Value Difference and Diversity, Fit In, Stand Up

Yearning for acceptance, apprehension about difference, the search for common ground…Here are three books which tackle these big concepts with humor and emotion. They open perspectives and minds while entertaining. Great selections for readers of ANY age.

Bob the artist. 41jSl9F6mzL._SX367_BO1,204,203,200_Embarrassed by his appearance, Bob, the gangly main character of Bob the Artist by Marion Deuchars strives to fit in with his short-legged peers. He tries several approaches to alter his appearance: exercise, diet, and costume. Still he peers continue to tease him. Fitting in is exhausting work.To escape his peers’ relentless teasing, Bob roams the neighborhood alone.

Until… he wanders into an art museum. Inspiration strikes. Convinced that this camouflage will distract the other birds and end the bullying he decides to transform his lovely red beak into works of art that honor the famous artists featured in the museum.

Bob discovers he has a talent for art. (Kids won’t even realize that they’re receiving an art history lesson as a bonus!) Proud of his talent, he comes to realize he no longer cares about the rude taunts. He’s happy with himself.

This delightful book entertains and makes its point so well. Young readers will understand two things. First, they can–and should–choose kindness and inclusivity. Second, they need to value their own talents and gifts. This must be done without a sense of superiority but simply as affirming everyone has value.

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Adoption-attuned (AQ) Lens: 
As I have written many times in other posts, adoptive families have a vested interested in expanding our culture’s definition of what is “real”, “normal” and, “acceptable” Kids naturally yearns for acceptance, fear being ostracized and judges as different. As parents and teachers, we have the chance to teach kids how to own their own uniqueness and how to value the differences of others.

In the story, Bob’s legs caused him to be “othered.” As adoptees, kids experience a level of “otherness” that cuts deep. Non-adopted children and adults often lack appropriate language to express their thoughts and questions and therefore unintentionally say or ask things that come across as especially cruel. Adoptees benefit from adult help in learning how to listen for the speaker’s motive. Giving them the benefit of the doubt may be overly generous; it also may assist our kids in having the confidence to speak up for themselves and “set things right.”

Bob the Artist is delightful and easily lends itself to deep conversations on many topics in addition to adoption.

My Name Is Octicorn. 417MjBeAKSL._SX440_BO1,204,203,200_Hello, My Name Is Octicorn by Kevin Diller and illustrated by Justin Lowe invites readers to consider befriending Octi, a creature whose mom was an octopus and whose dad was a unicorn.  Octi has trouble finding friends because he is so unique. Everyone shuns him. Because they fear his differences, they miss out on the pleasure of knowing him.

Octi showcases his many unique talents he has because he is half unicorn and half octopus. At parties he can juggle and dance with the best. At campfires he can toast marshmallows on his horn!…if he were invited. Ah, but that is the situation. Octi doesn’t get invited.

After presenting his case, Octi concludes his story with an invitation: “Will you be my friend? Yes or No?” This is brilliant writing because the question lands directly in the reader’s personal world. And hopefully, in their heart. Octi challenges them individually. They must make a choice–even if only in their mind. Will they choose friendship or rejection?

Justin Lowe’s quirky, unsophisticated, child like illustrations further the sense that this story is a personal conversation between Octi and the reader. This is a short, easy read with a message that packs an important punch.

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Adoption-attuned (AQ) Lens: 
This book has an obvious and easy segue into discussions of  the challenges, realities and benefits of being biracial and/or multiracial. So, kids who are bi-racial or multi-racial may feel a special resonance with the theme of this book. One illustration shows a genealogical diagram depicting Octi’s parents. (Dad is a unicorn; mom is an octopus.) This illustration might lead to conversations about the heritages of each birth parent. Parent and child can discuss both the reality and the cultural beliefs of both groups.

The book highlights the benefits of Octi’s dual heritage. This is an important point for all adoptees. There is a richness that comes from muti-ethnicity. We see it as an additive experience instead of as a subtractive one.

