Emma's Story

Overview

When Emma sets out to make a cookie family with her Grandma, the happy afternoon suddenly turns sad. The cookies are meant to look like her family, but hers is the only one with licorice hair and eyes. She doesn’t look like the others; does that mean she doesn’t belong?

In gentle text, Deborah Hodge tells the story of one small girl’s adoption: the hopes and prayers of her Canadian parents, their trip to the other side of the world, their ...

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Overview

When Emma sets out to make a cookie family with her Grandma, the happy afternoon suddenly turns sad. The cookies are meant to look like her family, but hers is the only one with licorice hair and eyes. She doesn’t look like the others; does that mean she doesn’t belong?

In gentle text, Deborah Hodge tells the story of one small girl’s adoption: the hopes and prayers of her Canadian parents, their trip to the other side of the world, their meeting with the new baby, and the very long ride home to the new family waiting for Emma

Thousands of baby girls from China have been adopted by North American families. Although this lovely book tells the story of one such little girl, it is about much more than the logistics of adoption. It is about the many ways in which we can come together to form a family.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Skillful paintings … realistic, detailed illustrations … The layout balances text and art neatly.”
Publishers Weekly

“Hodge writes with a quiet tenderness, creating the mood of the story…. Zhang’s soft, but wonderfully detailed illustrations match the mood of the story perfectly… Highly Recommended.”
CM Magazine

“[A] gentle and warm tale…[with] beautiful paintings that are superbly rendered with incredible detail…. [A]n invaluable adoption tale…”
Resource Links

“…timely… The softness of Zhang’s paintings, rich in detail, matches the mood of the text… heartwarming…”
Montreal Review of Books

Publishers Weekly
Skillful paintings help offset a tepid narrative in this latest addition to the growing collection of foreign adoption tales. Hodge, a Canadian author of children's nonfiction, introduces Emma, who's upset to realize she looks different from her family. Grandma nestles with her in a cozy floral armchair, an Asian folding screen in the background, and recounts how Emma's parents traveled to China to adopt a longed-for daughter. The lengthy, linear narration, with its familiar adages ("It's not how we look that makes us a family.... It's how we love each other"), is buoyed by realistic, detailed illustrations. Zhang (A Little Tiger in the Chinese Night) employs a myriad of textures and motifs in blankets, wallpaper and clothing in his compositions, most of them approached from a frontal perspective, like photographs in a family album. The layout balances text and art neatly, allotting the illustrations about four-fifths of the spread and boxing the text within a spacious column that is decorated with a motif from the facing art. All told, however, this lacks the emotional charge of such similarly themed works as Rose Lewis and Jane Dyer's I Love You Like Crazy Cakes or the accessibility of Kes Gray and Mary McQuillan's Our Twitchy (Children's Forecasts, Oct. 20). Ages 4-8. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
There are many different types of families; some biological and others made possible through adoption. One day when Emma is making family shaped cookies with her brother and grandmother, she comes to a realization that makes her sad. She realizes that she looks different than the rest of her family and wonders if she really belongs. Her grandmother reassures her by telling her story of how she came to belong to their family. Hopeful parents travel across the ocean to China to bring their new baby girl to her new home. When they arrive home in the United States, Emma's new family including aunts, uncles, brother, grandma and grandpa were waiting for her. The next day they had a party for Emma to show her how much they loved her. A great story showing readers that it is not how we look that makes us a family, but how we love one another. International adoptions allow for every child, in every country to have a loving home. 2003, Tundra Books, Ages 8 to 10.
—Michele Wilbur
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Emma Li Ming, who was born in China, is happily ensconced in her new home in North America. But as she and her brother make cookies to resemble their family, she is dismayed that hers is the only one decorated with raisins and black licorice for eyes and hair, in contrast to her fairer relatives. When she comments, "I want to look like everyone else," her affectionate grandma suggests that they read the story of Emma's adoption as a reminder of the great joy and happiness that she has brought to their family. Grandma counsels that "It's not how we look that makes us a family, Emma. It's how we love each other." While the story is sweet and the sentiments noble, the overall feel of the narrative is forced, slightly pedantic, and overlong. The visuals also fall short. The backgrounds in many of the color illustrations are lovely, but the figures appear lifeless and wooden. The typeface is somewhat small and crowded into the book's design. Jean Davies Okimoto and Elaine M. Aoki's The White Swan Express (Clarion, 2002) and Rose Lewis's I Love You Like Crazy Cakes (Little, Brown, 2000) are more successful treatments of this topic.-Rosalyn Pierini, San Luis Obispo City-County Library, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780887766329
  • Publisher: Tundra
  • Publication date: 10/21/2003
  • Pages: 24
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.28 (w) x 10.29 (h) x 0.34 (d)

Meet the Author

Deborah Hodge is an award-winning author of many books for children. Emma Comes Home is her first work of fiction. She is a former elementary school teacher and curriculum writer, editor, and instructional designer for the British Columbia Ministry of Education. Deborah Hodge lives in Burnaby, British Columbia.

Song Nan Zhang was born in Shanghai, China and studied at China’s leading art college, the Beijing Central Institute of Fine Arts. He also studied at L’Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. Song Nan Zhang has illustrated several books for Tundra. He now lives with his wife in Montreal.

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