Diverse Kids Books–Reviews

Home » transracial adopt (Page 2)

Category Archives: transracial adopt

Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers

cover of Everywhere BabiesThis sweet board book is a like a buffet of babies charming both children and adult readers. The author, Susan Meyers, and the illustrator, Marla Frazee, celebrate baby’s first year of life beginning with swaddled newborns, through all the late night rocking and feeding, into the crawling and playing, exploring life all the while and ending with a cake-covered baby on the first birthday. It is very clear Meyers and Frazee spent a lot of time just watching babies and families. It is also unmistakable they had a message when writing this book—diversity is joyful. We see light-skinned hands lifting a dark-skinned baby and a light-skinned baby reaching out for dark-skinned hands. We hear that babies can be fed “by bottle, by breast, with cups and with spoons.” We see two moms, single parents, two dads, twins, a variety of body shapes and sizes, grandmas and grandpas, and many combinations of skin tone. This book really is the I Spy of family diversity, so the reader will have no problem finding a picture that resembles himself and his family.
The one criticism I have for this book is we do not see any persons with physical disabilities. There is one grandmother holding a baby on her knee while her cane rests beside her, but no obvious example of a child or parent with a disability. We see babies crawling and one baby learning to walk, but it would have been lovely to have seen a child with a walker or braces on her legs. Beyond that, I have nothing but glowing remarks for this book. It is an old favorite of ours and my go-to present for 1-year olds, given that it ends with a birthday party. The closing of the book also speaks to me personally as the mother of an internationally adopted child. “Every day, everywhere, babies are loved—for trying so hard, for traveling so far, for being so wonderful… just as they are!” This simple inclusion of “traveling so far” always made me and my child feel as if the story was hers.

Recommendation: I highly recommend this book for ages 9 months to 3 years. It deserves a place on every book shelf in every home and every place of learning.


Book Reviewer: Amanda Setty

Documentary Film –“Off and Running: An American Coming of Age Story” by Avery Klein-Cloud and Nicole Opper

Cover for Off and RunningSpanning two years in the life of high school track star, Avery Klein-Cloud, this is the documentary of her journey to reconnect with her birth mother. New Yorker Avery Klein-Cloud is the African American daughter of two white Jewish mothers and sister to two brothers –one Korean and the other African American and Puerto Rican. The documentary opens with Avery reaching out to her birth mother and in a heart wrenching, emotional journey of attempting to balance living a high performer’s daily life with hoping to fill in the voids of her identity, we watch Avery struggle with both of her families, school, and a new found Black awareness as part of her personal self-knowing. At the risk of spoiling, this film is a testimony to the power that love and raising a child with all possible social, familial, and educational advantages have to make sure that those who lose their way make it back home.


I highly recommend this film for everyone and definitely for transracial families and soon-to-be transracial adoptive parents.


Available on Netflix , Shop PBS, and Amazon.

–Transracial Adopted Child (African American/Jewish)

Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Reviewer: Omilaju Miranda

You’re Not My Real Mother by Molly Friedrich

Cover You're Not my real motherMolly Friedrich writes a spirited conversation between adoptive mother and child initiated by the Vietnamese daughter declaring “You’re not my real mother” to her mother. What follows is mother and daughter agreeing and laughing their way through an illustrated list of all the things that mothers and daughters do together. When the daughter revisits the issue of not understanding why her mother doesn’t look like her, the mother explains adoption to her daughter. I love the fact that this book deals with the issue of transracial adoption’s most obvious issue for the young child—that they don’t look racially like their parents— head on. By tackling that issue from the beginning of the book, this story respects children for their observation and insight. My three year old lost interest mid-book right after the mother and daughter hugged exalting kisses and parental gobbling of the child. I think she’s used to that sort of scene being the end of a story so an older child should voluntarily keep focus. The author says this is a story of the answer that poured out of her heart when she was faced with this challenge by her daughter. As such, accompanied by lively illustrations it feels incredibly sincere.

Recommendation: Recommended; ages for 4+

Book Reviewer: Omilaju Miranda

Families Are Different by Nina Pellegrini

cover for Families Are DifferentNico, the protagonist, is the first person narrator who addresses the reader directly with an opening salutation before moving into the story of her adoption and six years of life. The language feels forced as if Nico is putting her life on display and she is the tour guide. The good thing about Nico’s “museum guide” voice is that even when she speaks of her confusion and sad feelings, she speaks with authority and knowledge which makes her trustworthy for the young child who may be trying to work their way through parallel experiences. I think Nico’s authority can be very empowering in the end when she discovers that although she is different from her parents, she is the same as everyone in her class because everyone has a different family composition. A child reading this may be encouraged to look at the families of her or his classmates and friends and see that there are many different family structures amongst them.

