Thursday, January 21, 2010

One of THOSE Books

Each Thursday a parent reads in Maya's kindergarden class. I'm doing it today as a last-minute fill-in, and Maya was very excited to hear it when I told her this morning. When we went to look at books to decide what to read, she said, "But you can't read one of those books, like Chinese Eyes or on being 'different.'" (she didn't actually do air quotes when she said different, but with her tone of voice she might as well have!). With more discussion, it was revealed that "those books" included anything China-related or adoption-related!

My girls are just so different (wouldn't Maya hate that!) -- Zoe loves it when I read one of "those books" to her class. She can't wait for me to come to her class to talk about adoption, and is really looking forward to Chinese New Year so we can do our annual talk in her class. Today her class is having a talent show (just a little one in the classroom, no parents invited!), and Zoe has decided that her talent will be writing Chinese characters on the board!

Maya, on the other hand, doesn't think being different is all that great. She wants a daddy, like just about everyone else she knows has. She's avoidant when it comes to talking about adoption, because if we talk about it, she has to think about being different. And while she knows she's Chinese, she'd rather no one else know.

So Maya and I look through some books, and she picks a lovely little book illustrating Robert Frost's poem, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening." (She doesn't get that very few kindergartners would pick that book, making her very different!) After looking at Todd Parr's It's OK to be Different, she agrees I can read it (yes!). I think Maya needs to hear it more than her classmates do.

And so long as it isn't one of those books, about China or adoption or being different, I can pick a book to surprise her!


a Tonggu Momma said...

We have this book and love it! I especially love the "two mommies" and "two daddies" page because it's vague, yet fits well with so many different scenarios: stepparents, lesbians and gays, adoptive and first parents. And - my personal opinion - is that's it's ALWAYS okay to eat macaroni and cheese, no matter where you are.

Anonymous said...

My 7 yr old's teacher keeps asking her to do research projects to present to the class. I suggested for the latest one that she could do a presentation about China, but she doesn't want to. "mo-om, everyone *knows* I'm from China. I've already told them that." I don't know if she really doesn't want to put a spotlight on the fact that she was born in China and is Chinese, or whether she just feels like it is such yesterday's news that there's no point in discussing it.

mama d said...

love, Love, LOVE Todd Parr's books ... except the one on adoption (go figure). The Blonde's first TVI (teacher for the visually impaired) gave her /The Little Cupcakes/ by Anthony King ( as a "graduation" present. It gets a bit preachy, but it does talk about "difference" in a global way without once mentioning adoption or China!

Mama King said...

Right now my 4 year old is excited about me coming in to read one of "those" books to her class. I have read A Mother for Choco in the past. The author says it wasn't intended to be about adoption but I mean how can it not be? I highly recommend it.

Diane said...

My youngest read this to me tonight. Love to listen to my little reader! I asked her what was her favorite part and she answered- The part about the moms being different. I didn't ask her to should have! Oh, those missed opportunities to listen to our children's perspective.