larryhammer: stylized figures of a man and a woman on either side of a shopping cart carrying a heart (romance)
In lieu of a regular reading-day post, some picture books I've particularly liked over the past two years:

Goyangi Means Cat, words by Christine McDonnell, pictures by Steve Johnson & Lou Fancher -- One of the few adoption books we've found that really is entirely from the child's point of view: it refuses to flinch from Soo Min's deep grieving. (It is very hard to keep my voice from breaking up when I read this aloud.) Korean rather than Chinese adoptee, but close enough to be representation.

My New Mom and Me, words and pictures by Renata Galindo -- Almost as tightly child-POV as Goyangi, this features a domestic interracial adoption (probably foster-to-adopt), with the mother drawn as a cat and the child as a dog. It's also a little more upbeat. And, yes, adoption is about all parties learning how to be a new family.

Over the River and Through the Woods, words by Linda Ashman, pictures by Kim Smith -- Four families travel to the grandparents' house for a holiday dinner ("bring your favorite pie!"). The text itself is quietly quirky, with spot-on versification, but the pictures are a delight of diversity: one family has a gay marriage, two have interracial marriages, and one has interracial adoptees (twin east-asian girls). Representation for the win.

Moonday, words and pictures by Adam Rex -- One day, a girl wakes up to find that last night's big, full moon is even bigger, because it's in her backyard. For all I love the wackiness of Smekday and his illustrations for the Chu books, I think Rex is at his best with quietly quirky -- see also his recent release, School's First Day of School. (Bonus representation: it's subtly painted, but the girl seems to be an east-asian adoptee.)

Good Night, Gorilla, words and pictures by Peggy Rathmann -- An excellent bedtime book, simple enough for younger toddlers but with enough going on for older ones to still enjoy. A zookeeper does final rounds for the night, unaware that a gorilla has swiped his keys and is letting the other animals loose. See also Rathmann's much busier 10 Minutes to Bedtime, which takes place on the same street.

The Very Busy Spider, words and pictures by Eric Carle -- I do not know why, but I like this one more than anything else by Carle. Yes, it's yet another farmyard animal book. I still like it. Spider!

Mimi Says No, words by Yih-Fen Chou, pictures by Chih-Yuan Chen -- Not only does this navigate the tricky balance of toddler independence versus security, but it's the rare picture book in English with animal characters that don't code as white (the artist is Taiwanese). More translations from Asia, please.

Ling and Ting, words and pictures by Grace Lin -- Not picture books, but very early readers, specifically a series (four out so far) featuring twin Chinese-American girls who are very silly in entirely childlike ways. My favorite so far is the second, Not Exactly the Same.


Recommendations for more, especially early readers at the level of the Elephant and Piggie books, cheerfully accepted.

---L.

Subject quote from "Solsbury Hill," Peter Gabriel.
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (some guy)
One month anniversary of Gotcha Day -- which seems so long ago even while I'm all "wait, already?" Things are settling down, a bit -- TBD's sleeping has been stable for a while, at least for the night, as naptime is still under negotiation, and the daily routine is sorting itself out. We're still learning how to cook, though at least we have a stable of staples that are acceptable, and almost half the time we can tell the difference between cries of tired, boredom, teething pain, and tantrum.

In short, we're starting to get enough breathing room to go beyond pure survival mode. Which is why I'm out of the house for an hour on my own, catching up on email (or some of it). Enough breathing room that I can take a deep breath.

In this month, I've read not one drop of fiction, nor poetry aside from a literal handful of nursery rhymes -- it's all been parenting advice, Dr Google, and articles saved up in Pocket against this occasion. Last night, though, I pulled out my e-reader and recharged it. And after a few minutes, I'm going to turn it on and read something.

I think it's going to work out.

---L.

Subject quote from "Vespertine Autumn," Pamela Wyn Shannon.
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (some guy)
The reason I've been offline for a while:



Which is to say, we have adopted a child to be referred to here by the nom de internet of TBD (if you know the offline name, we'd appreciate not mentioning it online). Seen here less than an hour after we met, shortly after crying to sleep because a beloved foster mother had left.

I meant to post this a few days ago, but it turns out that when a toddler has jet lag, the whole household has jet lag. This could possibly have been predicted by someone who wasn't a first-time parent ...

---L.

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