Diverse Kids Books–Reviews

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Duck for Turkey Day by Jacqueline Jules #Vietnamese #DiverseKidsBooks #WeNeedDiverseBooks

cover Duck for Turkey DayAdults may find turkey dry and tasteless, but for Tuyet a turkey is symbolic of being the cultural majority, of fitting in, doing what one is supposed to do. Duck for Turkey Day follows a little Vietnamese American girl, Tuyet, who’s terribly upset her family is having duck for Thanksgiving. What follows is an engaging story of accepting of one’s heritage as well as general diversity.

Immigrants often have to negotiate how to preserve and honor their traditions while allowing their children to grow up American, and this book portrays a matter-of-fact immigrant family that plans on cooking some delicious duck regardless of what their little girl thinks. Some parents may give in to their Americanized kids and cook American food, but as Tuyet finds out, some of her classmates had noodles, enchiladas, or tofu turkey on “turkey day” as well. (more…)

Rebecca’s Journey Home by Brynn Olenberg Sugarman

cover of Revecca's Journey HomeRebecca’s Journey Home tells the story of the author, Brynn Olenberg Sugarman, bringing home her daughter Rachele (“Rebecca” in the story) from Vietnam. Instead of the “Sugarmans”, the family in the story is the “Steins”. While the title centers on “Rebecca”—the Vietnamese adoptee, the story speaks more of the family’s adoption journey. Therefore, young siblings anticipating the addition of an adopted child into their home (or young siblings recently experiencing such an event) can especially identify with this story. (more…)

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