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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Book reviews and giveaway: two very different books about adoption

I was recently contacted by two different authors to see if I’d like to review their childrens’ adoption books, Sweet Moon Baby by Karen Henry Clark and Mei-Li and the Wise Laoshi by Kay Bratt. “Well sure,” I said to each, “send it on over, we love books in this house.” The dual timing wasn’t intentional, but it was interesting to read these two books at the same time, because although they both focus on adoption, the approaches are very different and therefore the books meet very different needs.

The first book is called Sweet Moon Baby: An Adoption Tale, by Karen Henry Clark. It’s beautifully written and illustrated, and is what I’d call a fairy tale book. In fact that’s how I presented it to my daughters, and they had no trouble understanding. Keep in mind that we’ve gone pretty far down the road when it comes to talking about adoption, birthparents, lifebooks, etc. So this book, which talks about birthparents who set their baby afloat in a basket praying that good things will happen to her, is obviously not presented as a true-life story and wasn’t taken that way by my kiddos. I think the gentle tale about a baby, her birthparents, and the loving animals who care for her along her journey to her adoptive parents would be a good way to ease into the subject of adoption and birthparents, if you haven’t gone there before or if you’ve been having trouble bringing it up. (The first time I said birthmom out loud, I felt nervous/sweaty/scared, so I can completely understand!) It’s also a beautiful fairy tale for those kids who are already comfortable with adoption and related concepts.
  
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The second book, Mei-Li and the Wise Laoshi, was written by Kay Bratt. This book features a spunky heroine called Mei-Li who is being teased at school for being Chinese and for looking different than her family. (I’m simplifying, but you get the gist, and it probably will happen to your child at some point.) A wise Laoshi (teacher) comes to her in a dream and shows her how her story began and some beautiful truths about how families are formed and what truly makes a family. The book does a great job with these subjects and I’m happy that it is now in our library. My kids always seem to respond better to things that they read in print, and this book will be so helpful as they navigate the elementary school years.

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Giveaway: The authors are giving away a signed and personalized hardcopy of Sweet Moon Baby and a Kindle version of Mei-Li and the Wise Laoshi to the winning Salsa reader. To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment on this post telling me about your favorite adoption book. We’re always looking to add new books to our home library and welcome your suggestions. For an extra entry, “like” the facebook page for Sweet Moon Baby or subscribe to the facebook page for author Kay Bratt and leave a separate comment saying that you did so. Winner will be drawn at random on Monday May 1. Both books are also available from Amazon and other sites.

* All book images are clickable to larger versions if you want to see something close up.

85 comments:

  1. These sound super cute!

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  2. I couldn't 'like' Kay Bratt like I wanted to, but I did subscribe! Her book sounds a little more up our alley.

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    1. Thanks for letting me know! I just changed the link to point to the book page and wrote like/subscribe in the post now.

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  3. "Will she remember us?" the father asked.
    "Somehow," the mother answered.

    What?

    I'm not crying... I got something in my eye....

    Oh, be quiet....

    ~A~

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    1. When I was reading this part at an author event, a father started crying silently in the back of the room as he clutched his adopted Chinese daughter's little hands. My voice caught as I realized how deeply affected he was.

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  4. They look wonderful for our library. My daughter's favorite one so far is probably a tie between I love you like Crazy Cakes and Shoey and Dot.

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  5. I think a favorite adoption book has been I love you like Crazy Cakes. Have to find these books for our little two!

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  6. Please tell me that Ro & Ree have not had to undergo any teasing. That would break my heart for them! Being from the Bay area with lots of Asian influence, I would think they would not be. But, I guess kids can be mean!

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    1. None yet for our sweeties. We are in an EXTREMELY diverse area though, which we love, and they actually have 4 adopted kiddos in their class, which just makes me grin.

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  7. The first time I read Sweet Moon Baby to my DD she audibly gasped - I guess although we had talked about it - the actual act of being "abandoned" hadn't really meant anything to her until that moment. That led to a lot of great discussions since that time. I also really like Rosie's Family which is about a family of dogs and one of the dogs is adopted. Also cute a good conversation starters.

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  8. Susie G.4/24/2012

    For when the boys were little and now for Leah (almost 3) I LOVE the Sesame Street book, We're the same, we're different and we're wonderful!" Not so much about adoption I guess, but a great intro for talking about uniqueness. Oh, and A Mother for Choco is a GREAT book!!

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  9. Over the Moon is a favorite in our house because of the plane ride, which our son loves to hear about!