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Friendshape–An Uplifting Celebration of Friendship by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld asserts that friends “shape who we are.” They provide many benefits. They help us divide our troubles,  create fun, share our celebrations, and stand by us in good times and in bad. They remember to apologize and forgive each other. That’s a lot of goodness!

But the real message of this book is: Friends do not have to look alike. And yet both children and adults struggle to learn to befriend individuals whom they perceive as “other.” In fact their differences often help us in significant ways. They influence to grow and change in response to the relationship.

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Adoption-attuned (AQ) Lens: 
Adoptive families will find an easy and obvious segue to discussions about racial and cultural differences among friends and even families. How do these differences inform who we are and how we interact with one another? How does difference influence the way our families are received in school? Whom we choose to befriend? How does the way our friends view us and our families influence our own inner dialog as well as the interactions we all share.

We Must Come Together in Community

sea astersSpring officially arrived on March 20, 2016. With the return of warmer temperatures, new plant life and longer days our hearts lift. Good thing, because in today’s political climate optimism and collaboration are in short supply. Today we review four books sure to rekindle our spirits and to remind us that we share more in common than not. We rededicate ourselves to seeing the humanity in others. Through that lens, we seek to build a better world for ourselves and the people we love.

Music Everywhere Music Everywhere1i2rfcs3eL._SY388_BO1,204,203,200_displays a wide variety of instruments from cultures around the world. Photographs capture the joy that music brings to both musicians and audiences. Kids will especially appreciate that it features children in the photos. Brief text highlights the energy, movement and joy that music contributes. Music Everywhere is a five star book from Global Fund for Children. Five Stars.

 

What We Wear.51zbLGwDTVL._SY381_BO1,204,203,200_Also written by Maya Ajmera, Elise Hofer Derstine and Cynthia Pon, What We Wear is another Global Fund for Children Book. Similarly, the photo illustrations include images of children in a dazzling array of colors and designs. Brief text explains that “dressing up means celebrating who we are … and what we believe.” This book exudes energy and joy and will delight children while it reinforces a message of commonality. Five Stars.



HomeHome.51KaHSS1A7L._SX412_BO1,204,203,200_ by Carson Ellis is a  delightful riff on this theme of  commonality in diversity. The dramatic, oversize pencil and watercolor illustrations feature homes both real and whimsical, human and animal, local and exotic.  Cottage or castle, pirate ship or underground lair, palace or apartment, homes are as varied as the people and animals who create them. A fun, lighthearted read with an important core message: home is wherever we live.

Five Stars.

 

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AQ Lens: Each of the previous books delivers an important message of inclusivity and commonality. I have repeatedly mentioned that adoptive families have a vested interest in broadening tolerance and stretching the cultural understanding about what is “normal,” “real,” and “valued.” Each of these books offers an appealing read that support this goal.

 

Everywhere Babies.51UqMGF3LyL._SX496_BO1,204,203,200_Everywhere Babies written by Susan Meyers and illustrated by Marla Frazee (She also wrote and illustrated Rollercoaster which I reviewed here earlier.) Is there anything as endearing, as heart-tugging as babies? This delightful book captures the everyday moments–and charms–of babies around the world. The sweet illustrations depict babies of  every color and culture as well as the families and communities that nurture them. Children will enjoy remembering when they were babies and seeing how “busy” they kept their families. Parents will identify with the exhausted folks who love and care for their children regardless of country or culture. A sweet and satisfying read. Five Stars.

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AQ Lens: Like each of the books reviewed today, Everywhere Babies illustrates the common thread of humanity that people and families around the world share. It also offers a unique chance to explore conversations with adopted children about their early start in life. For children adopted in infancy, it can repeat family stories of their arrival and early years. For kids adopted internationally, Everywhere Babies offers a chance to look at how the culture of origin might have welcomed and supported your child until they were adopted. For kids adopted from foster care or after other trauma, it opens an important window to talking about how adoptive parents wished they could have been there and might suggest ways they would have nurtured  children.

