Thicker than Water: True Family Ties

November 7th, 2007

Soup du Jour:

Today, in honour of Adoption Awareness Month, we look at a “clump” of four books that invite us to stop and think about our own ideas of family and to share those thoughts with the little people who have made our families possible.

We Belong TogetherIngredients (books discussed):

Suggested Side Dishes (related books):

You can find more information about adoption at Moonrattles, an online community for tweens touched by adoption and fostering.Jump into Today’s Soup (feedback): Join the conversation by clicking the Comments link below or sending an email to justonemorebook@gmail.com.

The Red Thread: An Adoption Fairy TaleSecond Helpings (transcript of podcast):

My first little sister died at birth. I was 2. She lived less than 2 hours. Our world came crashing down. But it was the 1960’s and within a year, my parents were able to adopt a beautiful newborn baby girl: a sister for me and as much a part of the family as any of us.

When our little brother was eventually born and we were all old enough to torment each other, the rules of combat were clearly defined by our parents: David and I were NEVER to use Linda’s adoption as a weapon against her and Linda was free to remind us as often as she liked that:

  • Linda cost $7, David and I were free;
  • Linda was chosen, we were not; and
  • Linda’s mother was likely “The Queen”.

And that was that.

Maybe our parents didn’t “get” the concept of family. Maybe they didn’t know how to articulate it. Or maybe they just never stopped to think about family: what it meant to us, and what it meant to them. I’m hoping not to repeat the mistake.

I believe stopping to think is important. I believe that taking the time to explain, explore and celebrate the things that matter to us not only helps our children understand their place in the world but helps us as adults to decide — or remember — what’s important to us, where we all fit and reminds us to act accordingly.

Today, in honour of Adoption Awareness Month, we look at a “clump” of four books that invite us to stop and think about our own ideas of family and to share those thoughts with the little people who have made our families possible.

We Belong TogetherWe Belong Together (Todd Parr; 2007 Little, Brown and Company) explains, in extremely simple words and equally simple, boldly coloured pictures, why adults choose to share their lives with children. This refreshingly straightforward book is aimed at adoptive families but the simply stated reasons apply to any adult who has chosen to be part of a family. For me, this is an important book because, when the house is untidy, filled with bickering or just plain busy, it never hurts to be reminded of why we’re here.
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The Not-So-Only Child

The Not-So-Only Child (Heather Jopling illustrated by Lauren Page Russell; 2006 Nickname Press) is a celebration of the many flavours of family. Full of anecdotes and eccentricities that curious children love and based on the actual family of its author, this wonderfully specific book describes the large and diverse family of a so-called “Only child” and reminds us that a family is not defined by the number, gender or source of its individuals but by the caring and commitment that connects them.
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The Red Thread: An Adoption Fairy TaleThe Red Thread (Grace Lin; 2007 Albert Whitman & Company.) presents, in the form of an engaging fairy tale, a keen visual metaphor for the invincible nature of true family ties. While the yearning parents in this adventure find the child they are drawn to in a small Asian village, the tangible parental bond illustrated in this beautiful story clearly applies to all loving families and, I believe, communicates much more effectively the love of a parent for a child than many of the standbies we’ve relied upon in the past.
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Mommy, Was Your Tummy Big?Mommy, Was Your Tummy Big? (Carolina Nadel; 2007 Moonkind Press) relays a reassuring exchange between a mother and child. In this case, the yearning parents are elephants who are united with their child through the dexterity of a doctor and a generous donor but the larger messages are clear: we longed for you, you are loved, we’re glad you’re here.

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As Todd Parr reminds us at the close of We Belong Together, “There are lots of different ways to make a family. It just takes love.”

Thanks for listening. I’m Andrea Ross from the Just One More Book! Podcast and we’ve been Swimming in Literary Soup.

 
icon for podpress  Thicker than Water: True Family Ties [4:58m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download (2061)

6 Comments »

  1. Dive In! Swimming In Literary Soup talks Family says

    [...] Today, in honour of Adoption Awareness Month, Swimming In Literary Soup looks at a “clump” of four books that invite us to stop and think about our own ideas of family and to share those thoughts with the little people who have made our families possible. [...]

    November 7th, 2007 | #

  2. andrea says

    You can find more great books about adoption on Chicken Spaghetti

    November 10th, 2007 | #

  3. » Blog Archive » Books at Bedtime: The Ties of Love – Picture Books about Adoption says

    [...] For more books featuring adoption, check out Rose Kent’s great Personal View on the PaperTigers main website: “Three Cheers For Adoption Books – And Why We All Should Read ‘Em”, with her recommendations for children of all ages. Chicken Spaghetti has put together a list of books for National Adoption month, as has Andrea Ross in her revealing podcast Thicker than Water: True Family Ties for Swimming in Literary Soup. [...]

    November 25th, 2007 | #

  4. Whitney says

    I went back and listened to this today- You are such an amazing person, Andrea. At some point, we need to find a fun project to do together- show segments, I have no idea what exactly, but I think you are simply amazing, and I don’t tell you nearly often enough.

    February 8th, 2008 | #

  5. Parenting Articles says

    Great compilation of family books. I have the We Belong Together book a friend gave it to me because she knows that I’m planning to adopt a child.
    With or without that book I can be a good parent to my adoptive child…that’s what I thought..but when open and read it I just realized that I still have a lot to learn.

    -Jan

    April 11th, 2008 | #

  6. A Caring Countdown: Ten Days and Nine Nights (An Adoption Story) says

    [...] Thicker than Water on SILS [...]

    August 19th, 2009 | #

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