From the cover of My Very Own Aliens by Amanda Barton & Joel Schoon-Tanis:
“A girl is reunited with her brother, but at the cost of visiting with an odd pair of aliens who exclaim, ‘We Want To Get To Know You And Your Brother.’ My Very Own Alien is for children – adopted, step, or foster – who have lost what is familiar to them as they join a new family. Children will be reassured that what they’re feeling is normal, and parents will be, too.”
Transfiguring Adoption awarded this book 5 Hoots out of 5 based on how useful it will be for a foster/adoptive family. [Learn more about our Hoot grading system here]
What Our Family Thought:
This books appears to have been written for adoptive or foster families. The story seems to be best suited for children who are between the ages of 5 to 8 years old. The main character in the book appears to be a girl who is in the foster care system and separated from her brother who is in another foster home. The book obviously appeals directly to families formed from adoption from foster care as the story follows the journey the children make as they are successfully adopted. This book would be good for families made up of various races, as the children are African-American and the adoptive parents appear to be Caucasian.
The illustrations are colorful and whimsical. They are executed in a good balance of realism and expressionism. Children will be able to not only identify with the people in the books but also stay in tune with the emotions conveyed through the fluid designs. The illustrations are significant to the story line as the adoptive parents, who are represented by alien imagery, progressively take on human shape as the people involved in the adoption begin to become more of a family. As was mentioned before this story is told from the perspective of a young African-American girl, who has been separated from her younger brother in the foster care system. The tale follows their journey as they are successfully adopted and then live with an adoptive couple.
The book’s main focus appears to be the interpretation the young girl takes of the situations she is finding herself. Through most of the book the language and actions of the prospective adoptive parents are very unusual – Thus, the book uses the imagery of aliens to effectively to convey this point.
Transfiguring Adoption appreciates that this book strives to convey the struggles and the communication difficulties that commonly occur in a newly adoptive or foster family. There appear to be various parental phrases used throughout the book in which the main character interprets into her own language – that of a young foster-adoptive girl.
Overall, this book appears to do well in conveying the emotions and thought processes that a child exhibits through the adoption process.
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It’s Your Turn:
- Why do you think the parents look like aliens at first?
- What were some things the “aliens” said that the girl did not like?
- What did the girl like the “aliens” saying?
- What is the girl nervous about asking her parents?
- Do you get nervous about talking to your foster/adoptive parent(s)?
- What do you like your parent(s) telling you?
- What are some strange things that you foster/adoptive family do/say?