Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘Adoption’

Elliot gets a 4 STAR review from E. R. Bird

Posted on October 26th, 2016 by pajamapress

Elliot_Website…[P]icture books carry heavy burdens, far above and beyond their usual literacy needs. People use picture books for all sorts of reasons. There are picture books for high school graduates, for people to read aloud during wedding ceremonies, for funerals, and as wry adult jokes. On the children’s side, picture books can help parents and children navigate difficult subjects and topics. From potty training to racism, complicated historical moments and new ways of seeing the world, the picture book has proved to be an infinitely flexible object. The one purpose that is too little discussed but is its most complicated and complex use is when it needs to explain the inexplicable….Julie Pearson’s book Elliot takes on that burden…It works in some ways, and it doesn’t work in others, but when it comes to the attempt itself it is, quite possibly, heroic….

Let me say right here and now that this is the first picture book about the foster care system, in any form, that I have encountered. Middle grade fiction will occasionally touch on the issue, though rarely in any depth. Yet in spite of the fact that thousands and thousands of children go through the foster care system, books for them are nonexistent….For children with parents who are out of the picture for other reasons, they may take some comfort in this book…

Pearson is attempting to make this accessible for young readers, so that means downplaying some of the story’s harsher aspects….

Artist Manon Gauthier is the illustrator behind this book and here she employs a very young, accessible style. Bunnies are, for whatever reason, the perfect animal stand-in for human problems and relationships, and so this serious subject matter is made younger on sight….

Could this book irreparably harm a child if they encountered it unawares? Short Answer: No. Long Answer: Not even slightly. But could they be disturbed by it? Sure could….I’ll confess something to you, though. As I put this book out for review, my 4-year-old daughter spotted it. And, since it’s a picture book, she asked if I could read it to her….I decided to explain beforehand as much as I could about children with developmental disabilities and the foster care system. In some ways this talk boiled down to me explaining to her that some parents are unfit parents, a concept that until this time had been mercifully unfamiliar to her. After we read the book, her only real question was why Elliot had to go through so many foster care families, so we got to talk about that for a while. It was a pretty valuable conversation and not one I would have had with her without the prompting of the book itself. So outside of children that have an immediate need of this title, there is a value to the contents.

…Books like Elliot are exceedingly rare sometimes….Elliot confronts issues few other titles would dare, and if it looks like one thing and ends up being another, that’s okay….It’s funny, strange, and sad but ultimately hopeful at its core. Social workers, teachers, and parents will find it one way or another, you may rest assured. For many libraries it will end up in the “Parenting” section. Not for everybody (what book is?) but a godsend to a certain few.

For ages 4-7.”

Click here to read the full review

Elliot is “a must-read,” says Today’s Parent

Posted on March 3rd, 2016 by pajamapress

Elliot_Website“Written by Julie Pearson (an adoptive mother) and illustrated by Manon Gauthier, Elliot is a gentle guide to the foster child system from a kid’s point of view. Elliot’s parents love him, but when he starts crying and misbehaving they don’t know what to do. That’s when Elliot meets a social worker named Thomas…

…The book tackles a complex issue in an approachable and kid-friendly way with adorable bunny characters and soft collage illustrations. It’s a must-read.”

Click here to read the full post.

Elliot recommended to Librarians by SLJ

Posted on March 1st, 2016 by pajamapress

Elliot_WebsiteDespite this book’s serious subject matter—a child who needs foster care—its tone is calm and soothing. Pearson creates a rhythm by repeating the three major ways that a young rabbit named Elliot is misunderstood by a series of adult caregivers, beginning with his parents. They love him but don’t know why he cries, and they don’t know how to respond when he yells or misbehaves. Fortunately, his parents ask for help, and Thomas, clearly a social worker, places Elliot with a foster family, while his parents are taught “how to take better care of him.” This new family understands him and meets his needs. Still, Elliot enjoys his parents’ visits but is nervous when he returns to live with them. When the old problems recur, Thomas places Elliot with another foster family. The child adjusts to his new environment and is happy to be understood. His parents visit, and he wants to live with them again. Eventually, he returns to his birth parents, but the problems persist, and this time Thomas promises Elliot to find a “forever family.” This popular phrase conveys the eternal commitment that adoptive parents and siblings share with an adopted child, and Elliot’s ultimate placement with a loving “forever family” turns out to be the best resolution. Gauthier’s gouache and pencil drawings are simple but poignantly depict the range of emotions Elliot experiences. The muted colors also help reinforce the low-key, reassuring message. Pearson handles this delicate subject with an understandable, sensitive, and sympathetic text. VERDICT Recommended for libraries seeking books to help young children understand that birth parents sometimes do not how to care for them and that other caregivers must enter their lives.School Library Journal

