Ten Days and Nine Nights: An Adoption Story


How many days until a little girl’s adopted sibling is brought home?

Follow a little girl as she and her family prepare for the new baby that will soon be joining them. And simultaneously, watch the girl’s mother fly off to Korea, meet the new baby, and bring her home. Here is an utterly simple, sweet, and child-centric look at the adoption process through the eyes of a soon-to-be older sibling. From cutting a red paper heart and taping it above the new baby’s crib to telling ...

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How many days until a little girl’s adopted sibling is brought home?

Follow a little girl as she and her family prepare for the new baby that will soon be joining them. And simultaneously, watch the girl’s mother fly off to Korea, meet the new baby, and bring her home. Here is an utterly simple, sweet, and child-centric look at the adoption process through the eyes of a soon-to-be older sibling. From cutting a red paper heart and taping it above the new baby’s crib to telling her best friend about the adoption, the young narrator counts down every day and night with growing anticipation, marking them with a big X on her calendar. Unlike other adoption books which are aimed only at the adoptive child, Ten Days and Nine Nights is also perfect for older children who are about to become big sisters and brothers.

2009 Parents' Choice Silver Honor winner

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Meredith Kiger
This charming story about foreign adoption will be of interest to all children because the author has included repetitious counting of days on the calendar to build suspense for the story. A young girl, probably an adoptee herself, marks each of ten days and nine nights on the calendar until her new sister from Korea will arrive. Each day and night that goes by tells of the activity in the home such as buying new furniture, redecoration a room, and practicing feeding a baby (with her doll) in preparation for the big day. The preparations give a clue but the reader is unsure of the actual event until the very end of the story. The inclusive, cartoon-like drawings are a perfect foil for the limited text. The author's note at the end tells of her experiences with friends who have adopted children from Korea. The story provides the subtle joy and anticipation of preparing for a new addition to the family. A timely story for all children. Reviewer: Meredith Kiger, Ph.D.
Publishers Weekly

Simple, graceful text and images of contentment distinguish this story about the arrival of a younger adopted sibling. Heo's heroine is a girl with black hair and rosy cheeks who finds plenty to do as she waits for her mother to return from Korea with her new baby sister. "Daddy and I say goodbye to Mommy. I have nine days and eight nights." As Mommy and the girl embrace at the airport gate, Heo's folk-naïve perspective makes the whole airport appear to swell with anticipation-even the colorful airplanes outside look happy. As the girl counts down ("I have six days and five nights," etc.), rhythmic text confers a feeling of calm. On subsequent days, her father buys new furniture, and her grandmother sews for the baby, as wordless scenes show Mommy's progress in Korea. "At last!" the girl cries, as the family greets Mommy and the tiny bundle. "I have no days and no nights." Heo (The Green Frogs) writes as if the baby's arrival will be unambiguously joyous, and children who read this book will feel this way, too. Ages 4-8. (May)

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School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2

A child eagerly anticipates an event and uses simple sentences to express her excitement about what is going to happen. Heo relates two parallel stories here. One features the girl and her calendar countdown with text such as, "Daddy buys some new furniture. I have five days and four nights" and "I wash my old Teddy Bear. I have four days and three nights." Then readers learn what she is preparing for as the illustrations show the mother's journey to Korea to adopt a new baby and bring her home. Signs and labels in Korean appear throughout the book. The exquisite oil, pencil, and collage illustrations dovetail with the quiet, simple tone of the text. Heo's distinctive, uncluttered style is very effective as it reinforces the narrator's focus on the event. The pictures have fanciful angles and random details that will intrigue most children. For example, while Grandma "makes a little pink dress," spools of thread, a pincushion, buttons, and a tape measure, as well as a cat, seem to float about her. Most books about waiting for the arrival of an adoptive baby are aimed at older children and delve into negative feelings about a new sibling. This one is a worthwhile addition to most collections.-Deborah Vose, Highlands Elementary School, Braintree, MA

Kirkus Reviews
In gorgeous folk-art-style oil-and-pencil illustrations, Korean-born Heo translates the oft-weighty anticipation of an overseas adoption into a young Asian-American girl's literal countdown to the arrival of her little sister. The girl first marks a red circle on her calendar at May 10: "I have ten days and nine nights." Then, she and her father say goodbye to her mother at the airport: "I have nine days and eight nights." So continues the countdown. The many wordless spreads and spare text allow ample room for-and may demand-more in-depth discussion, as the book focuses solely on preparations for welcoming a new baby and not on any emotional aspects of a child confronted with a new sibling, such as, say, fear and loathing. The depictions of the Korean adoption office, the foster home and the airplane trip home-all in a contrastingly blue-hued palette-will help children demystify the parts of the baby-fetching process they missed out on. Unfortunately, this visually pleasing offering still misses its mark. (author's note) (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375847189
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 5/12/2009
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 730,987
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.20 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Yumi Heo is the author and illustrator of many acclaimed books for children. Among the books she has illustrated are Knopf’s own The Lonely Lioness and the Ostrich Chicks by Verna Aardema; and Henry’s First-Moon Birthday and Uncle Peter’s Amazing Chinese Wedding, both written by Lenore Look and selected as ALA Notable Children’s Books. She is also the author of The Green Frogs: A Korean Folktale. She was born in Korea, and currently lives in White Plains, New York, with her husband and their two children.
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