What Is Seen Depends on Where One Looks

As adoptive families we frequently experience the assault of being “othered.” Some people view our families with suspicion and with a subtle judgment of inferiority. Frequently this prejudice reveals itself in off-hand comments such as:

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“What do you know about her “real” mother?

“Do you ever wish you had children of your “own”?

“How could she give him away?”

“How much did he cost?”

“He brings such chaos, why not just send him back?”

“You’re amazing; I could never love a child who wasn’t my own.”

I believe most people don’t intend to be hurtful or offensive but in their ignorance, they are. Their mistrust of anything perceived as “other” magnifies their fears. They demean what they do not know or understand. Their prejudice appears on levels both minor and major.

Bias is undeniably obvious in the temperature of current political discourse which grows increasingly less civil, less tolerant, and less respectful day by day. The easiest response is to tighten ranks around the status quo, esteeming that which is most similar to one’s circumstances, thoughts and experiences. It takes work to understand and familiarize oneself with the unknown. But it is work that must be done. To thrive as a family, as a community and as a country, we must pull together with mutual respect. We must not tolerate hits on our children’s culture, race, ethnicity, etc. We cannot afford to crush the dreams and talents of those who are different from the norm. We must not condone the “cloak of invisibiltiy” which traps children and people of color in pigeonholed boxes.

Rarely has the influential role of books loomed more pivotal. View this wonderful video by Grace Lin. She is the award-winning author of many books, among which is the classic, Dim Sum for Everyone. She focuses her Ted Talk on the needs of our children, however, her point is crucial for us all. Please watch her brief presentation and then review your family bookshelf. What changes would benefit your family?

Look for my future reviews of Grace’s many books.

 

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Happiness Is…

happy. Pharrell.510abOYfFcL._SX407_BO1,204,203,200_It feels appropriate to conclude the month of February with a final nod to affairs of the heart. Beyond romance, each of us yearns to love and be loved. We wish to be seen and accepted as our authentic selves. We need to be appreciated for our differences as much as for what we have in common with family and friends. It is our differences that make us unique. This acceptance is difficult to achieve.

Ironically, it is often our own selves who are the most challenging to convince. That’s why a book like Happy by Pharrell Williams is an excellent choice to read as a family. The lyrics of Pharrell William’s song form the text of the book. Before reading this book, play the song. Can you feel your body itching to jump up and move? Go for it! Encourage your child to do the same.

The photo illustrations are wonderfully diverse and capture the energy of the song well. The notes included as back matter are n added bonus. Pharrell invites readers to become a Happy Helper, sprinkling seeds of happiness and contributing to the creation of a better world. This book is a delightful five star read!

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300AQ Lens: It is easy to get lost in the habit of waiting to be happy. We clutch the negative aspects to our hearts and minds to focus on what is missing; on some event/result that awaits us in the future; on the the conclusion of some restriction; on the accomplishment of some goal, etc..

We must teach our children to take the time to enjoy the blessings of what and who are in their lives in the present moment. This is not to invalidate their losses, yearnings and unfulfilled needs. Rather it is to teach them to hold a both/and mentality. (Although in adoption circles we usually think  about this concept in relation to valuing and respecting both birth family and adoptive family, this mindset is beneficial for all aspects of their lives.)

We truly bless our children when we succeed in teaching them how to hold and enjoy their life in spite of their trials, disappointments and losses–those rooted in adoption as well as those losses and frustrations originating elsewhere. To some extent, happiness is a practice we must learn to cultivate. It is an important skill we can teach our kids. Along the way we can carve out time to connect through having fun together which is a proven way to strengthen the ties that bind families together across time and distance.

Remember to look for reasons to be joyful; our personal example is our most effective teaching tool.

