We Belong Together: A Book about Adoption and Families

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Overview

In a kid-friendly, accessible way, this book explores the ways that people can choose to come together to make a family. It's about sharing your home and sharing your heart to make a family that belongs together.

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Overview

In a kid-friendly, accessible way, this book explores the ways that people can choose to come together to make a family. It's about sharing your home and sharing your heart to make a family that belongs together.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Mary Hynes-Berry
Having done a book about mommys, daddys, and grandparents of each gender, Todd Parr addresses families that have chosen each other through adoption. The text is very simple and affirmative about how the parents wanted to share all the love and resources they could offer to the child reading the book. The illustrations are done in a schematic style, reminiscent of a child's drawing. The colors are extremely vibrant and the blue, yellow, green, and purple faces make it clear that adoptions are color-blind. The text is highly patterned. Most spreads begin "We belong together because…" and then identify a child's need and the adoptive family's ability to meet that need. Thus one of the last spreads says, "You needed someone to say ‘I love you' and we had love to give." While it might be included in a classroom collection, this book is best suited to being used by parents with a quite young adopted child; ideally, any given page would open up discussion about what brought the individual family together; however, some of these discussions might go well beyond the determined positive tone of the book. For example, it is not easy to explain to a child why the birth mother was not able to answer the need for love.
Kirkus Reviews
Parr, the Dr. Feelgood of children's books and television, brings his optimistic, sunny attitude to this latest offering. Each page, suffused with brilliant colors, reassures the adoptee, in various ways, that he or she was wanted and needed. "We belong together because . . . you needed a home and I had one to share." Single mothers and fathers, couples of all sorts and people of all colors, from yellow to purple to blue, all joyfully welcome their new children into their families. On one spread, where there are pictures of places to discover together, iconic illustrations of China and Russia, will surely be familiar to many international adoptees. Parr's familiar style, brilliant colors, outlined with bold black lines, draws children in, and the repeated, expected text make this a perfect book for very young children and new readers. There is no back story here, no explanation of why children might be available for adoption, only the joyful welcome arms of diverse people who have something to offer the child who needs a home. (Picture book. 2-5)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316016681
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 11/1/2007
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 63,155
  • Age range: 2 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Todd Parr

Todd Parr is the author of more than thirty books for children, including the New York Times bestselling The I Love You Book, The Earth Book, and The Thankful Book. He lives in Berkeley, California. For a complete list of Todd's books and more information, visit www.toddparr.com.

Biography

Author/illustrator Todd Parr is the poster child for perseverance. Growing up in Wyoming, he knew he wanted to be an artist, but he met with rejection at almost every turn. In school, his drawings and paintings were considered childish and simplistic. He even failed his high school art course for not meeting class standards. As a result, for many years he lacked the self-confidence to pursue his dreams. Then, when he finally mustered the resolve to begin painting in earnest, his work was turned down by dozens of galleries.

Yet, in spite of these roadblocks, Parr persisted. He arranged a small showing of his paintings at Wolfgang Puck's San Francisco restaurant Postrio. A buyer for Macy's West saw his canvases and encouraged him to design a line of merchandise for the store. Then, in 1998, Parr's bold, colorful style caught the eye of Little Brown agent Megan Tingley, who approached him to write children's books. The rest, as they say, is publishing history.

Unlike other children's authors, Parr is not a traditional storyteller; yet his books—with their positive, reassuring messages about acceptance, self-confidence, and diversity—have become enormously popular. In bestsellers like The Family Book, We Belong Together and It's Okay to Be Different, he encourage preschoolers to be themselves, to express their feelings, and to celebrate what makes each of them unique.

But it is his artwork—cheerful stick figures rendered in bright, neon colors and outlined boldly in black—that makes Parr one of the most recognized names in the world of children's literature. The same simplicity of technique that once drew criticism has proved to be his most bankable commodity. His work has been displayed in the windows of FAO Schwartz, his products are sold worldwide, and he has won awards for his books and for his preschool television show ToddWorld. Pretty good for a kid who was thrown out of high school art class!

