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Adoption Blog: Straight to Bunk Beds

A Book Older Internationally Adopted Children Will Love

We spend a great deal of time and energy preparing for school assignments that are tricky for adopted children like our 10-year-old Polish-born son. We're not always sure how we will handle them but we hope to make the right decisions. Sometimes we forget that the school is indeed trying very hard to continue to add diversity to their teaching—making it easier for families like ours. Recently, for his fourth grade class's weekly reading assignment, our son read the story I'm New Here by Bud Howlett.

The book is about a fifth-grade girl named Jazmin Escalante who recently moved from El Salvador to the United States with her family. The story begins with Jazmin sharing her anxiety with her mother about starting school and follows her through her first days in her new school in America. Through Jazmin’s experiences, the story demonstrates the difficulties and challenges a Spanish-speaking student faces when enrolled in an English-only school.

I’m New Here parallels my son's story in so many ways that he smiled and nodded knowingly the whole way through. He has been home with us in the United States just the right amount of time—about 20 months now—to not only make the connections but also to want to talk about his own experiences as a brand-new second-grader who did not speak or understand English. We had to pause after almost every paragraph as there was just so much he wanted to say about his personal connections to the story.

We have used I’m New Here as a reference point many times in conversations since reading the story earlier this school year. There are so few books out there that really relate to the experience of older internationally adopted children that stumbling upon one that sparked these conversations has been priceless. Rest assured, our son’s teacher and principal received an e-mail thanking them for including diverse subject matters in their curriculum! Kudos to well-meaning teachers everywhere.

What books or resources, adoption related or not, have you found helpful to get conversations going with your adopted youngsters? It seems that the good ones are few and far between... Any suggestions would be appreciated!

More on School and Adoption from Adoptive Families:

What Your Adopted Child's Teacher Needs to Know

Tackling Tricky Assignments

Raising a Bilingual Child

Related Posts on AdoptiveFamiliesCircle


Thanks for pointing this book out, Sarah. It sounds great.

By Sharon Van Epps on Friday, December 10, 2010 at 7:43 pm.

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