 

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The title Happy in Our Skin by Fran Manushkin, illustrated by Lauren Tobia pretty much captures the message of this book. Richly diverse illustrations capture children and their families in various activities. Readers will notice that regardless of ethnicity, culture or physical ability, families interact and love the same. Children will also learn that skin has important function: “It keep the outsides out and the insides in.” All people have this in common. Skin presents obvious differences as well: color, texture, freckles, dimples, even goose pimples.

Happy in Our Skin can create an easy opportunity to have some important conversations about race. This can help parents lay the groundwork for tolerance, acceptance and for the end of racism.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300AQ Lens:Race matters. “Color blindness” is a misguided strategy for nurturing racial harmony and racial identity. It is essential for transracial adoptive families to have consistent conversation on the topic. Parents must ensure that they are encouraging a reality-based discourse not one that is sanitized because it is easier to pretend race is less of an issue than it is.

Adult adoptees who were adopted into transracial and/or trans-cultural families have raised their voices to proclaim the absolute necessity to tackle issues of race with courage and openness. Happy in Our Skin offers an easy conversation starter. Like many difficult adoption-connected conversations, it is best to begin discussions at a young age.

This accomplishes two things. First, it affirms that parents want to talk about it and are capable of hearing the real story. The good. The bad. And the ugly. This allows parents to provide loving support for children facing tough experiences themselves. It also educates children who are not transracial adoptees to have empathy, understanding and a willingness to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

Second, it prepares children with information, strategies and validates their true experiences.

 

Filling Your Child’s World With Color

 

Father reading book to daughter

There is a new level of understanding of the role of race in adoption. We now understand that color blindness is both a myth and a folly. Instead, adoptive families must remove the blinders and have the courage to talk about race in myriad ways. Books offer an easy way of opening and exploring these conversations.

It is a truism that books serves as both mirrors and windows–mirrors of our child’s particular experience and windows onto the wider world. We must include books that perform both tasks. Share books that reflect our child’s life and books that also reveal alternate communities, cultures and, experiences. The first type of book connects children to their own world, helps them to understand and function in it. The second type showcase people, places and activities that are different. Reading such books expand  children’s horizons, nurture empathy and allay fears of difference.

global babies.2Humans beings tend to fear that which is different and unfamiliar. Technology and the internet have exploded the old confines of living in a small world. It is important to help our children develop the ability to live in the global world that is their reality.

Commit to choosing books that include a range of characters. Explore stories about other cultures. As reported in this CNN article, the American Academy of Pediatricians advises parents to read daily to their children from birth! We can begin fulfilling this intentional commitment to diversity even when reading with our babies!

Global Babies by the Global Fund for Children is a sweet board book that features close-up photographs of babies’ faces, each from a different country around the world. Global Babies is my five-month-old grandson’s favorite book. He squeals with delight with each page turn.

Whose toes.51nLIrSf+3L._AA160_Whose knees.3.51+A-sReFuL._AA160_Charmingly illustrated by LeUyen Pham, two books written by Jabari Asim: Whose Toes Are Those? and Whose Knees Are These? connect with my grandson in two ways: they mirror his world because like most babies, he has toes and knees and has experienced the activities depicted in the book. Since the illustrations feature African-American characters, the books also serve as a window onto another culture, thus blending both the familiar and the different. (Since both author and illustrator are not Caucasian, these two books offer an added diversity bonus!)

Peekaboo Morning.51UIgUdfHpL._AA160_Peekaboo is a universal game so it is not surprising that my grandson also enjoy Peekaboo Morning by author-illustrator, Rachel Isadora. The illustrations primarily feature an African-American family but also include the toddler’s friend who is Caucasian.

These four board books have universal appeal and make a fabulous and important addition to the family library and help lay the foundation for multiculturalism early in a child’s life.