Recommendation: Unenthusiastically recommended for the message not the story; age 5+

Reviewer: Omilaju Miranda

I Love You Like Crazy Cakes by Rose Lewis

cover I Love you Like Crazy CakesA sincere letter from a Euro-American adoptive mother to her adopted Chinese daughter, this is the first person story of the transcontinental infant/toddler adoption from the mother’s perspective. The language is sensitive and sincere as the mother tells her daughter about their lives before they lived together and their first few days together. Children will enjoy reading about a plane ride, feeling as if they traveled to a mysterious orphanage in China where every baby has a friend in their crib, and a magical connection between mother and child from the first moment they met. My heart warmed at the conscientious, emotional connection the adoptive mother voices, “I held you…and cried. The tears were for your Chinese mother, who could not keep you.” I believe many adoptive parents must feel a connection to the loss birth parents feel or may feel at releasing their child for adoption but this is the first time I’ve seen it on the page in a picture book. For many parents who have trouble expressing that dimension of their feelings to their child, the mother in this book can be their voice. Overall, I am impressed by way the delicate, watercolor illustrations show the adoptive mother’s dedication to integrating China into her daughter’s life. A joy to read.

Recommendation: Recommended; Ages 2+

Book Reviewer: Omilaju Miranda

In Our Mothers’ House by Patricia Polacco

In our mothers house coverThis is one of the best first person narrative children’s books I’ve ever read. The voice is so authentic I thought it was a children’s nonfiction story until I read the back bookflap. An African descendant woman tells the story of her life with her two mothers, Asian brother and carrot-top sister from their at-birth adoptions until their parents pass away, leaving the family home to the protagonist’s brother. Polacco’s narrative style is one of such candor and fluidity that as the protagonist shares with us the milestones of her life from becoming a big sister to seeing her mothers in dresses for the first time to finding emotional comfort in the home after her parents pass away , the reader is increasingly emotionally invested in their ever expanding world of friends, family and tradition. Polacco also includes the conflict of an anti-gay neighbor in the book, who turns the dial up on that confrontational anti-gay anger pretty high without actually saying “lesbian, gay, or homosexual.” The mothers handle the confrontation in a protective and reassuring manner that gives parents reading this book with children the freedom to explain as little or as much about sexual orientation as parents wish, including saying nothing about sexual orientation and just explaining that sometimes people don’t like others who are different. Illustrated with engaging animation and expressiveness, readers will see and feel a full spate of emotions as we do in real life. While the mothers demonstrate friendly touch affection towards each other and familial touch affection toward the children, for some, it will be important to see that the three children enter heterosexual marriages, framed in family portraits near the end of the book. The choice to show the oldest daughter and the son married to people within their “own” racial groups, demonstrates to me a silent acknowledgement of efforts made by the Italian and English-Irish mothers to encourage, support and preserve their children’s unique cultural identities. Complete with three children who grow up to become successful professionals with happy families of their own, In Our Mothers’ House is the multi-dimensional All American LGBT-parent family story.

Recommendation: Highly Recommended; ages 6+

Reviewer: Omilaju Miranda

I Don’t Have Your Eyes by Carrie A Kitze

I Don't Have Your Eyes by Carrie A KitzeWritten with transracial adoptee children in mind, this book, with a series of lyrical statements, contrasting the differences in the physical appearances of children’s and parents’ body parts to the emotions, attitudes , and life perspectives associated metaphorically with the physical, sensorial, or functional purpose of the body part, communicates the conscientious and humane value system that parents teach and transfer to their children with such fluidity and beauty that you feel the text bringing you and your child closer and helping your child see the best in themselves and their depthful connection to you. In no cheesy, but a substantial, poetic, non-didactic prose, the book really conveys that who we are and who we help each other grow to be inside is what is valuable and what makes us family. The illustration is beautiful, realistic and includes illustrations of many different parent-child racial pairings including parents and children who share the same race but obviously different features so it doesn’t have to read as a book about “all of us racially different kids”; a child walks away from this book understanding that no one looks exactly like their parents but the loving way we navigate in the world is the offspring of our parents way of raising us.

Recommendation: Highly Recommended; Ages 4-12

Book Reviewer: Omilaju Miranda