive families are frequently described as forever families.  It is important that adoptive families also convey that their birth families are also forever a part of the adoptee.

(I wish we could coin a new phrase that reassures children without subtly implying that their birth family is somehow no longer a part of them. Suggestions and discussion are welcome!)                  starstarstarstar

Ribbit: An invitation to Friendship


ribbitIn Ribbit by Rodrigo Folgueira and illustrated by Poly Bernatene, readers meet a pig with personality and an interest in making friends in unusual places. At dawn one morning Pig announces her presence to a community of startled frogs. Suspicious and unwelcoming, the frogs demand that pig explain herself.

She booms her reply, “Ribbit.” Instead of being impressed by Pig’s language abilities, the frogs fear her. When the other woodland creatures question the frogs about their new member, the frogs quickly disown her, “She’s no relative of ours.” The brouhaha intensifies until  the chief frog suggests they consult the “wise old beetle.” Even this suggestion is met with conflict and debate. Finally they visit Beetle and he agrees to return to the pond and unravel the pig’s intentions.

When they all return to the pond, they find Pig has departed, leaving behind more questions than ever. The reader, however, knows the answer: Pig has set out to find another group, one that will welcome a pig for a friend.


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AQ Lens: Adopted children frequently report feeling like an outsider. This book offers a wonderful metaphor for exploring those feelings of “other-ness” in a non-threatening way. There are many things to appreciate in this story. First, it easily lends itself to discussions that invite children to wonder about Pig’s motives, to consider why the frogs are so overly cautious and inhospitable. Second, parallels between a child’s own experience either as  the “new ” arrival or as being on the flip side of the equation as “gatekeepers” of an established group.  

Explore feelings, discuss strategies, and suggest ways to smooth  social transactions to help children be more empathetic and welcoming. Mention different ways a child can be a friend, as well as the ways in which a child can “turn off” other kids. Ask kids what they seek in a friend and how they try to be a likable person. Many kids remain oblivious to social cues unless they are specifically taught and regularly reinforced.

It is worth highlighting that Pig does not allow herself to be “victimized” by the group’s unwelcoming reception. Instead, she seeks out an alternate group and once again, dares to request entry into the group. (That kind of resiliency is a valuable life skill!)



One Family

one familyOne Family by George Shannon and Blanca Gomez presents a fascinating introduction into counting with a twist. The reader meets many types of family; each is one example of one kind of family.

We discover that a family can include a range of individuals, colors, ethnicities, and even species and still be one family! This offers a delightful riff on inclusion when it comes to recognizing the many types of families that are common today–and a few more unusual ones. The concept is clear: each is one  example of a family. The story concludes,


“One is one and everyone.

One earth. One world.

One Family.”

As adoptive families, we have a vested interest in this kind of acceptance and inclusion. The detailed and upbeat illustrations invite exploration–and counting–as well as identifying other “collective” nouns. Blanca Gomez, an internationally recognized illustrator, lives in Madrid, Spain.



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AQ Lens: The obvious message that families need not look similar, is one that adoptive families are wise to reiterate on a regular basis. This story has a wonderful sense of joy and humor in addition to its message of tolerance and acceptance. Parents might want to highlight the Hispanic heritage of the illustrator as a way of raising awareness and overtly supporting diversity in our families, books, communities through in our purchases.

we need diverse booksFor more information on the We Need Diverse Books  movement, visit their official website.

A Taste of Asia: Four Books That Expand Children’s Multiculturalism

The Magic BrushThe Magic Brush: A Story of Love, Family, and Chinese Characters has much to offer readers with an interest in diversity. (That includes all of us, right?) Written by Kat Yeh, (an Asian-American,) and illustrated by Huy Voun Lee (who was born in Cambodia) whose real-life experiences as Asian Americans infuses the story with authenticity.

The illustrations enrich the story effectively, e.g., when Grandfather stands in his doorway and wiggles his finger to invite Jasmine to enter. Along with her, the reader discovers a space infused with Asian elements: furniture, wall hanging, drawing table etc.

