Mommy Far, Mommy Near is a story of adoption told from the perspective of the adoptee—a little girl named Elizabeth who, along with her sister, was adopted from China by a white American family. Illustrated with gently painted images with a dreamy aura, and the story that unfolds is a sort of coming-of-age narrative, as Elizabeth comes to grips with the details and repercussions of her adoption.
Although she has heard the story her whole life – her mother has a book with a silver cover that shows pictures of the process – the book gently reveals her realization that not only are she and her adoptive family of different ethnicities, but that her “mommy far” is an actual person with a family who had given her up for adoption. Mommy Far, Mommy Near is essentially chronicle of a young girl grieving the loss of her birth family, but moving through that grief to a realization that she can love her adoptive family and her birth family, without abandoning any curiosity, mourning or love she may have for her birth family.
Any child who is adopted or who has a member of their family who is adopted will relate well to this beautifully illustrated book that is does not shy away from the complex emotions that come with being a part of an unconventional family.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended; ages 3+
Reviewer: Jill Moffett
Publisher: Albert Whitman and Company; Publication Date: 2000