We adopted you, Benjamin Koo by Linda Walvoord Girard
Wow. I love this book! It got everything just right. We are definitely adding it to our collection!
The story is told by a nine-year-old Korean adoptee named Benjamin. He talks about a lot of the aspects of adoption that are challenging for adopted kids such as not knowing why you were placed for adoption, what your birth family was like, and trying to figure out how you fit in to your new family. It also acknowledges issues specific to IA kids such as looking different than your family, integrating birth country culture/rituals, and being teased about your appearance.
The story is direct and straightforward. It's written simply and in a language that kids will connect to. It provides a lot of great topics for parents to discuss with kids, and ways that kids can learn to handle big feelings. Here's an example:
"I began to feel angry because other kids knew their biological families, and I never would. One time, when my mom made me obey a rule, I got mad. "I'm leaving!" I shouted. "I'm going back to Korea! I'll find my real mother, and she'll be nice to me!"
My mom stayed calm. "You have a real mom, and that's me," she said. "I know you're upset, but you have to mind my rules."
I started to run away. I really did. Then I realized I'd get to the end of the sidewalk, and I wouldn't know which way Korea was!
That night Dad hugged me and said he was glad I had decided to stay. But I still felt like I was on the sidewalk, not sure where to turn."
"I do have one problem. It's the kids at school. Fourth grade can be tough. A few kids call me "Chink" when they tease. Some people don't want to know anything about me. They just think I'm from Afghanistan or Hawaii or Timbuktu.
"I don't like him," I heard a girl say. "He's Japanese."
"Yeah, but watch out---he probably knows karate," said the other kid.
I don't know karate, and I'm not Japanese. It hurts when kids tease me or talk about me like I"m an alien from the moon.
I can answer the teasers with a fact: I'm an American. Or else I can be friendly and say, "I was born in Korea. Where were you born?" Sometimes my best bet is to ignore people when they're being mean. And I've learned to concentrate on my good friends, the kids who like me the way I am."
Right now, this book is WAY over Little Man's age, 2 1/2. But I think maybe about 4-5 years old he'll be at the right age to start reading it, even if he doesn't fully understand everything in it.