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My New Mom & Me Hardcover – March 22, 2016
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Mexican author-illustrator Galindo (The Cherry Thief) offers an understated but emotionally intense account of a mother and her adopted child "learning how to be a family." Galindo's digital illustrations have a crayonlike softness, and she pictures the child (who narrates, and whose gender is unspecified) as a golden dog. Its mother is an orange cat with brown stripes, highlighting how adoptive family members don't necessarily look alike, especially in cases of transracial adoption. Pared-down backgrounds (a couple trees and a gently curving hill define a park, during an outing away from home) keep the focus on the dog's emotions. The closing idea that "Mom is learning how to be my mom, and I am learning how to be Mom's kid" is a powerful one for both adoptive parents and their children. Ages 3-7. Agent: Kendra Marcus, Bookstop Literary. (Mar.)
PreS-Gr 1--This cross-species adoption story with a feline mother and a canine child uses gentle touches to show glimpses into the process of becoming a family, told through the child's point of view. The young pup is nervous at first and uses paint for body art to mirror the mother's stripes. A tender scene where the stripes are washed off is paired with the lesson: "But Mom said I didn't need fixing. She likes that we are different." This reassurance holds firm despite the pointed looks from a parent-and-child pair of blue-spotted gray cats they pass by in the park. There's a softness to the digital illustrations that is helped by the muted and calm color palette of slate, beige, and earthy orange and yellow. Simple lines and figures consistently convey the mother's caring expressions, whether they are playing or reading together and even as she administers discipline (followed by comfort). Acknowledged is the fact that both parent and child are learning every day, making a commitment to strengthen their bond. VERDICT Lovely and lovingly done.--Joanna K. Fabicon, Los Angeles Public Library
Galindo's American picture-book debut makes strides toward filling gaps in adoption narratives. First-person narration follows an anthropomorphic puppy settling in with a "new mom." Mom is a striped cat--on the surface, an odd choice given the antagonism typically associated with these animals. The text doesn't acknowledge this, but it reveals related concerns: "I was worried I didn't look like Mom." The puppy paints stripes on its body, but Mom lovingly provides assurance: "She likes that we are different." Cleansed of paint, child and mother take a walk and ignore a glowering spotted cat-and-kitten pair who presumably disapprove of their interspecies family. Otherwise, they stay home navigating the everyday ups and downs of getting acquainted. There's only scant attention given to the puppy's pre-adoptive life: it arrives with two packed bags and also says, "I'd never had my own room before." This leaves questions open about the puppy's life and neglects the third part of the adoption triad: the birth family. And yet, this is one of few adoption books to feature an older child entering a new family, and the two animals' different appearances could be read as symbolizing different races. The presentation of a single mother is also unusual and valuable. Throughout, digital illustrations employ a soft, flat aesthetic rendered in a muted palette that meets the gentle text's tone. A welcome addition. (Picture book. 4-8)
About the Author
Renata Galindo received her MA in Children’s Book Illustration from the Cambridge School of Art. My New Mom & Me is her picture book debut in the United States. She lives and works in Mexico City. Learn more at renatagalindo.com.
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This story depicts the adoption of an older child in a simple yet heartfelt way.
It's simple, tasteful, and broad enough to fit a variety of circumstances, including foster care and especially older children. There is nothing I need to change to apply to my children (adopted from foster care at age 3), and no uncomfortable savior or rescue narrative, or exclusive focus on the emotions of the adoptive parent(s). As a single parent, I also appreciate that this is the family dynamic shown (though there's no reason it couldn't also apply to two-parent households).
The book manages to acknowledge the difficulty as both mom and child adjust to their new roles, which is so rare and so needed in children's adoption literature.
I absolutely adore this book and recommend it to all foster and/or adoptive parents I know. It's simple, sweet, and appropriate in dealing with an often difficult and sensitive topic.
The entire thing is so heartfelt and sometimes painful. The pup tries to alter his appearance to resemble his mother, which will be all too familiar to parents of children with a different skin color. But the very next pages are about liking the pup as his is, and even liking the difference, leading to a conclusion that other people's opinions don't matter. It's a quick solution, yes, and not all kids in real-life will cope so well, but sometimes we need to see the easy route in books to reassure that the easy route is still possible.
A good pick for classrooms in general, but especially when you have a child going through these same trials.