Good To Know

Not all of Parr's fans are eight and under—teens in Japan reportedly swamped the author on his book tour, bringing rice cookers and surfboards for signing.

Before he began his career as a children's author, Parr was a flight attendant for United Airlines.

Parr's first job was working at Taco Time for $1 an hour at age 11. "I was going to own my own someday," he said in an interview with Barnes & Noble.com. "I still love tacos. :)"

Parr gives special credit to his family for their support: "I have a very special family," he told Barnes & Noble.com. "They never really understood me, but encouraged me to go after everything I wanted even when we did not agree. As I now realize—this takes a lot of love to do."

Parr has no formal art training.

He was flabbergasted when he was approached to write children's books. "I can't even spell," he told us, "so the idea of being an 'author' never entered my mind!" Once he realized this would not be an obstacle, it cleared the way for him to focus on his artwork and the messages behind it.

When asked what kind of advice he would give to kids who want to be artists, here's what Parr told us:
Believe in yourself. Art is art even if no one else likes what you do. If it makes you happy, stay with it. Don't give up. And surround yourself with your work to remind yourself of what makes you feel good.

The message behind my work stemmed somewhat from my childhood because it was not okay for me to be who I was. I did not conform to the "norm" or want to be like everyone else. Things have not changed that much for kids today either; it seems harder for them. So in the process of doing what I'm doing in my work—enjoying my life and being happy—if I can help someone, especially kids, learn to believe in themselves, accept others, and learn not to hate, then maybe someone's life will be a little easier and maybe their dreams a little closer to coming true."

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    1. Hometown:
      Berkeley, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 9, 1962
    2. Place of Birth:
      Rock Springs, Wyoming
    1. Education:
      High school diploma
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 19, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jennifer Wardrip, aka "The Genius" for Kids @ TeensReadToo.com

    Although WE BELONG TOGETHER is geared towards adoptive parents and their children, any family can benefit from reading the book, especially if done so together. Although I've read some negative reviews about the book, statements made that it gives the wrong message to adopted children, I don't think that's the case at all. <BR/><BR/>Both of my children have, at one time or another, asked why they were our kids and not someone elses. How is it that we became their parents, and not the parents of some other children? For younger children, who don't know all of the details of how becoming a parent works, this is a valid question. <BR/><BR/>My answer has always been the same as the one Todd Parr provides within the pages of the bright, bold, beautifully illustrated WE BELONG TOGETHER: because you needed love, and I had a lot to give. <BR/><BR/>This book, although it doesn't mention birth parents, makes the act of adoption a two-way street: both child and parent need something (love, learning, shelter, fun & laughter), and both have things to give in return (a hug & a kiss, knowledge, safety). <BR/><BR/>I think that this is a great book for adopted families, especially when read together. But all families will enjoy it, and the positive message of love and acceptance that it gives.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    SHARING IS THE OPERATIVE WORD

    Especially meaningful as we observe National Adoption Month, Todd Brown's bright, colorful book relates in language easy enough for the smallest child to understand what it means to become a family. He extends this warm text from children to include pets in need of a home, offering reasons why 'we belong together.' While the reasons are elementary, they are also extremely powerful. Such as, 'We belong together because you needed someone to help you grow healthy and strong, and I had help to give.' Or, 'We belong together because you needed someone to read to you and we had stories to share.' Share is often the operative word as once someone has become a part of a family then there are laughs to share, places to visit together, and most importantly love to share. Adopted children will feel very special after hearing and seeing Todd Brown's views on making a family. - Gail Cooke

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderul way to explain

    My oldest is adopted and my youngest picked this out for her. Ty for having auch kind words .

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    Posted June 6, 2011

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    Posted February 25, 2010

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    Posted July 15, 2010

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