105 Ways to Give a Book

Andy Shane; Sleepyhead: Adoption Month

Kids ready to move up to chapter books, but maybe with a little help, have a new, perfect series from Jennifer Richard Jacobson. The books are full stories with chapters, but retain the extra spacing underneath the sentences and accessible language. They also happen to be fun to read.

Andy Shane and the Very Bossy Dolores StarbuckleIn Andy Shane and the Very Bossy Dolores Starbuckle, Andy has trouble with a difficult girl at school. He tells his Granny Webb that he’s not going back, but when she stares him down, he realizes that he’s going all right. But Granny has a surprise for him. She comes to school too, and teaches the kids about bugs, her particular speciality. With some work — and the Granny stare — Andy is able to put Dolores in her place, and they may even be able to get along. The book doesn’t focus on Andy as an adopted child, but I loved this matter-of-fact statement about his family.
Andy Shane had lived with Granny Webb all his life. When he came into the world, he needed someone who could take good care of him. Granny Webb needed someone to share the fun of hilly woods, salamanders, and stories. So the two of them became a family. Just like that. Andy Shane never longed for more.
SleepyheadIt’s not exactly an adoption book, but I couldn’t resist mentioning Sleepyhead, by Karma Wilson. It’s a beautiful picture book, with the soft watercolor pictures of John Segal. In the simple story, a grown-up cat tries to get the little bear to go to sleep. But the little bear wants to delay bedtime just a little bit longer. I like the sing-song feel of the text — not a straight rhyme, but with rhyming words. Here’s some of it:
Sleepyhead, Sleepyhead.
Good night, good night,
My Sleepyhead.
Your teeth are brushed
Your book is read.
Go to sleep. It’s time for bed.

One more book, says Sleepyhead.
One thing in particular I like about the book is the characters: a cat and bear, both of indeterminate gender. It could be a mother and son, father and daughter, aunt and niece, Tom Cruise and Suri... The two characters from different species also leaves it open as an adoption story, perhaps of a child of a different race. In any case, it’s a lovely bedtime book to be shared with a special little bear of one’s own.

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