I’m a book lover. (Hence my blog banner.) Worked in my local library while in high school. (Also worked in a Baskin Robbins, but that’s another story about another love.) In college, I was an English major, with a focus on writing and Shakespeare, and by day I managed a quaint children’s bookstore that had a big old Elm tree in the back corner for storytimes. I loved watching the wide-eyed wonder of the children as they sat, knees nestled in their arms, under that tree listening to every word, gazing at every image. Sometimes we had authors come in and read their books to the kids. No matter who was doing the reading, or who was in line to buy a book, or who was crouched in a corner somewhere finding adventure with every turn of a page, it was a wonderful place for me to be each day.
When it was time for my senior thesis, naturally I selected children’s books as a starting point. Before I knew it, my focus was The Wizard of Oz and my mission was to uncover any possible threads of feminism within the story. I had a fabulous time.
Many years later, when loved ones threw a baby shower after Maeve’s arrival, they included in each invitation (which was a stamped and shipped baby bottle with a poem inside detailing her arrival and party) a note that in lieu of greeting cards a book might be a welcome gift for Maeve, whose mother’s love for books surely will be passed on to her.
Having a bookcase full of books — lovingly chosen and signed by the attendees — for my infant daughter was a terrific surprise and one of the most wonderful gifts that came from that day. Of course, I also had many books set aside from my days at the bookstore. I’d purchased them then knowing I would want them within my arms’ reach once I became a mother.
Obviously, having good books on adoption also within arms’ reach is a no-brainer for me. And we do have several. There are others, that I love, but are years ahead of Maeve at this point and I know we will add those in the future. When I first really began collecting books on adoption with my daughter in mind, I found myself staying away from those that didn’t somehow relate to her own story, those that weren’t domestic adoptions with a bi-racial component. I began to realize, though, that my job isn’t just to tell her about adoptions similar to hers (although I believe those will be comforting), but to show her the diversity within adoption itself, and how so many children from so many backgrounds and interesting places — with their own interesting stories — are touched by adoption.
And so I began to go back to those books I had poo-pooed because, perhaps, they were international, or because the birth mother’s situation wasn’t similar to my own daughter’s birth mother. I now believe that showing her the tapestry woven by adoption, with all its nuances, complexities and most beautiful threads, is how I want to ensure she sees the depth and breadth of adoption in our world.
So, rather than list the books I read to her now and plan to read to her in the future — the books on adoption that I am most touched by — I would first like to see what you are reading to your little and not-so-little ones. I will add my books to the list we compile as well, but rather than get anyone thinking in one direction over another, I’d like you to go first.
Please comment with your choices, including as much information as possible, and feel free to detail what you love or like or what you wish you could change — even what you wish existed. If a book you wanted to mention is already listed, please list it anyway so a sense of preference naturally develops. And if you comment, then remember something later, just comment again! If you know of someone else you’d like to participate but you don’t know if they ever land here at musings:mamahood&more, send ’em on over or even get their recommendations and log them yourself. This is about crafting a comprehensive list of adoption books that we read, we love, and we want to share.
Once a list begins to form, I’ll make it a page here on musings:mamahood&more and hope it continues to be fluid and grow. I’m happy to include your blog link with books you recommended and you’re more than welcome to link to the future page if that suits your fancy. What a tremendous resource this could be for folks setting out on a search, as well as those of us looking to add to our collection and freshen up our kids’ reading repertoire.
With the Dr. Seuss Read Across America challenge over (and Maeve, her dad and I logging 78 reads during those seven days) I guess I’m hungry for more. And keeping it narrowed to adoption themes, with stories we love, seems like a natural choice.
So, that said, whatchya reading?