Tag Archives: Book Review

The Best for You

I received a book from one of my internet colleagues, who happens to part of “the adoption triad.” The Best for You is written in a conversational first voice and from author Kelsey Stewart’s perspective as a birthmother. The Best for You book candidly and warmly speaks to the child who was adopted, answering the questions I have heard my children ask: “Why didn’t she keep me? and “Did she love me?”

I can’t tell you how delighted I was when Aubry sauntered by the kitchen counter and saw the book, backing up to pick it up and ask, “Can I read this?”

This is my child who has felt so much grief.  “Sure, honey,” I said.

The Best for You is written and illustrated for younger children (ages 4-7), but it has merit for the older child as well. Aubry was drawn in by Stewart’s wonderful illustrations. I love the positive message.

My bibliophilic daughter read the story quickly and then went through it more slowly the second time, pausing over the illustrations, touching them and absorbing the message. Aubry’s response? “It’s very good, Mama. She loved her baby and made her choice for her baby. You know, that’s what my birthmother did.”

For those of you, who have adopted, consider ordering a copy. And for those of you who know of someone who has adopted or is in the process, The Best for You will make a wonderful gift. Find out more here.

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Filed under Adoption Issues, Adoptive Mom's Perspective, Growing Tweens & Teens, Identity, International Adoption, Multicultural Families, The International Mom

Pieces of Me

Pieces of Me 4November is National Adoption Month.  EMK Press, an adoption publisher, is releasing their newest title, Pieces of Me: Who Do I Want to Be? Voices for and by adopted teens, edited Robert L. “Bert” Ballard.

I recently read Pieces of Me and can’t wait to receive my copy. It’s a timely andpuzzle pieces much-needed book for adoptive parents and adopted teens going though the discovery process –  of finding, understanding and embracing who they are. 

Pieces of Me is divided into five sections,created around the idea of putting a puzzle together:  gathering the pieces, stolen pieces, fitting the pieces, sharing the pieces, and where do these pieces go? Artwork and rich graphics draw teens in. 

Contributors range from ages eleven to sixty-three. The voices of birth parents, adoptive parents and adoption professionals are loud and clear. Through poems, stories, songs, quotes, activities, art, and provocative questions Pieces of Me offers hope, healing and help for the adopted teen. I know it will be a terrific resource to help me with my children as they navigate their journeys to finding themselves.

“I tell you this story because
for too many years,
people have told my stories for me.
I am ready to speak for myself.
So where do I begin?”
Juli Jeong Martin,
transnational/transracial adoptee (Pieces of Me, page v)

Here is an excerpt from my interview with Bert Ballard, the editor of Pieces of Me:

Bert2Where did the idea for Pieces of Me come from? Why now?

Pieces of Me began about 3 years ago with Sheena Macrae and Carrie Kitze, both adoptive parents and editors/authors at EMK Press. (Carrie’s also the publisher.) The idea was to put together a book similar to Adoption Toolkit with lots of different contributors and perspectives built on the theme of “What my parents couldn’t tell me.” I was involved in the initial planning phases at that time.

As development for the project evolved, it was realized that there were a lot of topics that needed addressing. It was also realized that no matter how talented Sheena and Carrie are (and they are VERY talented), as adoptive parents, they could only take it so far. This was a very important lesson to come out of the development of this book, the realization that adoptive parents cannot be and cannot do everything, that there are some places they cannot go.

Adoptive parents are no doubt very important in the life and development of the adopted child, but there are some things and some places that the parents can’t go, like into the world and experiences of the adoptee. There are some things outside of the parents’ control – and that is a good thing! A parent’s role is to love, support, encourage, and care; it is not to fix, heal, or put the pieces together. Ultimately, that is left up to the adoptee.

Given this important realization, I, as an adopted person (and a willing person) was asked to take over the editorial duties, and the decision has proven to be fun, challenging, and a growing experience.

As for why now, well, it was just a project I really felt I wanted to be a part of, and I’m glad I did. I had finished graduate school when I started the project and the timing felt right.