 

Shades of Black: A Celebration of Our Children

 

Shades of Black: A Celebration of Our ChildrenShades of Black is also written by Sandra L. Pinckney with photographs by Myles C. Pinkney. It  is a delightful book that examines race from a slant of color appreciation. In direct contrast to the popular (but ill-placed notion*) of adoptive parents seeking to create “color blind” families, Shades of Black asks the reader to notice race and to notice the diversity that racial identity includes.

The text is a rich blend of vivid and unexpected metaphor. The accompanying photographs bring these novel images to life. The book’s premise is presented with respect and warmth and depicts the spectrum of skin tones of children who identify themselves as black. All families can benefit from reading it as a great way to explore race. Black children will especially appreciate the message of inclusion and celebration which the book offers.

Shades of Black: A Celebration of Our Children      starstarstarstar

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AQLens: As often stated in this blog, whether we are transracial families or not, adoptive families have a vested interest in cultivating tolerance, inclusion and multiculturalism. We are poster families for “difference” and frequently face the challenges of people questioning the validity of our families, posing intrusive/offensive questions and imposing expectations of gratitude (on our children,) and heroism (on us, for “rescuing” our kids.)

Beyond the obvious message of appreciating the rainbow of humanity’s color, this book invites discussion of race, of difference, of acceptance and of respect. Some might argue that the book reinforces the belief that anyone of a mixed heritage which includes only the slightest bit of African-American ancestry might more accurately consider themselves of mixed race and not simply as black. These are important topics for adoptive families yet they are not easy to introduce; this book offers an excellent gateway.

*Integrating a child’s birth heritage Once a child joins a family, his heritage is grafted to the entire family. It is not something that pertains only to him; the entire family honors and lives it. Beyond an occasional ethnic meal, trip to an exotic restaurant or occasional reading of a cultural fairy tale, families must immerse themselves as deeply as if it were their own natal heritage.

Transracial families must actively develop friendships and expose kids to mentors that share their race. Parents must foster a spirit of curiosity and learning around race. Recognize that a transracially adopted child’s experience as he journeys through the world will differ from yours. Moreover, because of the reality of white privilege, it will vary when you are with him and when he is on his own. Validate his experiences. Help him develop skills and tools to successfully navigate his challenges. Have conversations that empower. Don’t simply fan angry feelings. Avoid the fantasy of “color blindness.” Instead, foster color appreciation. Treating race as if it were irrelevant sends the hurtful message that it lacks value and importance.

Parents and children must walk in one another’s worlds and share the experience of being the minority. Teach kids how to handle prejudice. Explain your coping strategies. Be straightforward about the challenges. Acknowledge the reality of discrimination and work together to prepare them to face a world that notices the skin we are in. Read more of this earlier blog post.

What Makes a Family? Connection and Difference in Adoption

who's in my family

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.

Wanting to Be Different

Dont want to be a frogChildren often complain that they don’t want to be: skinny or fat; tall or short; blonde or brunette; curly-haired or straight-haired; etc. Their lists can be lengthy and changeable.  They want to be anything else except themselves. Dev Petty’s picture book I Don’t Want To Be A Frog hilariously captures these universal feelings of frustration which all of us have—children and adults. The comical illustrations by Mike Boldt are eye-popping and full of hidden jokes for the adult reader. (This is a definite plus because I predict, children will request this book over and over.)

Imagine being Froggy—wet, slimy, and stuck eating bugs—lots of them. I mean seriously, pretty yucky, right? He yearns to be cute, cuddly and warm like a cat or a bunny. He’s even willing to settle for a pig or an owl. Mama frog patiently points out all the reasons why Froggy can’t be other than himself. But the most convincing argument comes from a surprising source: a very hungry wolf. Wolf savors the taste of rabbit, owl, pig and cat but turns up his nose at the thought of eating a slimy, wet bug-eating frog. Froggy is relieved—and safe. He celebrates by dining on his favorite treat a succulent fly!

