I ordered some books on Amazon. Maybe I ordered a lot of books. And maybe, just maybe there are still a lot more books I am planning on getting. I wanted to gather some children’s books that have Korean characters in them, and I wanted some books that deal with adoption themes that children could understand. I spent an afternoon on Amazon browsing books, checking other people’s recommendations, reading reviews and (let’s just be honest here) crying tons of tears as I read excerpts from some of the books. Here is what I ended up with. I am VERY PLEASED so far!!These 4 books deal more with Korean culture and have Korean characters. This Next New Year‘s main character is a half-Korean boy who explains how he celebrates the Lunar New Year. The Firekeeper’s Son is set in 19th century Korea and teaches about an old Korean tradition. Dear Juno is a book about a Korean boy in America who receives letters from his grandmother in Seoul that his parents must translate for him. Bee-Bim Bop is a cheerful and fun book about a family making Bee-bim bop (a traditional Korean meal). It comes complete with a recipe for the dish and how your children can help in the preparation of the meal.
These next 2 books are neither Korea-themed nor adoption-themed, but are more about the fact that people come in all shapes, sizes, packages, colors, etc, and that’s okay. Whoever You Are has great illustrations of children all over the world and We’re Different, We’re the Same talks more about how people have different eyes but they are all used for seeing, etc. Very cute books.
These next five are all adoption-themed and can be tear jerkers if you are a sap like me. The ones in this group that deal with birth mother issues do so gracefully and respectfully. I Don’t Have Your Eyes could just as easily have gone in the previous group but it is specifically about a child noticing that he/she doesn’t look like his parents….”I don’t have your eyes, but I have your way of looking at things”. Very sweet book. We See the Moon is full of gorgeous Chinese art and questions many adopted children would like to ask their birth parents. A Mother for Choco is a sweet book about a bird who is looking for a mother who looks like him. He learns of course that a mother doesn’t have to look like you to love you and care for you and be a part of your family. I Wished for You is one that I don’t know if I’ll ever get through without sobbing. Little Barley Bear is asking his Mama all sorts of questions regarding how he came to be her son. It is a beautiful explanation of adoption. Through Moon and Stars and Night Skies begins with “Let me tell the story this time, Momma. Let me tell how I came to you.” And a little boy tells the story of how his parents came from far away to get him and bring him home. Seems to be a story of an older child adoption since the boy references getting pictures of his parents and his new house, and vividly remembering his feelings upon arriving at his new home.
Ten Days and Nine Nights is a real treasure because it is more of a book for Isaac to read about us bringing Matthew home. It is the story of a young girl whose mother leaves for Korea (for 10 days and 9 nights) to bring home a baby sister. Very sweet book and will help Isaac on the “countdown” when we go to Korea.These next three are supposedly very popular children’s books in South Korea. They have been translated into English and they are so cute and fun. The illustrations are gorgeous. Since Matthew is older, I got them on the off-chance that they will be familiar to him and we will be able to read them to him in English. My Cat Copies Me is about a little girl who copies her cat and the cat copies her. While We Were Out is about a rabbit who sneaks into a family’s apartment while they are out and eats their food, and plays with everything there. Very, very cute and funny. The Zoo is about a family trip to the zoo. The little girl is in pursuit of a peacock and is having a wonderful time, but her parents can’t find her and get concerned.
These last two are very special. When You Were Born in Korea is a very, very informative and detailed book that explains what a child’s life was like in Korea before they came to be adopted. It goes over things about their birth mother, the baby home (actual pictures of Eastern Baby Home where Matthew lived for a short time), how they were placed with their foster family, etc. A great learning experience for adults as well!!! This last one is one that I will not be sharing with Matthew for a number of years. I Wish for You a Beautiful Life is a collection of letters from birth mothers in Korea written to their children. Again, another educational piece for adults. I haven’t made it too far in, because as you can imagine, it is an emotional read. But I think it will be a valuable discussion piece as Matthew gets older and has questions. It is very insightful as to why these women made their decisions.
This last one doesn’t really go in any category, but does relate to Matthew. When we had our international adoption doctor go over his medical files, she recommended this book to me. The Brain that Changes Itself is part science book (good for the nerd in me) and partly stories of personal triumph. It discusses how the medical community began to discover the plasticity of the brain and realize that just because an area has been damaged, there are ways to re-train the brain and strengthen the damaged areas. Inspiring and hopeful especially to us as we wait to see what kinds of ways Matthew’s schizencephaly will affect his life and learning…..and what we can do to help. Let’s just say it’s the first book I’ve read with a highlighter in hand in quite a while!
So now I turn to other adoptive parents out there. What books can you recommend to me…..about adoption, about Korea, heck even about the brain? I’m all ears!