Star of the Week: A Story of Love, Adoption, and Brownies with Sprinkles (2009) by Darlene Friedman, illustrated by Roger Roth.
This book is a good contrast to The Red Thread by Grace Lin. Star of the Week is a story about a classic situation for adopted kids… the school poster requirement with pictures all about you and your family.
First off, Roger Roth has illustrated our main character, Cassady-Li with such sparkling personality. She really jumps off the page at you.
When Cassady-Li is the star of the week in her class, she gets out her special memory box, looking for some good pictures to put on her poster. There’s one taken in China with her mom and dad. (Side note: the illustration in the book is based on a photograph of the author, her husband and their daughter shown on the back flap of the book. In the illustration, the baby is smiling. In the photo, she’s looking off in the distance with a more neutral expression.) There are pictures of other family members, friends, friends from Chinese school, pets, even a photo of her Chinese “cousins” who were adopted from the same orphanage as Cassady-Li.
But of course, there is something missing. Cassady-Li’s birthparents.
I think about my birthparents a lot. Sometimes I miss them. I was born to them. I am a part of them, and they are a part of me. I wonder what they look like. Are they nice? Where do they live? Why couldn’t they keep me? Do they miss me like I miss them?
…I love my parents, but I’m sad about my birthparents. Dad says our family loves my birthparents very much even though we’ll never know them.
I decide to draw a picture of my birthparents for my poster….My poster is done.
Star of the Week does a much better job at portraying the conflicting emotions adopted kids have when they are faced with these kinds of assignments. Except for the line about never knowing Cassady-Li’s birthparents (never is really a strong word), Star of the Week is a huge step in the right direction; a book that focuses on adoption from the kid’s emotional perspective.