Diverse Kids Books–Reviews

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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

Book Review for We Adopted You, Benjamin Koo by Linda Walvoord Girard

cover for Benjamin KooThis is a first person narrative from the perspective of the adopted child, Benjamin Koo Andrews. In it he tells his life history from birth to his current age—nine-years-old. His story discusses everything from being left at the doorstep of an orphanage when he was approximately 10 days old through his toddler years, early childhood, discovery of his racial difference from his parents and rebelling because he was adopted, adopting his sister and dealing with taunts at school. The book feels like a documentary but it is very informative and acknowledges a wide range of life experiences and feelings that a child who doesn’t share the race or country of his parents may face. The illustrations make the heaviness of the narrative approach a little lighter and this definitely is a book that I feel is a powerful tool for a parent to use to discuss adoption with their child; the text feels like it was written for that purpose moreso than anything.

Recommendation: Recomended; Age 6+

Book Reviewer: Omilaju Miranda