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My Mei Mei Hardcover – February 16, 2006

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Hardcover, February 16, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. PreSchool-Grade 2–There are other picture books about traveling to China to adopt a child, but what sets this one apart is the relationship between the first adoptive daughter, Antonia, and her Mei Mei, or younger sister. Based on Youngs experience, the text follows Antonias story beginning with her arrival from China and her early years, to her request for a Mei Mei, to her disillusionment with her less-than-perfect sibling, to the girls evolving closeness and love for each other. The narrative is told gracefully in Antonias expressive, childlike voice: When we returned, I found out that she was not what she ought to be. She couldnt walk. She couldnt talk. She couldnt play. She took all the attention away from me. Youngs illustrations in gouache, pastel, and collage are irresistibly beautiful and filled with feeling. A significant page turn takes readers from Antonias anticipation about their first meeting to Mei Meis crying baby face filling an entire page. Most spreads achieve a serene unity through the use of varying wallpaper-like designs. A definitive composition shows the sisters lying together, legs intertwined, sharing a book, their form echoed against a gently curving floral background. A simple story of family bonds unerringly told.–Kate McClelland, Perrot Memorial Library, Old Greenwich, CT
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

PreS-Gr. 2. Speaking in the voice of his eldest daughter, Antonia, Young tells his family's tender, personal adoption story. In simple, brief sentences, Antonia describes how her parents carried her home from China when she was a baby. As she grows older, she plays Jieh-Jieh (older sister) with her parents, pretending to blow their noses and care for them. Then the news come that Antonia will become be a real Jieh-Jieh, and the family flies to China to adopt Antonia's Mei Mei (little sister). Antonia makes clear her feelings about the new baby: "She couldn't walk. She couldn't talk. She couldn't play. She took all the attention away from me." Then Mei Mei grows, and the girls' love and closeness is clear as they play and learn together. Young's vibrant collage illustrations joyously extend the spare, direct words. Pencil-and-paint portraits of the girls and their parents float against open backgrounds of patterned fabric and paper, which evoke a sense of cozy domesticity in their resemblance to wallpaper while the wild swirls of flowers, vines, and shapes echo the story's emotional intensity. Families that have adopted multiple children will welcome this title, and children of all backgrounds will easily connect with Young's sensitive portrayal of how siblings move through jealousy and resentment and create the small moments that hold them fiercely together. See the adjacent Read-alikes, "Adoption Stories," for other recent picture books about adoption, Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 and up
  • Grade Level: 1 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 590L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Philomel; First Edition edition (February 16, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399243399
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399243394
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 0.4 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #277,062 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Caldecott Medalist Ed Young is the illustrator of over eighty books for children, seventeen of which he has also written.
He finds inspiration for his work in the philosophy of Chinese painting. 'A Chinese painting is often accompanied by words,' explains Young. 'They are complementary. There are things that words do that pictures never can, and likewise, there are images that words can never describe.'
Born in Tientsin, China, Ed Young grew up in Shanghai and later moved to Hong Kong. As a young man, he came to the United States on a student visa to study architecture but turned instead to his love of art.
Young began his career as a commercial artist in advertising and found himself looking for something more expansive, expressive, and timeless. He discovered all this, and more, in children's books. The subject and style of each story provide Young with the initial inspiration for his art and with the motivation for design, sequence, and pace. Accuracy in research is essential to his work, too--whether he is illustrating fantasy, folk tale, or fact.
According to Young, a strong foundation of credibility must be established in order to create new and exciting images. Through such images, he hopes to capture his readers and ultimately expand their awareness. Young's quest for challenge and growth are central in his role as illustrator.
'Before I am involved with a project I must be moved, and as I try something exciting, I grow. It is my purpose to stimulate growth in the reader as an active participant as well,' Young explains. 'I feel the story has to be exciting, and a moving experience for a child.'
A graduate of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Young has since taught at the Pratt Institute, Yale University, Naropa Institute, and the University of California at Santa Cruz. In 1990, his book Lon Po Po was awarded the Caldecott Medal. He has also received two Caldecott Honors--for The Emperor and the Kite and Seven Blind Mice--and was twice nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Medal, the highest international recognition given to children's book authors and illustrators who have made a lasting contribution to children's literature.
Young lives in Westchester County, New York, with his two daughters.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. Gardner on August 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
My daughter loves this book. We bought it to help prepare her as we are going to China to adopt a mei mei (little sister). Ed Young's pictures are always great. I highly recommend this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Writer Mom on November 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My daughters are also sisters through adoption, and this book doesn't miss a beat showing how families formed though adoption are every bit as natural and connected as those formed through birth. And the illustrations are gorgeous! I highly recommend this book for children ages 3 and up and their families.
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Format: Hardcover
Ed Young is a Caldecott Medalist who has written and illustrated approximately 80 children's books. In his book, My Mei Mei (younger sister), Young shares his interracial family's story of adopting two girls from China. The story is extremely well written, and the illustrations, which consist of pastels and torn paper collages, are rich and colorful. My wife and I are also an interracial couple who have adopted two girls from China so the story is very meaningful to us. Additionally, we live in the city Mr. Young was born in (Tianjin). Even without those connections, this account of Antonia narrating her adoption story and her desire for a younger sister is quite enjoyable. When the Youngs fly to China to pick up their second child, Antonia figures out that her younger sister is not exactly what she imagined. Parts of the book are very amusing and to see the sisterly bond grow is sweet. If you have any interest in adoption, China or interracial families, I highly recommend it.
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