Monday, April 13, 2009

Book Notes

* At Resist Racism, a critical comment on Grace Lin's The Red Thread: An Adoption Fairy Tale.

* From, Sun Yung Shin is "Seeking Out True Reflections of Race and Culture in Children's Books:"
As an adoptee author, I very much want to write a children’s book about an adoptee protagonist in which she or he struggles with the facts and nature of her or his adoption. It’s a topic - or network of topics - that does not lend itself to simple plotlines or, for me, at least, happy endings. Adoption is a not an issue that the adoptee can "solve." There are sub-issues that can be better and more directly addressed by the adoptee him/herself - ways that the he/she can take charge and transform situations, to some degree. However, as parents are the main purchasers of books, it follows that most adoptive parents don’t want to read a book that focuses on the grief of the adoptee, the grief of the birth parent, the imbalance of power and resources that is often the case between birth parent(s) and adoptive parents - especially in the case of transnational adoptions, and often in the case of transracial adoptions.

Most children’s books about adoption that I have read focus on the choice of the adoptive mother, and how the adoptee and the adoptive parents are “meant to be together,” which implies that the child and the birth family are not meant to be together. This logic, while soothing to adoptive families and to the child as a young one, grows thin and problematic as the child moves into adulthood.
*Here's a video snippet about Mei-Ling Hopgood's Lucky Girl -- my copy is on order!


Holly said...

Lucky Girl looks great....I'm over to order it right now.
Would love to see more books from that point of view. So SO tired of the usual, "we choose you" adoption books.

AlisonG said...

We received "The Red Thread" as a gift (from another adoptive family! I was surprised) and had to get rid of it. It's clearly problematic in the way it focuses on the parents' experience, dismisses the birth country and completely ignores the child's birth parents, not to mention appropriating the red thread metaphor.

I was dismayed to see the book had very high customer reviews at, so I added my thoughts there.

Wendy said...

On order, thanks for letting me know about it. I have not read, and do not plan to, The Red Thread, but I wanted to add that when I ordered Lucky Girl it offered/recommended me Red Thread at the end! Yikes. One book that sounds great and one that shouldn't be available.

Mei-Ling said...

"This logic, while soothing to adoptive families and to the child as a young one, grows thin and problematic as the child moves into adulthood."

Yeah, I used to believe in the Red Thread Theory. Until about a year ago, when the paradox of such a statement hit me full in the face.