Friday, May 21, 2010

Books for new big brothers and sisters

The arrival of a  new baby brother or sister is a momentous occassion in the life of a family.

Bringing Asha HomeBringing Asha Home by Uma Krishnaswami, illustrations by Jamel Akib. Lee&Low, 2006.

Uma  Krishnaswami follows a family through the process of adopting a child from India as seen through the eyes of the seven year old, Arun.  He wants his new sister, Asha to join their family as soon as possible.  Arun  is frustrated by delays from paperwork and government forms.  Her room is ready and the family shares photos of the baby on her birthday which they celebrate from afar. 

When Arun's father is finally allowed to fly to India to bring Asha home, he takes along a special paper airplane from Arun.  When the family unites at the airport, Asha is wearing a rakhi which is a bracelet worn on the holiday of Rakhi which celebrates the special bonds between brothers and sisters.  

Ten Days and Nine Nights: An Adoption StoryTen days and nine nights: an adoption story by Yumi Heo. Schwartz&Wade, 2009

The big sister-to-be says goodbye to her mother at the airport and counts down the days until her mother returns with her new baby sister.  She helps her grandfather redecorate the baby's room,  her grandmother sews a pink dress that matches hers, she scrubs her teddy bear to place in the new crib that her daddy puts together.  As she marks the days, we see what her mother is doing in Korea, meeting officials, visiting the children's home, holding the new baby, and then, traveling on the airplane toward home. 

These  two books are both told in the first person voices of young siblings who are anticipating the  arrival of a new sister to their family. In both stories the children are involved and coping with the anticipation. There are challenges and time delays involved in the international adoption process.  These two families model patience and love as they welcome their new family members.

What a Good Big Brother! (Picture Book)What a Good Big Brother! by Diane Wright Landolf, paintings by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher. Random House, 2009
The focus on the brother's face was a sweet choice for the cover. when, often all eyes are on the new baby.  Here, Landolf features what siblings can do to help out and feel important.  Cameron's assistance and contributions to the baby's well being are  included in the illustrations as words:  kiss kiss (kissing toes) pat pat (patting a head) wipe wipe  (handing dad wipes for a diaper change) rub rub (rubbing a tummy) 

The baby's waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa travels across the pages, as a graphic element of the illustration.    The perspective is often at Cameron's eye level.   The family works together to make baby Sadie happy but sometimes, only a  big brother can save the day.

This is a  sweet and tender look at the trials and rewards of being a new big brother.

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