Illustrated by: Young Chen
Published by: Boyds Mills Press
Ages: 6 and up
Theme: multicultural, adoption, family
Opening Lines: When Shu-Li was born, her mother and father cried. They wrapped her in a soft red blanket for luck and took her into town. They laid her tenderly on the ground beneath a bridge and left her there. On the red blanket, they pinned a note; This is our Shu-Li. Please take care of her. No room for girls.
Synopsis: Shu-Li’s parents were saddened when she was born and as they wanted a boy. In China they can have only one child. They left her in a public place so she could be found and looked after. She is taken to an orphanage and cared for. Over in America a family considers adopting a child from China and the mother flies to China to bring home the little girl. Although she worries about how the little girl will fit in, it is soon apparent that she is now cared for in a loving family environment. Eventually, one day she will tell the little girl, now named Joy, about the red blanket and where she came from, and how she came to live in America.
Why I like this: A beautifully written story of adoption, tenderly told in very few sentences across two page spreads of colourful paintings. While the story starts off sad, the detailed expressions by the illustrator Young Chen, cleverly show the delight, genuine love, and tenderness toward Joy, and the little girl’s dimpled laughter reflecting her happiness. It’s a sweet story based on fact with an author’s note on the last page, neatly gives the background on why this is a common theme still happening today. Author, Marion Coste has carefully chosen her words to tell the story combining multi-culture and adoption themes. Read at home or in school this would certainly be educational, opening the door for children to ask questions and learn about life in other countries.
Resources/Findings: The authors website .. http://marioncoste.com/About_Me.html
On Yong Chen’s website are beautiful watercolours of some of the illustrations for this book…. http://www.yongchen.com/findingjoy.htm
Kids learning about different cultures…. http://simplekids.net/8-ways-to-help-your-children-respect-other-cultures/
Adoptive Family Circles is full of blogs and websites learning about adoption, families…etc.. http://www.adoptivefamiliescircle.com/blogs/category_archives/category/multicultural_adoption/
For more books with resources please head on over and visit the lovely author Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books. Her blog is full of resources links and activities associated with the books reviewed by many authors.