But the story  also captures a universal moment, of a grandparent passing on his wisdom, engaging his granddaughter in both the magical and factual elements of their culture. Huy Voun Lee skillfullly inserts Chinese characters so they both embellish the illustration and offer a chance to learn the characters. The book includes a pronunciation guide and a very brief  summary of Chinese art as well as explanations of the food treats described in the story.

Beyond the fascinating and valuable peek at Chinese culture, Kat Yeh relates a universal story of family connections.


New ClothesOur next title offers a peek into Korean culture. Written and illustrated by Hyun-joo Bao, New Clothes for New Year’s Day  begins with a girl gazing from an open window. A breeze billows invitingly, beckoning the reader to step beyond it and explore the many ways the New Year is welcomed in Korea.

The story unfolds through the experiences of this small girl as she completes the complicated ritual of dressing for New Year’s Day in traditional Korean garb. Bright illustrations radiate energy as the tiny child struggles to don each item of her outfit. As she works with great care, ensuring that she places each element correctly, the reader observes her respectfulness for the traditions as evidenced in her dedication to detail. “It’s not easy…,” she says.

As in The Magic Brush: the artwork overflows with detail. This time we enjoy the beauty of Korean furnishings, style, colors and patterns. End matter includes information about how the holiday is observed, background about the traditional costume and the meaning behind it. A feast for the eyes, and an enjoyable venture into another culture.


Zen ShortsAs a Caldecott Honor Book, Zen Shorts delivers breathtaking illustrations. This story too, begins with a child at a doorway. A boy tries desperately to capture his older brother’s attention. He yells through the closed door, “There’s a bear outside!” Brother remains skeptical and the door remains shut. Karl relates a play-by-play of the bear’s antics. Finally, his brother Michael opens the door, the siblings’ adventure begins.

They encounter Stillwater, a philosophizing panda bear who is armed with gentle Zen wisdom and an arsenal of anecdotes. A charming story that uses metaphors to make important points which are valuable for all –children as well as grown ups.

Zen Shorts is another double-barreled success both visually and textually satisfying that shows us “… how Addy, Michael,Karl–and Stillwater–became friends.” This lesson in sibling harmony is a  welcome one.


LIVING IN CINAWritten by Carole P. Roman, a multi-award-winning author, If You Were Me and Lived in China is part of a series of non-fiction books which explore life in other countries through a child’s eyes. The book visits some of the cultural landmarks, introduces some vocabulary and, describes cultural traditions–ancient and modern.

An excellent first introduction to China. Also includes a pronunciation guide. Illustrated by Kelsea Wierenga.

Check out some of her other titles in this series. They include lots of great information and help us prepare children for life as global citizens. #ReadYourWorld #DiverseKidLit #MCBD #WNDB



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AQ Lens: Beyond the obvious benefits of putting children in touch with their cultural roots, by their very existence these books send a message that these traditions are worth noting, following and showcasing. It is an easy step to carrying the same sense of value to a child’s roots. Coming from another culture makes one “different.” But it isn’t something to hide; it is something to share and honor. Readers will notice the effort and determination which the main characters demonstrate.  Skills and capabilities grow out of hard work. This is a great message for them to absorb!

These books also demonstrate the universality of common daily activities: dressing, enjoying time with grandparents, preparing meals, celebrating holidays. As the reader follows the main characters through the narrative, children can note the value of self reliance, connection to family and of being part of a history–personal, familial as well as cultural. Children will enjoy learning about other cultures, whether it is part of their history or not. By expanding our children’s exposure to a variety of cultures and traditions, we better prepare them for life in this increasingly interconnected world. It is important for us to prepare them for this global citizenship.


Bedtime Rituals That Soothe

beautiful moon Award-winning illustrator, Eric Velasquez’s exquisite illustrations  create a gentle backdrop for  a young boy’s simple prayer in Tonya Bolden’s glorious picture book  Beautiful Moon: A Child’s Prayer. Families who practice prayer will find the story touches upon important themes: family, community, gratitude, hunger, etc. No particular faith is indicated so this lovely book can be treasured by Christian, Jews, Muslims, etc.