“Naif-styled rabbits” tell the story of adoption, foster care and finding a forever family—Publishers Weekly

Posted on February 17th, 2016 by pajamapress

Elliot_WebsiteElliot– a young rabbit with a tendency to cry, yell, and misbehave– moves between several homes in this story of adoption, foster care, and finding a “forever family.” Debut author Pearson never blames Elliot for his behavior (it’s unclear if he’s meant to have a developmental disorder), instead focusing on his parents’ inability to understand their son. After Elliot’s parents seek help, he is sent to live temporarily with an unfamiliar but loving family. Elliot later returns to his parents, but this proves short-lived; following a stint with a second foster family, Elliot is told that his parents could never take care of him, because they did not know how. A muted palette of gray, blue, and manila reflects the somber, uncertain mood, and Gauthier’s (“Magic Little Words”) naif-styled rabbits resemble cutout paper dolls dropped into the scenes, suggestive of the way Elliot is shuttled around. Elliot eventually finds a family that understands him, and while the book’s somewhat oblique language may require supplemental explanation from adult readers, Pearson’s refusal to sugarcoat his journey should resonate with children in similar situations.Publishers Weekly

Click here to read the full review: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-927485-85-9

Elliot “A simple yet powerful tale of hope, love, and belonging”—CM Magazine

Posted on January 19th, 2016 by pajamapress

“…The illustrations in Elliot are beautifully designed using a simple collage format and soft neutral tones. Gauthier’s pencil lines and detailed sketching are clearly visible throughout, adding a delightfully innocent and child-like feel to the book. The text flows effortlessly from beginning to end and offers repetitive passages which young children will unquestionably enjoy reciting aloud…

Elliot_WebsiteSince relatively few picture books currently exist that offer an intimate glimpse into the foster child system, Elliot is a much welcomed and necessary literary contribution. Children who have undergone experiences similar to those of Elliot will undoubtedly enjoy having a story and character that they can easily identify with. This book would be a valuable contribution to any primary classroom, particularly those including students who reside in foster homes. A simple yet powerful tale of hope, love, and belonging, Elliot tugs on the heartstrings and leaves readers with a heightened appreciation of the courage and resiliency of foster children and their families.

Highly Recommended.”

Click here to read the full review.

One Step at a Time Wins Silver Birch Non-Fiction Award

Posted on May 15th, 2014 by pajamapress

OneStepAtATimePajama Press is proud to announce that One Step at a Time: A Vietnamese Child Finds Her Way  by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch has won the Silver Birch Non-Fiction Book Award™ at today’s Festival of Trees in Toronto. The longest-running award in the Ontario Library Association’s Forest of Reading® program, the Silver Birch Award is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

One Step at a Time is the companion book to Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War, which was an honour book for the Red Maple Non-Fiction Award™ last year. Last Airlift has also won the Red Cedar Information Book Award and been a Top-5 Finalist for the CYBILS Award, a Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choice, and a Bank Street Best Book. One Step at a Time was also a finalist for the Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award, a Canadian Children’s Book Centre Best Books for Kids & Teens starred selection, and a Bank Street Best Book.

This is the second year in a row that a Pajama Press book has won the Silver Birch Non-Fiction Award™. Last year Rob Laidlaw’s No Shelter Here: Making the World a Kinder Place for Dogs took home that honour. This year two other Pajama Press books were nominated for the Forest of Reading®: A Good Trade by Alma Fullerton and Karen Patkau for the Blue Spruce Award™, and Nix Minus One by Jill MacLean for the White Pine Fiction Award™.

