Thursday, February 11, 2010

Adoption Book Review: Where Do I Belong?

In this, her second book, Ola Zuri shows why her books belong everywhere there are children. Where Do I Belong? is the story of a young boy who, like many transracial adoptees, doesn't feel rooted or connected in the same way the rest of his family seems to feel. It's clear that Zuri's character loves his family, but still, he is pained by looking different. I absolutely love that Zuri rises above the common tendency to sugar coat the truth. She lays the facts out straight up - yes, you do look different, because you and your family are of different races. And yes, your original roots are far away. And no, no amount of love will change that fact. That's our family.

The heart of the story is what the boy chooses to do about his feelings. Again, Zuri rises above current trends and places responsibility squarely where it belongs - on the boy himself. This book artfully teaches children (and adults!) that true freedom is born of inner strength, and we all make decisions every day that either strengthen or weaken our inner selves.

Once again, Zuri teamed up with illustrator Jenn Simpson, and the results are outstanding. Simpson's drawings perfectly capture Zuri's voice and that of her character. This is a delightful book, and Zuri & Simpson are one of the best writer/illustrator teams I have found in a long time, and I'm very much looking forward to their third book!

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
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