Monday, July 9, 2012

Les Livres du Lundi

Among my recent readings was a book that I received in a blog giveaway from a fellow adoptive mom, whom we actually met in Ethiopia.  Love You More by Jennifer Grant is a thoughtful reflection on adoption, specifically through the lens of the author’s own family, which includes a daughter who was adopted from Guatemala as a toddler.  The narrative that surrounds Grant’s family formation is full of often humorous episodes and insightful notions.  At times throughout the book, chronology is made subordinate to a line of thought, giving rise to the possibility of some confusion about the who’s, what’s, when’s and where’s.  Once the reader becomes accustomed to the meandering manner of story-telling, however, these skips and jumps can be easily taken in stride.  What is especially appealing about this book is its honest appraisal of the hardships of the adoption process--even in a family which seems to “be successful” throughout.  Additionally, the book is obviously well-informed about a variety of adoption practices and provides some excellent educational information and diverse perspectives regarding adoption in general.  I truly enjoyed reading this book.

Our latest family read-aloud was Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis.  In the last year or so, it has been my intention to provide resources around our home that present the history of black slavery and the realities of racism.  This engaging story, set in the real-life “free town” of Buxton, Ontario in 1860, helps to highlight the contrast between freedom and slavery.  Elijah, the eleven-year-old free-born son of escaped slaves, has the opportunity to see the heartache of slavery through the lives of his neighbors, their families, and a harrowing adventure across the Michigan border.  This boy, considered too “fra-gile” to be of much good to most of the townfolk proves himself a hero in the end.  I think this book was helpful in providing an understanding of some of the disturbing realities of slavery.  It prompted many questions among my children (as well as games of slave-holders vs. abolitionists and new catch phrases like “That don’t make no sense…that don’t make no sense atall!”).  I hope that we might, someday, be able to visit present-day Buxton, which remains a predominantly black community composed largely of descendants of original settlers who had traveled the Underground Railroad.  The town also boasts a well-respected nationalhistoric site and museum.  I would definitely recommend Elijah of Buxton as a read-aloud for any family that is wanting to learn more about the course of black slavery and freedom in North America.

Happy Reading!

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