The Forest of Reading® is a children’s choice reading program run by the Ontario Library Association. Each year, over 250,000 participants read a shortlist of books in their age category and vote for their favourites. Pajama Press is honoured to be a part of this important program, which brings excellent Canadian literature to more children than any other reading program in the country.

MarshaAwardCropped

Congratulations, Marsha!

Everead shares why One Step at a Time was a CYBILS longlist favourite

Posted on April 14th, 2014 by pajamapress

“…In general, the book is great for showing us a new perspective: look through the eyes of someone who was adopted as an older child. Look through the eyes of someone with a physical handicap. Look through the eyes of someone who doesn’t speak English.

OneStepAtATimeI’ve told you now why the story is remarkable. Let me add the icing on the cake: the writing is so simple and clean it doesn’t distract from the story at all. Because of that, this book would make an excellent read-aloud. There is no extra material. In a story like this it would be easy for the author to make the book sappy, like “My new life is all so magical!” It doesn’t happen. It would be easy to smudge the story with dirt, “My life before was horrible and this is bad, too!” Skrypuch also avoids this. She writes in the perfect middle where matter-of-fact events meet with honest emotion. The writing style really gets out of the way of the story and hides so well that, unless you’re looking closely, you don’t even notice how well it is done…”

Click here to read the full post.

Good News Toronto shares books to help kids through new beginnings

Posted on January 16th, 2014 by pajamapress

OneStepAtATimeGood News Toronto has shared a list of books to help kids deal with new beginnings. Among them is One Step at a Time: A Vietnamese Child Finds Her Way by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch:

“One Step at a Time: A Vietnamese Child Finds Her Way by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch (published by Pajama Press)is the true story of Tuyet, an orphaned refugee from wartorn Vietnam who is adopted by a Canadian family. Life in a strange country with a new language presents many challenges, including the first of six operations to repair her left leg, which was deformed by polio. Through incredible determination and strength of character, along with the support of her family, Tuyet learns to walk without the aid of crutches. Readers 8 to 11 years old will marvel at Tuyet’s perseverance and laugh at moments when she reveals her unfamiliarity with Canadian customs, such as when Tuyet doesn’t understand why her first-ever birthday cake is ‘on fire.’”

Click here to read the full list.

Jean Little Library recommends One Step at a Time

Posted on April 8th, 2013 by pajamapress

“Skrypuch’s simple language captures the fear and bewilderment of a girl who’s barely had time to deal with the trauma of her escape from Vietnam and new life in a strange country when she’s confronted with yet another frightening experience. Tuyet still doesn’t speak English and although she knows they’re trying to fix her leg, she doesn’t understand why they’re doing it the way they are. However, with the help of friends she makes it through the operation. Then the real work begins as she struggles with physical therapy and recovery. However, Tuyet has boundless determination and insists on standing on her own two feet, both emotionally and physically, and finally triumphs. Along the way there are incidents and growing experiences that give the reader a good look not only at Tuyet’s childhood but also at the time period…Recommended.”

Click here to read the full review.

 

Last Airlift is a CCBC Choice 2013

Posted on March 28th, 2013 by pajamapress

The Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has released their CCBC Choices 2013 publication. Among the exemplary books selected is Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch’s Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War, released in the US in 2012:

“The last Canadian airlift to leave Saigon during the Vietnam War was on April 11, 1975. The plane carried 57 babies and children, along with rescue workers. Son Thi Anh Tuyet was one of the orphans on board. About nine years old at the time, she was experienced helping care for younger children and babies—something she did all the time at the orphanage where she’d lived. So perhaps it was no surprise that when she first met the Morris family in Toronto a few weeks later, she assumed the couple with three young children had picked her to be their helper, not their daughter. But they had chosen her to be their child, and in the coming weeks and months, as Tuyet adjusts to life in the West, she also begins to understand what it means to be part of a family, and loved unconditionally. Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch never strays from Tuyet’s child-centered perspective in recounting her experiences. In an author’s note, Skrypuch describes interviewing Tuyet (obviously now an adult), who found that she remembered more and more of the past as she talked. Dialogue takes this narrative out of the category of pure nonfiction, but Tuyet’s story, with its occasional black-and-white illustrations, is no less affecting because of it.”

For more information about the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, visit their website at http://www.education.wisc.edu/ccbc.