Sunday, May 20, 2007

Unfortunate stories

Today it's raining so I decided to dive into starting to organize the nursery. I pulled out the picture books I've saved over the years. Some I've had since childhood, and others I've acquired in the years since (I love beautifully illustrated story books!). Of course, I couldn't just pull them out and plop them on the shelf - I sat and read through a few that I didn't remember for fun.

I was absolutely loving the beginning of the Enchanter's Daughter, and the illustrations are truly gorgeous. By the end, however, I was horrified. A girl's search for her identity and her mother led her to discover that she'd been stolen by a rich enchanter after her poverty-stricken mother refused to sell her! What an unfortunate end to a story that could have been poignant and uplifting (I was thinking the girl should have discovered that her mother, unable to parent due to circumstance, had chosen an adoptive home for her, loved her always, and they could have developed a special relationship). The most confusing thing about this story is that it's dedicated to "Gemma Thi-Phi-Yen who flew halfway across the world to be my daughter.". . .so the author was the mother of a little girl adopted internationally!

Next, I pulled out The Rainbabies, which was recommended by a reader in this month's edition of Adoptive Families magazine. Ordinarily, I like AF quite a bit, but I don't think the staff at AF read this book before they published the readers praise for it. An older couple longs for a child and finds 12 tiny "rainbabies" that fell from the sky to their lawn one night. The couple cares for them and rescues them from several awful situations including drowning, fire, and wild animals. A stranger tries to buy the rainbabies, but the couple refuses. The stranger magically turns into "Mother Moonshower" (looking like a faerie princess) and congratulates the couple on protecting her rainbabies from harm and thanks then for cherishing them. She takes the rainbabies back, but leaves a human child in their place. Their new daughter is loved and the ending is happy. While it's a nice little fairy tale, adopted children are not placed by magical faeries, and I think this book would be confusing to a young adoptee.

There are so many good books on adoption for kids - books that don't deny the existence of birth parents or make adoptive parents out to be evil adults who steal them away from their "real" families... I just don't happen to own any. I don't think I'm being too sensitive? I'm going to get rid of these and restock my library.



Hannah said...

I like the books about Miss Spider (Sunny Patch kids). It's about adoption without really being about adoption. It's series and the first one explains how Miss Spider's mother came to be Betty Beetle. The following books explain how Miss Spider herself becomes the mother of many little bugs. I can't remember the author but you can find them through a search.

Robin and Kyle said...

Thanks for the recommendation. I can't wait to visit a bookstore and spend time in the kid section!

Gator said...

If you find any good picture books, please let me know! I spent a lot of time in Seattle this past week digging through the picture book section of UW's bookstore, and was thoroughly dissapointed by the staff picks. One of their favorites was called "17 Things I'm Not Allowed To Do Anymore." I really liked the beginning, which was about a girl who gets "ideas" to do things and then is banned from doing them again, but it ends with the girl lying to her mother about being sorry for the things she's done and then learning the lesson that that's something she is allowed to do from then on. Who came up with that ending? I think some children's book authors are seriously lacking in brain power. Good luck with the book search and keep me posted. - Little Pickle