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Book review: A Place in My Heart

untitled (3)I was recently sent A Place in My Heart by Mary Grossnickle. It’s an illustrated book for adopted children aged 2-5 that addresses birth parents and transcultural adoption.

Charlie the Chipmunk is different to the rest of his family – he looks different, he’s smaller and his tail is different. Charlie is adopted, his adoptive family are squirrels, and he loves his mother to explain how he became part of his family.

One night Charlie realises that adoption means he has another set of parents – his birth mother and birth father. He sits and thinks about this for a long time, and the following day is spent wondering about what his birth family are like – what their names are, whether they are famous. Charlie doesn’t feel like playing, and instead he bites his brother, and spills his lunch.

Charlie’s mum sees that Charlie is struggling and does a little wondering of her own – perhaps Charlie has been thinking about his birth parents? She reassures him that it’s OK, and that they are probably thinking of him too.

Together Charlie and his mum explore hearts and love, and again, mum explains and reassures that it’s OK to have space in his heart for his birth mother and birth father. Feeling happier, Charlie runs outside to play with his family again.

I shared this hardback book with my 4 year old birth daughter who hears the word ‘adoption’ a lot, and know that her brother is adopted. It’s pitched just right for her and she LOVED the illustrations (by Alison Relyea-Parr). She has a simplistic view of adoption, but this book helped her understand that her brother has another set of parents out there, and that it’s OK for him to talk and care about them.
And at a time when she’s quite interested in who she looks like and why, it gently explained why her brother looks different to the rest of us.

My son is now 8, so this book is a little young for him, but I think if we’d had this book when he was young, he would have enjoyed the story even though he probably wouldn’t have related to the character. It explores big feelings that he wouldn’t have been able to acknowledge when younger.

A Place in My Heart is available from Jessica Kingsley Publishers at £9.99.

Today’s review is by Vicki from The Boy’s Behaviour. If you have a book, movie, tv programme or training course review that you’d like to share, please drop us a line at theadoptionsocial@gmail.com.