Thursday, February 08, 2007

Bringing Asha Home and Kimchi & Calamari

Two excellent new books about adoption

Uma Krishnaswami's picture book, Bringing Asha Home (Lee & Low, September 2006), illustrated by Jamel Akib, provides an alternative answer to the "where do babies come from?" question. Eight-year-old Arun longs to celebrate the wonderful brother-sister holiday of Rakhi, but must wait months before Asha arrives from India. A perfect choice for a parent who wants to introduce the process of adoption to an older sibling, this book will also spark a re-telling of a family's own impatient waiting for a child. Teachers can use it to explore the concept of waiting for good things in general -- like spring, festival days, and babies, adopted or biological. I especially appreciated that neither text nor pictures make a fuss about the fact that the family is interracial. This makes Bringing Asha Home a prototype of a new generation of picture books where multiculturalism is celebrated but not allowed to commandeer the plot. For more reviews, visit Big A little a, the Asian Reporter, PaperTigers, or Cynsations. (Note: this book was sent to me by the publisher.)


A forthcoming middle reader by a member of the Class of 2k7, Rose Kent, Kimchi & Calamari (HarperCollins, April 2007) also features a multiracial family as a secondary theme. This funny, touching story is a coming-of-age tale told in first person by a main character that boys -- and girls -- are going to love. I can already hear them clamoring for a sequel. A delightful supporting cast of characters, a strong voice, and an honest exploration of adoption and ethnic identity from a fourteen-year-old's perspective make this a five-star book for kids between cultures. My only fear is that the cover might serve as a roadblock instead of a lure, especially for young guy readers -- could somebody at HarperCollins please explain the reasoning behind it? For more, read Chicken Spaghetti's take or a review from A Year of Reading. (Note: this book was sent to me by the author's daughter, who is serving as her publicist.)

6 comments:

Susan said...

Mitali, do you think that the food on the cover of Kimchi & Calamari would make more girls than boys want to pick it up?

I was just at the local Barnes & Noble and found Rickshaw Girl face out in the new books area in the kids' section. Great placement! I bought two! One for me and one for a friend.

Anonymous said...

mommi did u find the book clamari
from zippewroonki

he he he unceal is sleeping i bitted his ear

from zipperwroonski

Mitali Perkins said...

Susan,

I'm just sad because the protagonist is such a great guy character -- I'd love to have seen a rendition of him on the cover ... that would lure boy readers more than a bowl of ... is that chicken spaghetti?

Mitali

Mitali Perkins said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mitali Perkins said...

And for those of you wondering, Zipperwroonski is my lab puppy and he is fully cyber-conversant, obviously ...

Also, Rose informs me that her daughter is no longer serving as her publicist ... she has found a real job. But I thought getting her daughter's note along with the book was so sweet, I'm leaving it in the original post.

Susan said...

Mitali, you're right--Joseph IS a great guy character. I think kids are going to love Rose Kent's novel.