Even for those who do not engage in literal prayer, Beautiful Moon expresses a beautiful message and invites discussion on some complex parts of life: homelessness, poverty, hunger. The book handles it gently so that children will not be overwhelmed by the unfairness and sadness of life’s harsh realities. Instead, it validates the child’s experiences; he has noticed these sad truths. He recognizes that there is something he can do about it: he can pray. Parents might want to explore additional ways in which their family can be part of the solution and not merely horrified, mute observers.


magnifying lens AQ.2AQ Lens: Adoptees have direct experience with loss, grief and sadness, thus they can easily identify with the spirit of this story. The boy’s example of a hopeful heart models one strategy that a child can use as they handle the difficulties of their own lives. The boy’s prayer validates his observations of the hard stuff of life. He doesn’t turn a blind eye or minimize what he knows to be true. Adoptees can use this story line as a model for sharing his own “hard stuff” with the expectation that his family can listen, validate and support him.  Although not directly an adoption-oriented book, this story has much to offer.

Five Star Read  starstarstarstarstar



good night yogaGood Night Yoga by Mariam Gates and illustrated by Sarah Jane Hinder includes charming multicultural illustrations which demonstrate how yoga can be a relaxing and soothing part of a bedtime routine. Not quite a story book, more like a poem, it outlines a sequence of yoga poses that children can practice as a way to prepare themselves for bed. Good Night Yoga depicts a user-friendly introduction to easy, basic yoga poses and can be the beginning of a healthy lifetime practice.

Simple, calming and a gentle way to end the day, Good Night Yoga is worth exploring with your family. Kids will quickly master the sequence and can lead the routine as parent and child perform it together. Why not add some music. Choose something serene and ethereal or something from nature that connects with your child. For some that might be the rhythmic sound of waves lapping the shore. Others might enjoy a regal loon calling against a background of chirping crickets. Get creative and breathe in…Breathe out…Breathe in…Breathe out.
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AQ Lens: Many children find it difficult to settle, especially kids with trauma histories or tough starts. With its focus on breathing, body awareness and mindfulness, yoga can help children unwind.  The poses included in the book can be performed by parents too which offers a great way to be playful and healthy together. Readers of this blog know that AQParenting includes an intentional focus on being playful as a family because joy is an essential part of nurturing connected relationships.

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Making Dreams Come True

ballerina dreamsDreaming comes easily to most people but manifesting dreams requires more than wishing. As adoptive parents we are familiar with the power of a dream to motivate a relentless dedication of time, energy, resources and money. In Ballerina Dreams by Michaela and Elaine DePrince, readers meet two inspirational dreamers: the mother daughter authors who collaborated on this book. It follows Michaela’s dream to become a ballerina–something few black girls accomplish.

When Michaela began imagining this goal she was an orphan in Sierra Leone; it seemed improbable, a far-fetched possibility.  Most people would believe it an unachievable goal. But not Michaela. She believed in herself. She believed in her dream. And she knew how to work.

Challenges filled her life. In addition to losing her parents to war, Michaela suffered from a visible skin disease that destroyed some of the pigment in her skin. This left her looking “spotty” and vulnerable to teasing by the other children in the orphanage. Still, Michaela remained undeterred and held onto her dream to become a dancer.

Meanwhile far across the world in the United States, Elaine DePrince, an equally determined woman, dedicated herself to fulfilling  her own dream: to adopt a child war-torn from Sierra Leone. Ballerina Dreams shares their amazing story.

Michaela’s persistence and discipline matched the immensity of her dream. She moved far beyond wishful thinking and invested herself completely as she pursued he goal. Eventually, she became a featured performer in the documentary film, First Position, then a principal ballerina with the Dance Theatre of Harlem–the youngest ever. She built on this success and eventually joined the  Dutch National Ballet, a prestigious ballet company


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AQ Lens:   Michaela’s story is one of resilience in the face of adversity and dogged persistence of an important goal. Inspired by her dream, she allowed nothing to prevent her from realizing her heart’s desire. This book clearly shows that her success did not come easily. It resulted from her hard work augmented by collaborative resources and a team of people who supported Michaela.

