I even have a superstition that has grown on me
as the result of invisible hands
coming all the time..
Namely, that if you follow your bliss
you put yourself on a kind of track
that has been there all the while,
waiting for you.
And the life that you ought to be living,
is the one you ARE living.
-joseph campbell

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Made In China

Every so often a book comes through our house and captures it's intended audience with such strength we find ourselves reading it time and again. A really powerful book finds us all tangled in hugs by the time we reach the last page.

Made In China; A Story of Adoption by Vanita Oelshlager is a brightly illustrated story about a younger sister, adopted from China, who has her feelings hurt by the innocent teasing of her big sister. The older sibling sees the words, "made in China" on a household object and tells the little girl that just like the broom, she was Made In China. As she looks around she finds more and more things stamped with Made in China.

"'It's just like you'/my big sister said,/'You're Made in China./It's stamped right on your head.'"

Feeling sad and confused, the child seeks out her dad who she believes will have the answer to comfort her. Parents and children alike will smile at the loving wisdom of the father. He tells his daughter she was not made in China like a dress or a toy, but she was born in China to a mother who loved her. He explains how her birth mother was not able to take care of her and had to make a hard decision. He says he was waiting here for her.

The story reminds us our daughters very likely smile the same smile as their mothers in China and reminds our children we are their family forever, not just with them for a little while. The tone is warm and loving and the gentle rhyming text holds the attention of children as young as three.

From Amazon, "Kristen Blackwood (illustrator) has employed a blend of linoleum cuts outlined in black and computer coloring techniques to craft stunning illustrations. Ethnic features are realistic and enhance the simple text, depicting the birth mother as well as the adoptive family. The endpapers feature more than a dozen photos of Chinese adoptees of various ages, with a space for the reader to add a photo of herself. This title will be of special interest to families of Chinese adoptees, but could also serve as a springboard for discussing racial slurs and insensitivity for a much wider audience." Great for ages 3 and up.


  1. Hmmmm...I am a fan of children's books, especially one with a rhyme-y message. Thanks for the tip. :)

  2. Sherri,

    First, love your posts. Second, it is funny there is a book like this because Catherine (6)for the last two days has happily been counting the things in the house made in China--she is up to 200 and has included herself and all her sisters.


  3. Hi Sherri,

    I just learned about your blog from Beckett Franklin Gray, a Facebook friend, and I'm really enjoying your posts. I also love your reading list!

    I'm the author of a debut novel, A THREAD OF SKY (Penguin Press, April 2010), the story of six fiercely independent Chinese American women who reunite for a tour of China, uncovering secrets that have shaped each of their lives. While the book is not specific to adoption-related issues, I'm finding that many of its themes—mother-daughter conflicts, identity struggles facing Asian American females from youth through adulthood, the vast complexity of present-day China, and that nebulous concept of cultural heritage—seem to resonate with members of the Chinese adoption community.

    If you're interested, I'd be happy to send you an advance copy. Just let me know an address.

    Feel free to check out my website (www.deannafei.com) for more information, and to get in touch anytime.

    All best,