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Posted May 14, 2012
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Mei Li was adopted from China. She is having a tough time with bullying, racism, people staring, adoption questions and wondering why her birthmother did not keep her. Daydreaming about getting a fairy godmother to help her out brings a wise old Chinese teacher, laoshi (pronounced laow shur in Chinese) to her side. Laoshi takes Mei Li back to China to the day she was born and shows her ways to think about and respond to all these heavy questions she has been harboring. His words are well chosen and address most of the burdensome thoughts young adoptees carry in their hearts, often without telling their parents.
Told in poetry form, this is a great book for starting and fostering conversations with young children. The illustrations are bit cartoony for my old person's taste, but they will likely appeal to Nickelodean watchers. While the main character is a girl, all the questions and issues addressed easily pertain to boys adopted from China. The Laoshi's insights also apply to children adopted from any country who do not look like their parents and want to know why their birthmother did not keep them. Differences in their child's story can be talked through and expanded upon by the parents so the child can learn about the different ways children are adopted.