I recently participated in a FCCNY book club discussion of The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See. The book revolves around a Chinese adoption story. The author, Lisa See, is not an adoptee, and her limited knowledge of adoption and adoptee identity development was very apparent throughout the book. At the end of the meeting, the adoptive mothers in the group began discussing book possibilities for future meetings. This prompted me to put together a list of adoption reading for anyone considering an adoption themed book club or wanting more information about adoption.
Read this book if you want to think of birth mothers reimagined, a fantastical rags to riches “Cinderella” story, or a beautiful portrayal of scenery and a lesser known culture, not if you are an adoptee looking to identify with Haley, the Chinese adoptee character in the story. While Lisa See tried to do her research, her identity as a non-adopted person shows clearly in the adoptee parts of this book. The use of common adoption tropes and clunky, developmentally-off dialogue made the adoptee passages difficult for me to read or even get excited about until the last chapter.
Every Year On Your Birthday Authors: Rose Lewis, Jane Dyer (Illustrator) Ranking: ★★★★☆ Plot Summary: This is the sequel to I Love You Like Crazy Cakes and is a beautiful narrative […]
Not Quite Narwhal Author and Illustrator: Jessie Sima Ranking: Plot Summary: “Growing up in the ocean, Kelp has always assumed that he was a narwhal like the rest of his family. […]
Emma’s Story Authors: Deborah Hodge, Song Nan Zhang (Illustrator) Rating: ★★☆☆☆ Plot Summary: Emma and her brother are making cookies at their grandma’s house when she notices that she is the […]
Finding Joy Authors: Marion Coste, Yong Chen (Illustrator) Ranking: ★☆☆☆☆ Plot: Finding Joy is about a baby who is abandoned in China and about a Caucasian family who wants another child. […]
Star of the Week Authors: Darlene Friedman, Roger Roth (Illustrator) Rating: ★★★★☆ Plot Summary: Star of the Week is a book recommended for children ages 5 – 9 and is about a little […]
Motherbridge of Love Authors: Xinran Xue, Josée Masse (Illustrator) Ranking: ★★★☆☆ Plot Summary: This book is a short poem, explaining to adopted children that they have two important women who have shaped their lives […]
Shaoey and Dot: Bug Meets Bundle Authors: Mary Beth and Steven Curtis Chapman, Jim Chapman (Illustrator) Ranking: ★☆☆☆☆ Plot Summary: The book is written and illustrated by Shaoey’s family members who have also founded a […]