Her story exemplifies another important adoptee lesson in trust: to rely on others, to depend on their support and to believe that they will be there when needed. Many adoptees have an abiding fear of rejection. This can tempt them into hiding their true wishes and/or replacing their own dreams with the wishes of others. Michaela’s story provides an inspiring model for following one’s own path. It also shows that success is usually a team effort. Many people supported Michaela along the way. She had to agree to let them in, to expose her innermost dream and be vulnerable to their response.   starstarstarstarstar



Firebird: Misty Copeland written by ballerina Misty Copeland has won numerous awards:  

2015 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award
Ezra Jack Keats Book Award New Writer Honor
An NPR Best Book of 2014
An Amazon Best Book of 2014 – Ages 6-8
An Amazon Best Book of the Month, September 2014
Essence Magazine Best Children’s Book of 2014

Glorious illustrations bring this poetic story to life. Evocative metaphors capture a dazzling mood. Watching Misty dance, a young child is overwhelmed by her performance and thinks “the space between you and me/ is longer than forever.” She fears that such accomplishments lie beyond her reach. But Misty counters: “I was a dancer just like you/a dreaming shooting star of a girl/with work and worlds ahead.” As with Michaela’s story, readers will feel both inspired and awed by the fruits of determination and hard work.

magnifying lens AQ.2AQ Lens: This book repeats the message of diligence, persistence and teamwork. It also offers another wonderful example of an African-American child succeeding in arenas previously unavailable to girls like Misty. Firebird: Misty Copeland indulges the eye and the ear and is a great book to add to the collection of any family interested in an expanded multicultural perspective.     starstarstarstarstar

Sibling Relationships, Learning to Get Along

Peace, Bugs and UnderstandingHelping our children navigate the changing seas of sibling relationships is one of many important tasks faced by parents. Sometimes we intervene while other times we allow our children to work it out themselves. Learning to compromise, to speak up for oneself and to disagree respectfully is an essential life skill. Sibling relationships provide an opportunity to learn these basics. Peace, Bugs and Understanding: An Adventure in Sibling Harmony by Gail Silver and illustrated by Youme Nguyen Ly explores this subject. Lily is tired of her little sister spoiling things and she envies the attention that little Ruby garners from her parents.

When the toddler “ruins” her family’s picnic, anger churns inside Lily and leaves her gruff and frustrated. Luckily, her dad has come prepared. He shares a special book with Lily–her grandfather’s boyhood journal from 1923. The journal describes his experience with a talking frog, an annoying sibling and the overwhelming weight of anger. Exhausted by the burden of his angry feelings, he turns to deep breathing and a series of prayerful meditations:


Breathing in, breathing out…

May I be happy’

May I be safe,

May I be strong,

May I live with peace….

May we all be happy,

May we all be safe.

May we all live with peace.”

Lily, immersed in the book, loses track of her little sister. When she looks for Ruby, for a brief moment, Lily cannot find her. In that space, Lily realizes how much she loves her sister.

magnifying lens AQ.2AQ Lens: All children experience feelings of inadequacy, rivalry and anger. For adoptees, this emotion is poignant and frightening. The flip side of “not good enough” is an intense need for attention. Readers will identify with Lily’s frustration. They can benefit from the strategies modeled in the book. The lush, pastel watercolor illustrations evoke a soft contemplative mood. The presence of Asian characters adds a welcome note of diversity.

I rate  Peace, Bugs and Understanding: An Adventure in Sibling Harmony  starstarstarstar


Embracing Our “Differentness”

Book reviews by Casey Swift

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Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld is a delightfully adorable story about an exclamation point that feel as though he doesn’t fit in with the other punctuation marks. One day he meets question mark and soon realizes that he just hasn’t realized his potential yet. Once he realizes his strength, he is able to show the world what awesome things he can do. Kids will be able to relate to this story and how difficult it can be to fit in if you haven’t realized your potential. The illustrations are adorable and the humor is sweet and witty. This is an amazing book for all.

