Hey everyone! It’s Multicultural Children’s Book Day, and in honor of that, I will be posting what I think is my FIRST EVER picture book review. First, though, I’d like to sincerely thank all the organizers of MCCBD, especially Mia Wenjen (Pragmatic Mom) and Becky Flansburg. This has been a fun and well-organized online event, and it is a GREAT cause—promoting multicultural books for kids. I also want to thank Author Sponsor for MCCBD2016 and co-founder of GIFT Family Services, Gayle Swift, the author of ABC, Adoption & Me: A Multicultural Picture Book for kindly providing me with an ebook review copy.

Summary: Cross-cultural and transracial adoption is a great topic for a children’s book, and families who have chosen to be open about adoption from the very beginning will be pleased to see an addition to the small but growing shelf of books for young children that address this topic. It’s something that we as a society are increasingly aware of—and yet there is shockingly little statistical information available. According to ChildWelfare.gov, a program of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services:

“There are no national statistics on the number of children who are living in transracial adoptions; that is, children who are living in an adoptive family in which they differ from at least one of their adoptive parents in terms of racial/ethnic characteristics. In statistics drawn from FY 2000–2004, about 28 percent of the children placed with public agency involvement were placed transracially, as defined above. Many intercountry adoptions are also transracial adoptions.”

I was floored to read this, considering how many people I have known throughout my life from families with transracial or transnational adoptees. As we know, though, kids need books in which they can see their own situation reflected. ABC, Adoption & Me provides families with very young children that mirror in which they can see their own family as part of the varied spectrum of happy, loving families.

Peaks: The cute, happy cartoon illustrations by Paul Griffin put a smile on my face. There is a wonderful variety of families and children depicted in this book, in various permutations of race and ethnicity. At the same time that it shows adoptive families as normal, happy families, though, the great thing about this title is that it also gives kids and parents the opportunity to talk about adoption and encourages kids to ask questions and feel whatever it is they feel, positive or negative. For instance: “Q is for questions. It’s OK to have questions about what being adopted means.” Some pages have simple and clearly worded facts about adoption and adoption-related terminology (e.g., birth parents, open adoptions) while others provide affirmations that it’s OK to miss your birth parents or wonder about who you will look like when you grow up.

Valleys: I had a few quibbles with the design/layout of some of the pages, but the fact is, the strength of this book lies in the chance it provides families to talk and laugh together, and address a topic that can be very difficult to bring up. Adoption in general can be an uncomfortable discussion for families, let alone the specific questions that come up in regard to transracial or cross-cultural adoption. This book addresses many of these questions, and provides helpful strategies for parents who are wondering how they might use the book as a discussion tool and a way to bring their family together.

Conclusion: It’s no surprise this book has won various awards and accolades (see the author’s website here). You can find it on Amazon, where it has earned an impressive 5 stars, and you can view the rest of the wonderful MCCBD blog reviews over at the #ReadYourWorld linky.

About the author

Sarah Jamila Stevenson is a writer, artist, editor, graphic designer, proofreader, and localization QA tester, so she wears a teetering pile of hats. On any given day, she is very tired. She is the author of the middle grade graphic novel Alexis vs. Summer Vacation, and three YA novels, including the award-winning The Latte Rebellion.

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