All kids are curious about when they were little. What was I like, they wonder. How have I changed? In a story of Russian adoption, Adrienne Ehlert Bashista mines this curiosity in When I Met You. "When I met you, you lived in Russia, a country far across the ocean," states the mother narrator at the beginning. "Now, you live here, close to my heart." The contrast between "when" and "now" continues throughout and proves especially powerful in scenes contrasting the girl's former heavy snow boots with her pink, pirouetting ballet slippers and the long row of orphanage cribs with the girl's own room and reassurance that she "can call Daddy and me when you need us in the night." Beautiful watercolors by Christine Sykes prove a perfect match for Bashista's lyrical prose. Sykes manages to convey a wealth of emotions--uncertainty, joy, loneliness, love--without devolving into sentimentality or cluttering her pictures.
"The collaborative work of author Adrienne Bashista and illustrator Christine Sykes, When I Met You: A Story Of Russian Adoption is a picturebook based on Bashista's own family experience in describing a little girl's life before and after she was adopted from Russia by an American family. From scenes in the Russian orphanage to the birth mother, When I Met You is a unique chronicle of the special background of abandoned or orphaned children adopted from Russia. Syke's 36 delicate watercolor artworks provides a superbly visual enhancement of a story that is as entertaining for young readers as it is informative and thoughtful. When I Met You is a welcome addition to school and community library picturebook collections, and especially recommended reading for children from families who are themselves adopted or who have adopted siblings."
"Delicate watercolor illustrations compliment the thought-provoking text in a celebration of the joy a child brings a family. I liked the way Bashista blends simple adoption language with Russian vocabulary to make the comparison and transition from orphanage to family life easier to understand. "When I Met You" makes an excellent introduction for a parent to share a more complete story of adoption at age-appropriate levels."