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  10. I love the Motherbridge of Love. A beautiful story with gorgeous illustration.

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  11. One of my girls favorite books is "A Mother for Choco." Even though it is a very simply concept and really for younger readers, at age 7, they still LOVE it. i think it is a comfort to them that we don't have to look alike to be a family.

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  12. My kids enjoy When You Were Born In China...maybe because it is photographs rather than illustrations...I already follow Kay Bratt....

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  13. Maya's favorite adoption related book is "The Red Blanket" by Eliza Thomas. I love "Motherbridge of Love" for its illustrations, but we have not traveled far down the road of discussion about birthparents. We do talk about it, but it's not something that Maya has been super inquisitive about thus far. I'm with you, M3, sweat and nerves when approaching the topic of birthparents for the first time. Nothing hurts my heart more than hearing Maya occasionally ask "why didn't she want me?" ... I'm going to look for both of these books (unless I win one, of course!!) to add to our collection.

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    1. We love The Red Blanket -- it's such a nice, simple easy one to read. I think it might be the first adoption book we read to the girls. I need to get Motherbridge of Love, I've heard that one from a few commenters now.

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    2. A mother told me she was really nervous about the birth parents conversation with her son, but she bravely began reading. His hand stopped her from turning the page as they decide to release the baby into the river. He asked calmly if he'd had other parents, too. She answered, "Yes." Then he asked if all adopted children had two sets of parents, and she said they did. He smiled and asked her to keep reading. She laughs now at how smoothly it went. But don't we all do that--over think every last thing?

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  14. I have two: Little Miss Spider (who get adopted by Miss Beetle Betty) and Shoey and Dot (China adoption). Both bring tears to my eyes.

    Already "friends" with Kay on FB, though! :)

    Teresa

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  15. Hmm, it didn't connect to my blog. HorvetHappenings.

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  16. Anonymous4/24/2012

    sound like great books.

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  17. We adore Shaoey and Dot. My son that is not adopted loves it more than our adopted daughter. It's sort of funny.

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  18. I just love hearing about new adoption-related books! My daughter likes "I don't have your eyes" and "The red blanket" and my son likes "I love you like Crazy Cakes".

    I already follow Kay Bratt on FB.

    Thanks!

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  19. We lOve Three Names of Me.

    I already follow Kay in Facebook!

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  20. Have them both and we recently got Mei Li on the Kindle/iPad and this is definitely a go to book... the other I don't think was available for the kindle yet.. but my Chilliez LOVE any book about kids in/from China especially when they are adopted.. go figure!! :-) Love the leggings and sock dealies!!

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    1. My editor says SWEET MOON BABY should be available for kindle at some point this year.

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  21. My favorite is sweet moon baby, but I don't own it yet!!!!

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  22. I love The Red Blanket!

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  23. My first favorite adoption book was 'Love You Like Crazy Cakes'. That was many years ago and I have had many that I've loved since then. I have Mei Li for my Kindle, but would love to have 'Sweet Moon Baby'.

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    1. Kristin, have you seen the second one by the Crazy Cakes author Rose Lewis? It's called Every Year on Your Birthday and one of the girls' faves too.

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  24. I have 'liked' the facebook page for Sweet Moon Baby the facebook page for author Kay Bratt.

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  25. I would love to add to our library - we currently enjoy I Don't Have Your Eyes, by Carrie Kitze

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  26. I love "I love you like crazy cakes" and "Motherbridge of love" We have been home with DD for over three years and both books still bring a tear to my eye.

    Michelle

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  27. Our favorite is "I love you like crazy cakes"....2 daughters from China both 4...one home almost 4 years and the other 2 1/2

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  28. I have several adoption "kid friendly" books....the Chapman Books are great (Shaoey and Dot).....Motherbridge of Love is a special one too. I don't have the 2 you mentioned......

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  29. This looks like a great book! We especially liked Susan Hunt's Finding Jesus in Exodus, which is a devotional for kids, but the family in the devotional story adopts from China during the book.

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  30. I have not read either of these, but we love God Found us for one and motherbridge of love too
    Happy day to you:0)
    Donna

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  31. Our favorites are a Mother for Choco and The Three Names of Me.

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  32. me mei, portraits of a chinese orphanage....it's not really a book but photographs of the children in orphanages. i love how the author/photographer capture them on the pictures, smiling, crying, sad and some just looking at the camera. some pics are heartbreaking but oh, so true and it breaks your heart to see them.

