Rebec­ca­’s Jour­ney Home

Brynn Olen­berg Sug­ar­man; Michelle Shapiro, illus.

By – December 19, 2011

Mrs. Stein is eager to adopt a new baby girl to add to her fam­i­ly, con­sist­ing of her­self and Mr. Stein, along with Jacob (age 8), and Gabe (age 4). As she tells her fam­i­ly, There were so many babies and chil­dren in the world whose par­ents had loved them, but could not take care of them.” The sto­ry fol­lows famil­iar ter­ri­to­ry — over a peri­od of a year, Mrs. Stein gets ready for the big day; she needs to fill out doc­u­ments, answer ques­tions, and attend meet­ings until she is final­ly told there is a baby wait­ing for her in Viet­nam. While in Viet­nam, she patient­ly waits for per­mis­sion to take the baby home and spends her time shop­ping and email­ing her fam­i­ly who can’t wait to meet baby Rebec­ca. Back in the Unit­ed States, the focus is on Rebecca’s Judaism; on Shab­bat, a spe­cial bless­ing is made for her. When she is almost one; Rebec­ca is tak­en to the mik­vah and giv­en the Hebrew name, Riv­ka Shoshanah. As her moth­er proud­ly states, She is now Viet­namese, Amer­i­can, and Jewish!”

This endear­ing pic­ture book per­fect­ly cap­tures the grow­ing trend of inter­na­tion­al adop­tion among the Amer­i­can Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty. Warm, styl­ized pas­tel dou­ble­spread illus­tra­tions com­ple­ment the text and make this a great book for shar­ing aloud. The author, a mom with an adopt­ed Viet­namese baby, draws on her own expe­ri­ences, to real­is­ti­cal­ly por­tray the excite­ment and joy of hav­ing a new fam­i­ly mem­ber. For all fam­i­lies, this title would be espe­cial­ly use­ful in a Jew­ish preschool or tem­ple library. Ages 4 – 8.

Debra Gold has been a children’s librar­i­an for over 20 years in the Cuya­hoga Coun­ty Pub­lic Library Sys­tem. An active mem­ber of the ALA, she has served on many com­mit­tees includ­ing the Calde­cott, New­bery and Batchelder committees.