Saturday, December 23, 2006

Our First 2007 Book Review: KIMCHI AND CALAMARI

Can you believe that it is time for 2007 books!? I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of KIMCHI AND CALAMARI by Rose Kent. Since she had read that I am a mom by adoption, she thought I might like it. She was right!

KIMCHI AND CALAMARI is a book about a middle school boy named Joseph, who is part of an Italian Family. Joseph was born in Korea and adopted by his parents when he was a baby. He has two younger sisters. I loved this book for two reasons. It is a great coming of age story. Joseph is a character that you care about. He is going through the normal teen stuff (girls, school, etc.). I also loved it because of the adoption piece. Joseph is struggling a bit with his identity that becomes a bit more complicated after a school assignment that asks him to write about his heritage--is he Italian or Korean? I think that this book will be a great one for my daughter as she gets older and wonders about her own heritage and tries to figure out who she is. The thing I like most about this adoption thread, is that Joseph is still living his life--his issues about his birthfamily are one part of his life, but not his whole life. His parents are believable in the way they respond. I imagine the adoption community will give big praise to this book. I don't know of another book for middle grade kids that approaches adoption and birthfamily searches in such an authentic, yet age-appropriate way. Joseph is a teenager in the book. But as I read it, I realized that the span of reader age-appropriateness is broad. If a child needed this book when he/she was in elementary school, I think it would be appropriate. Rose Kent did a great job of writing an engaging story with a good plot. She wrote about a character that I loved and wrote about adoption as one part of a child's identity.

I feel so lucky to have read this book before it is actually in bookstores. I plan to tell all my friends who have adopted children about it. And I am looking forward to anything else Rose Kent may write:-)

I lucked out on my first 2007 read. Hopefully, this is a sign about how the whole year of reading will go!

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