TWO Books on Same-Race Adoption

Portrait of Smiling Family on Steps


I just found out about two books on same-race adoption:

Click the image to go to the book's Amazon page.

Click the image to go to the book’s Amazon page.

In a heartwarming intergenerational story, Pablo cannot wait to visit his grandfather and discover what treasures will be placed on his tree, a tree that was purchased when Pablo was adopted and that, each year, is decorated with special surprises.

From Pat Mora’s website:

“Five-year-old Pablo can hardly wait to see how Abuelito, his grandfather, has decorated Pablo’s tree for his birthday. When Mamá first told her father that she was going to adopt a baby … Lito went out and bought the tree for his grandson … A lovely and resonant picture book that, like the tree that Pablo discovers decked with bells and wind chimes, rings with happiness and family love.”—Booklist

“This is a warm and gentle story, the tree-surprise aspect gives the tale a pleasing sparkle, and the characters provide a nice complement to all the WASP-y, Norman Rockwell families in adoption books—the family is Latino, and mom is a single parent.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Click the image to visit the book's page on

Click the image to visit the book’s page on

Read the review from Adoptive Families here

Then the girl begins to ask questions about her adoption. “Another mommy first kissed your cheeks and touched your soft brown hair. Another mommy loved you and left you to our care,” explains the mother. By the story’s end, the girl is ready for bed. (Readers will spot the ballet skirt she was wearing earlier hanging over the back of a chair.) She speculates about names her birthmother might once have called her, and concludes: “Oh, I know, Mama, I bet she called me Sugar Plum!”

Read the whole review from here

The story begins with an African American mother and daughter having a conversation; a conversation that is shown through the artwork to continue throughout the course of the afternoon and into the evening. The daughter asks the mother to tell her about her grandma, about the garden she grew and the service she offered to others. She then asked about the sweet nicknames grandma had for her mother when she was growing up. It is then that the daughter asks if she grew in her mother’s tummy, which the adoptive mom tells her the story about the day she joined their family.

The story does not have a strong adoption theme, and is not really mentioned until later in the book. I think this strengthens the book as it mirrors real family life; the topic of adoption often just naturally flows in a family. It’s also a reality that questions about birth family can arise at any time, especially bedtime, as it does in I Bet She Called Me Sugar Plum.

This children’s book is an awesome choice for adoptive families. It demonstrates the strong family relationship, not only between mother and daughter, but with the heritage of the women in the family. It also shows how this adoptive mother was able to pass that heritage on to her daughter. There is a strong sense of connection and family in this beautiful children’s book, a connection that is felt between generations.

I also enjoy the fact that there is a sense of realism within the adoption aspect of the story; in the fact that the little girl was allowed to day dream a bit about her birth mother when she asked adoptive mom what nickname her birth mother may have had for her when she was born. The adoptive mother was not intimidated by this, but allowed the little girl to ponder the thought before deciding that her birth mother must have called her sugar plum.




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