AQ Lens: Adoptees often tell us that they struggle to fit in, so it is easy to see how this simple story can help them get in touch with those feelings. The spare text and delightful, spare illustrations combine to create a simple but powerful metaphor. All of us benefit from the reminder that our uniqueness deserves to be treasured and appreciated.

Mama’s Sarismama's saris by Pooja Makhijani is a truly beautiful book with amazing illustrations done by Elena Gomez. Not only are the illustrations true art, the story tells a tale of youth, culture, and understanding. Like most little girls, the character in this story is fascinated by her mother’s clothing and wants to know when she can wear a Sari.

The story tells of a tradition in a family carried down from generations, and mixes current culture as well. Readers learn about the various types of saris and the beauty behind the fabrics. Children often try to look like their parents and this story defines the importance of this. It is really a beautifully told and illustrated story.

AQ Lens: Mama’s Saris provides an enjoyable peek into Indian culture and can be enjoyed by everyone especially children whose heritage is Indian. Awareness of other cultures helps our kids prepare  to be global citizens. It also balances the “differentness” of being adopted with another kind of difference: that of being a different ethnicity.

What Makes a Family? Connection and Difference in Adoption

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Children will be delighted as they search to find themselves reflected in Who’s in My Family? by Robbie H. Harris and illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott. The spirited illustrations include families of every stripe, color and arrangement. Even the locales, cuisine and activities are diverse, accepting and positive.  The simple story line follows a brother and sister through a day at the zoo. While there, they observe a variety of families—human and animal.

The tone of the story is upbeat and accepting and emphasizes that, regardless of the specific people who make up a family, it is created through caring and love. Readers will enjoy spending  time studying the illustrations and hunting for details–both those that reflect themselves as well as those that highlight differences. This exploration lends itself to conversations about what makes a family and how differences enhance our lives.

AQ Lens: The most obvious benefit that Who’s in My Family? offers is the normalizing of differences. Each grouping is accepted and respected. Love is accepted as the definitive requirement to be a family. Young adoptees will be reassured to see that adoption is not the only way that families can be different.
heather has two mommies Heather Has Two Mommies  by Lesléa Newman is a twenty-fifth anniversary reissue and re-visioning of the groundbreaking story of a family with two moms. Both the text and the illustrations have been updated to reflect current understanding of adoption.  The subtle watercolor illustrations by Laura Cornell set a warm mood for the upbeat text. While Heather’s family–and her two moms is a central part of the story, the nucleus of the story is about the wide range of families that are reflected among Heather’s classmates. By establishing this tone, the uniqueness of Heather’s family does not seem startling. Instead it exists as one of many family constellations. Heather’s classmates also include many ethnicities so it is another nod to inclusion.

AQ Lens: This  book offers a chance to discuss the idea of how families can look  very different but still be a family. By having books like this on a child’s shelf, they can freely select it whenever they feel the need to explore this theme; thus the child doesn’t have to wait for adults to raise the topic first. The mere inclusion of such a book sends a clear message that it is a permissible topic. This is important for all adoptive families, even those who are more normative because all adoptive families are “different” by virtue of the fact that they grew through adoption. We have a fundamental vested interest in tolerance and acceptance.



We go togetherWe Go Together  by Todd Dunn and illustrated by Miki Sakamoto provides a delightful collection of “pairs” in a child’s life. Think: “socks and shoes, “ice cream and cone,” and “dog and bone.” Some obvious pairs are absent, like peanut butter and jelly,  so readers will have fun brainstorming their own pairs. I included this charming book based upon it’s final lines: “We go together because you love me and I love you.” Love, after all, is what links a family together.

AQ Lens: Take the opportunity to discover links of commonality beyond the obvious one of appearances. Just as adoptive family members don’t necessarily look similar, other commonalities do exist. We just have to deepen our noticing skills to help us identify them. Equally important, we must convey to our children that the way we are different is also validated and appreciated.