Star of the Week: A Story of Love, Adoption, and Brownies with Sprinkles


It's Cassidy—Li's turn to be Star of the Week at school! So she's making brownies and collecting photos for her poster. She has pictures of all the important people in her life—with one big exception. Cassidy—Li, adopted from China when she was a baby, doesn't have a photo of her birthparents. But with a little help from her family, she comes up with the perfect way to include them!

Using their own family's story as a model, Darlene Friedman and Roger Roth celebrate the love of ...

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It's Cassidy—Li's turn to be Star of the Week at school! So she's making brownies and collecting photos for her poster. She has pictures of all the important people in her life—with one big exception. Cassidy—Li, adopted from China when she was a baby, doesn't have a photo of her birthparents. But with a little help from her family, she comes up with the perfect way to include them!

Using their own family's story as a model, Darlene Friedman and Roger Roth celebrate the love of families everywhere through this straightforward and insightful book.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Cassidy Li is going to be Star of the Week in her kindergarten class, and that means she gets to bring a snack (the titular brownies) and chronicle her life story on a poster. But as she reviews snapshots depicting favorite activities, pets, friends and family, she also realizes that, as a baby adopted in China, "something is missing. I don't have any photos of my birthparents." Her solution: adding a hand-drawn portrait of them to the photographic collage. Debuting author Friedman, who is also the wife of Roth (The American Story) and the parent of a Chinese daughter, doesn't try to smooth over the bittersweet elements of Cassidy Li's story, although she often veers into giving her heroine the voice and viewpoint of an empathic adult rather than that of a six-year-old ("Dad says our family loves my birthparents very much even though we'll never know them"). Roth's affectionate domestic vignettes bolster the story's authenticity considerably, and his vivid portrayal of the confident, thoughtful Cassidy Li speaks volumes about the unconditional love in her life. Ages 5-9. (June)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Our six-year-old narrator, Cassidy-Li, will be Star of the Week next week in kindergarten. She must make a poster about herself, and do special things for the class, like making brownies. So Cassidy-Li goes through her memory box, finding a photo of her mom and dad adopting her as a baby in China. Other photos show her family members, her activities, her two best friends, her pets, even her Chinese "cousins" adopted from the same orphanage. But she has none of her birth parents. She wonders about them a lot, and why they gave her up. Reassured by her mom and dad, she draws a picture of her idea of her birth parents to complete her poster. She is nervous about the questions her classmates may ask, but all goes well for the Star of the Week. There is a gentle naturalism to the illustrations loaded with details. The double title page is filled with the action of children arriving at school, complete with crossing guards and playground. Many pages display the photos along with our appealing subject working at her poster. The final classroom scene of her happy triumph is a satisfying conclusion to this story based on the experience of the author and illustrator. This is a useful addition to the literature for both adopted children and those who meet them. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

K-Gr 3

Roth's vibrant illustrations capture the personality of Cassidy-Li, the six-year-old narrator who tells her story in unaffected language that will appeal to children. Being "Star of the Week" is an exciting adventure for many youngsters, but it can cause anxiety for those who were adopted. Spunky Cassidy-Li has a memory box brimming with baby photos, but she also draws pictures and decorates her "star" poster to fill in gaps in her life. "I think about my birthparents a lot"; "Mom, Dad and I have talked about all the reasons people can't take care of their babies"; "I decide to draw a picture of my birthparents for my poster." The class applauds her presentation, and the close-ups of her doing myriad activities with friends and relatives make it clear that the child is proud of her Chinese heritage. Part of the book is formatted as labeled snapshots in an album, and through these pictures readers meet Cassidy-Li's friends and family. The story has universal appeal, making it a good choice for a read-aloud.-Deborah Vose, Highlands Elementary School, Braintree, MA

Kirkus Reviews
The subtitle's reference to "brownies with sprinkles" puts an unfortunately saccharine spin on this otherwise heartfelt collaboration, in which Friedman and Roth draw upon their experience as adoptive parents in this story about Cassidy-Li, an adopted Chinese-American girl. The first-person account, which often assumes a more mature perspective than her kindergarten age suggests, is prompted when Cassidy-Li is named "Star of the Week," inviting her to share something special about herself with her class. Despite a later revelation that others' questions about adoption sometimes make her uncomfortable, Cassidy-Li tells her adoption story with a photo-collage poster of friends, pets, family and other children from the same orphanage. "But something is missing," she says as she realizes the absence of photos of her birthparents. After recalling conversations about them and their possible reasons for choosing adoption (which problematically never acknowledge China's One Child Law), Cassidy-Li draws a picture of them for her poster. Roth's art has a naive quality for this illustration, but his pictures are otherwise realistic paintings of Cassidy-Li at home, in school and of the photos themselves. Worthwhile, despite minor flaws. (Picture book. 5-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061141362
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/2/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 505,437
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.50 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Darlene Friedman, an award-winning writer and editor, works for an international women's organization in Philadelphia. She lives with her husband, Roger; their daughter, Eden; and their dog ("The Dobo") in Springfield, Pennsylvania. This is her first book for children.

Roger Roth is the award-winning author and illustrator of The Sign Painter's Dream and Fishing for Methuselah. He has illustrated dozens of children's books, including The American Story: 100 True Tales from American History by Jennifer Armstrong and the Unsolved Mystery from History books by Jane Yolen and Heidi Elisabet Yolen Stemple. This is the first of what he hopes will be many collaborations with his wife, Darlene.

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