Pieces of Me: Who Do I Want to Be? focuses on the teen reader,  but every adoptive parent needs to have a copy. The book will make you smile and laugh. It will make you ache and cry; it will also give you perspective, make you think. Pieces of Me can be ordered here.

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Filed under Adopted Teens, Adoption Issues, The International Mom, Writing

Connecting Through Books – Book by Book: The Complete Guide to Creating Mother-Daughter Book Clubs by Cindy Hudson

Are you looking for another way to connect with your daughter? (I am.) Mother-daughter relationships evolve as girls grow older. My girls are nearing the teen years, that time in their life when they will begin to pull away seeking theirbookbybook_rev identity and independence. My role is to continue to provide guidance without turning them off. To keep the communication channels open.

What about a mother-daughter book club? A mother-daughter book club helps to fill that need.

I recently finished reading the wonderful Book by Book: The Complete Guide to Creating Mother-Daughter Book Clubs by Cindy Hudson. As girls grow older, mother-daughter book clubs provide wonderful environments to discuss current, complex, germane, and sensitive issues within the context of discussing the book. Cindy feels that the benefits of a mother-daughter book club include the following:

  • Enhancing your daughter’s reading skills
  • Staying connected with your daughter as she grows
  • Nurturing your daughter’s self-confidence
  • Helping your daughter learn life skills
  • Spending social time with other moms/girls
  • Building a community of caring friends  
Cindy Hudson with her daughters Catherine and Madeleine. Photo by Jill Greenseth.

Cindy Hudson with her daughters Catherine and Madeleine. Photo by Jill Greenseth.

Cindy’s practical and well-written Book by Book, based on her firsthand experience as the founder of two long-running successful mother-daughter book clubs, is great how-to guide for establishing and then keeping mother-daughter book club going. For years, Cindy along with her two daughters, Catherine and Madeleine, has participated in book clubs that have encouraged maturity and poise in her daughters as well as bonded them tightly through being able to discuss a wide range of topics in a safe environment. Hudson has taken her years of experience as a mother, writer, book club organizer, and participant and written a fantastic how-to for mother interested in creating book clubs for their daughters and themselves.

From my interview with Cindy:

How do mother-daughter book clubs benefit girls, mothers, and their relationship with one another?

I could talk all day about this, because moms and daughters both benefit in so many ways. But here are a few of the most important benefits:

  • When you’re in a mother-daughter book club together you carve out time just for the two of you with no siblings or spouse/other parent to focus on. You’re saying to your daughter that she’s important enough for you to set aside time for her alone.
  •  Books give you an entrée to talk about important issues in life. It’s an excellent way to let your daughter know your values and beliefs without seeming to preach specifically to her. And it lets you bring up topics that may otherwise be difficult or embarrassing to talk about, like having sex with a boyfriend, drinking alcohol at parties, date rape…the list of topics goes on and on. Of course, you won’t start out with heavy issues like these when she’s nine. Instead you’ll grow into them as she grows older.
  • Sharing your opinions in a mother-daughter book club discussion can also help both of you hone your speaking skills. It’s a safe place to practice forming your opinion, learning how to articulate it well, and defending what you believe when others disagree. You can also learn how to be swayed when others present a convincing argument of their own thoughts. Those are life skills that most of us can practice no matter our age.

Where do I find reliable information for choosing age-appropriate books?

You can start with the children’s librarian at your local public library, or talk to the librarian at your daughter’s school. She will likely have lots of good titles to suggest for you. You can also approach your favorite bookseller. Often you’ll find employee book reviews and recommendations there. I list 100 books divided into four age groups in Book by Book. I also note age recommendations for the books I review on my blog.

Visit Cindy online at http://www.motherdaughterbookclub.com/.

You can order your copy of  Book by Book: The Complete Guide to Creating Mother-Daughter Book Clubs here or at your local bookseller.

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Filed under Parenting, The International Mom, Writing