It’s easy to appreciate the obvious message conveyed in I Don’t Want To Be A Frog: being yourself is the best choice. For adopted children this is an especially pointed lesson.  It offers a great talking point regarding the talents, inclinations and abilities which they received through their birth parents. Families can highlight and celebrate these differences as things of value.

Often we concentrate on identifying ways that our adopted children are like us. Commonality equates to connection. It is equally important, however, to notice, validate and encourage the differences which our children bring to the family. These add value, texture and variety and are an important part of them. These differences enrich our families; they do not diminish us. A Five Star read.

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“A Place in My Heart” — an Adoption Truth

place in my heart As an adoptive parent and now as an adoption coach, I search for books that support adopted children and help them learn how adoption influences their lives. Many books have been written on the subject. How does a family identify the best books– especially those that address adoption from the child’s point of view.

Mary Grossnickle’s sweet story, “A Place in My Heart, is one great example of a story that validates the adopted child’s point of view. Charlie–a chipmunk adopted into a family of squirrels wrestles with the differences in their appearance. Adoptees commonly feel like they don’t quite fit so they will easily identify with Charlie’s struggle. He’s an endearing character, full of mischief and curiosity. His mother recognizes  the stress factors  that challenge Charlie and she responds in a supportive and adoption-attuned manner.  Parents also can identify with Charlie’s desire to be reassured that he holds a special spot in the hearts of those he loves. We all share this need for connection. This is especially true for adopted children which is why kids will respond to Charlie’s situation.

Mommy overtly acknowledges and encourages his thoughts and feelings for his birth parents. This helps helps Charlie to work through them. Charlie learns that he doesn’t need to hide or deny his feelings. Charlie doesn’t have to choose one  over the other; he doesn’t have to worry about being disloyal  or hurtful to his adoptive parents. Their hearts are large enough to hold  all of the people Charlie loves and all of the people who love Charlie. Mom designs a craft project so Charlie can own the important people in his life and place them in his heart. Together they realize that there is always room for loving relationships.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and in the important message of understanding acceptance and validation that it conveys. Alison Relyea-Parr’s pastel illustrations have a gentle, dream-like quality that reinforce the comforting tone of the book. Readers will want to duplicate the “Place in my heart” activity. Jessica Kingsley Publishers has presented us with another excellent book.

A Child Delights in Seeing “Himself” in ABC, Adoption & Me

ABC, Adoption & Me display

ABC, Adoption & Me, visits Windmill Point Elementary School

When a school invites me to do an author visit, it still thrills me. I love to watch children as they listen to a story, absorb it, and ask questions. Books have such potential to affect lives.  Casey and I wrote ABC, Adoption & Me with the intention of making it that kind of book—one that truly touches children’s hearts and minds.

While reading ABC, Adoption & Me to the audience at a recent school visit, I experienced that connection. I had instructed the children to study the illustrations and listen to the text to find which page reminded them of their own family. Nodding heads and smiling faces indicated that the children had enjoyed the story.

I returned to my display table. Tugging on his Mom’s arm, a young child made a beeline to me. “I know which letter is like my family.” He beamed at me and hastily turned the pages until he came to O is for Open Adoption. Tapping his chest and then tapping the pages, he continued, “Open Adoption. That’s me. I have an Open adoption.” Clearly he was thrilled to see his experience reflected in the pages of a book. Coincidentally, the illustration character was Latino like himself.

I felt like he’d given me a gift—the gift of knowing that we had accomplished our goal of expanding adoption literature to reflect the child’s experience and to do it in a way that validated that experience.

Last week was Children’s Book Week. Much of the focus highlighted the need for more diverse books. The hashtag #weneeddiversebooks skyrocketed across the web gaining momentum and opening the conversation on the value of diversity in literature.  We are pleased to be part of that increased diversity. The right combination of a great story well told can engage a child’s mind and heart. This is how lifelong readers are born.