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  33. Wow! We have several books about adoption...we have 5 daughters from China too! I guess our favorite is "I don't have your eyes." We would LOVE to have some new books!

    christiev1@yahoo.com

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  34. Anonymous4/24/2012

    I jusr read an interesting, true story about a six-year-old going back to China for the first time since being adopted at 11 months. It's in the Feb. 2012 issue of "Good Housekeeping." (Passed it on to inpatient hospice without jotting down the title/author.)

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    1. Hey that sounds interesting, I'll try to find it!

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  35. I don't have a lot of children's adoption books. I just have Shoey and Dot which I love and makes me cry when I read it to the kids. These books sounds so cute.

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  36. And I've already liked Kay Bratt's page and Sweet Moon Baby on FB.

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  37. I love good books like these. We have the book, "The Three Names of Me." It is so beautiful too.

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  38. I actually don't have any adoption-themed books in my collection yet, so I don't have anything to recommend. My 1-year-old son was adopted and I'd love to hear all the other commenters' suggestions! I do however plan on making a lifebook for him after reading about yours for the twins... And that's been going great! I'm writing it in a children's storybook style, so it's easy to understand. I hope that will end up being our favorite adoption-themed book! :)

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  39. 'A Mother for Choco' is one of our favourites. Great book!!

    We've read 'Motherbridge of Love' and the pictures are beautiful but she doesn't get the concept yet. But it won't be long.

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  40. Would love to have these for our collection! Our all time favorite book is "Love You Like Crazy Cakes".

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  41. Anonymous4/25/2012

    Our favorite book is 'I Love You Like Crazy Cakes'.
    Pam

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  42. Anonymous4/25/2012

    Liked FB page for Sweet Moon Baby.
    Pam

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  43. Anonymous4/25/2012

    Liked Kay Bratts FB page.
    Pam

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  44. i would like to win these books, but my daughter 5.5 from vietnam, does not like to hear too much about adoption or anything like that, so i try to take her lead and just answer any questions she does have...there may have been 2 adoption related questions in the past 2 years!! i would like to have something like these books handy for when she does start asking though! thanks

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  45. Anonymous4/25/2012

    My daughter and I like the White Swan Express. Specially because we visited the hotel when she was 10, so she now loves the book even more.
    NikkiC.

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  46. Our favorite is always "Love you like Crazycakes". Ryleigh and I have sort of made up our own story to go along with it, adding words along the way that have made it our own!

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  47. I love both of these books! Would love either one for my 5 year old!

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  48. Anonymous4/25/2012

    My favorite adoption book is Little Miss Spider.

    "For finding your mother, there's one certain test. You must look for the creature who loves you the best."

    Even after reading it to DD for three years I still struggle to get those lines.

    We'd love to add these books to our collection!
    Kelly
    kmkaylor99 at yahoo dot com

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  49. We really like I love you like Crazy Cakes. We always changed the words so it was more reflective of Emily's personal story, but she really likes listening to it that way. I'd love to have either of these books in our library!

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  50. We LOVE "A Mother for Choco"! We often replay the scenes from the book in our own way--"But you don't have blue eyes like me, etc."
    "Little Raccoon's Big Question" is a GREAT book while not an adoption book it teaches unconditional love!

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  51. A mother for choco is our # 1 fav. We read it over and over to our sweet Laney (age 3).

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  52. I just found Our Twitchy by Kes Gray and Mary McQuillan at the library. Sweet story about a rabbit that was adopted by a cow and a horse and the discussion that occurred when Twitchy realized that his parents didn't hop like he did. While Twitchy is concerned that he doesn't look at all like his parents, in the end they find a commonality that makes him feel more connected with his family than ever before.
    Perhaps a bit too young for your sophisticated girls, but my youngest (3 1/2) loves it!

    I've also found Through Moon and Stars and Night Skies a useful tool to begin conversations with my older kids about their stories and how they may want to share them with classmates at school.

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  53. By the way, the deleted comment above was me ~ I forgot to log in with the account that has an attached email.
    And I liked the Sweet Moon Baby Facebook page.
    (Not sure how to "subscribe" to Kay Bratt's page).

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  54. Anonymous4/25/2012

    We have a lot of adoption books but really I don't like most of them. I like "Three names of me" and "Rosie's family" the best though. And "Motherbridge of love."

    Jamie S.

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  55. My Daughter loves "Kids Like Me In China". She now wants to return to her orphanage and record her thoughts in a book with photos.

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  56. We don't really have a "favorite" adoption book, so I am happy to read all the suggestions in the comments. The books we have read in our family so far have not quite seemed to fit our situation. Our four-year-old did really connect with the idea that Moses is adopted in the movie, The Prince of Egypt, and that he has two mommies, but then his new Egyptian daddy kills all the baby Hebrew boys by throwing them to the crocodiles, so, eh, that didn't turn out so well for our discussion! heh, heh. But our little girl is one smart cookie, and she generally figures out a "balanced view" on her own. Some of our others, I'm not so sure about! :)

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  57. Two of my favorites, in addition to the others listed, are "A Single Red Thread" (Beautiful pictures and very sweet rendition of being adopted from China), and the other book "I Wished For You" because I'm always telling my sweet pea that I made a wish and she came true!Thanks for sharing all the great books! Kathy

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  58. We don't really have a fav book either but would love to read these..

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  59. Will always LOVE Love you like crazy cakes!!! Tate loves it and thinks it is a story about the two of us.

    LOVE your kitchen!!

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  60. WOW there is A LOT of LOVES in my comment! LOVE IT and Salsa Clan!!!

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  61. I love you like crazy cakes.

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  62. Anonymous4/26/2012

    Our favorite was I Love You Like Crazy Cakes. Fun coincidence was that I worked for a while with (remotely) with the husband of the illustrator. Now his favorite is the one we wrote together, sort of his life book as a document on my phone. I'm going to look into these as I never know what he "gets" or doesn't get until we read something.

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  63. Jamie Lee Curtis's Tell Me Again About The Night I Was Born is a favorite of ours. Shaoey & Dot is another. I Love You Like Crazy Cakes is yet another. My daughter says she doesn't want to have a baby in her belly - she just wants to adopt. I tell her that's fine, but she has LOTS of time to change her mind if she wants to (because she's 5! and she frequently worries about who she'll marry since she can't marry her daddy or her brother & clearly all the good men are already taken- HA!)

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  64. We like Love you Like Crazy Cakes in our house. My daughter has me read it to her a lot. We also love Mei Li and the wise Laoshi as we won that in another give away!!

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  65. Anonymous4/27/2012

    We love Lambaroo.

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  66. We love "Mei Mei Loves The Morning" by Margaret Holloway Tsubakiyama. It is a simple, sweet story of a little girl (living in China)and how she spends each morning with her grandfather (they go to the park to do tai-chi, visit the food vendor, etc). I'll probably continue to read it long after she grows up, just to recapture memories of our fun, cuddle times while enjoying this book together. The artwork is beautiful, too.

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  67. Anonymous4/27/2012

    I Love You Like Crazy Cakes. The illustrations are beautiful.

    Ilene SG

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  68. We love Over the Moon, and Shaoey and Dot but Chloe is not as into adoption themed books as I am, yet, she prefers "Fancy Fancy" aka Fancy Nancy :)

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  69. We love reading the Sesame Street book "We're Different-We're the Same." It's not specifically about adoption, but a great book about diversity. It goes through parts of the body, and points out (for example) that our noses may all look different, but they all do the same things. My 3yo (domestic adoption) likes going through and picking out noses, hair, etc. that look like her as well as her little sister (adopted form Ethiopia).

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  70. We love I Love You Like Crazy Cakes!

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  71. So fun! I just posted on my blog about adoption books for kids. My all time favorite is A MOTHER FOR CHOCO. LOVE that book!

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  72. I desperately want to adopt from China. My heart aches for It. Right now I am reading Adopting without debt.

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  73. And I already like Kay Bratt on Facebook as I have her book "Chasing China" on my kindle app.

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  74. GIVEAWAY ENTRIES ARE CLOSED AS OF 10AM 5/1/12, I AM DRAWING THE WINNER MOMENTARILY. ANY ENTRIES UNDERNEATH THIS COMMENT ARE NOT VALID.

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  75. Anonymous5/05/2012

    I just got 2 new ones that I liked a lot. "Adoption is for Always" and "All About Adoption: How Families are Made and How Kids Feel about it." I recommend both of them.

    Jamie S.

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  76. Anonymous5/06/2012

    Realize that the giveaway is over but I just saw this now and wanted to comment because we have two books that we love that I didn't see mentioned in any of the comments. My daughter is the same age as Ro and Ree and adopted from China around the same time.

    The books are: "Families are Forever" by Craig Shemin and "Forever Fingerprints" by Sherrie Eldridge.

    ~Jana M.

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