Work Title: Rebecca's Journey Home
Work Author(s): Brynn Olenberg Sugarman; Michelle Shapiro, illustrator
Color illustrations, 32 pages, Hardcover $17.95
Children's Picture Book
Reviewer: KaaVonia Hinton
Any day now Jacob and Gabriel Stein will be big brothers! The yearlong adoption process has finally come to a fruitful end. "Is today the day?" they wonder, fully aware that their mother's suitcase has been packed for several weeks awaiting her trip to Vietnam to pick up their infant sister. When the family meets Le Thi Hong, they decide to give her an English name, Rebecca Rose. After her conversion to Judaism, she is also given a Hebrew name, Rivka Shoshanah. "She was Vietnamese, American, and Jewish. 'And she'll be many more things someday,'" her mother assures the family.
Based on the author's experience adopting a Vietnamese baby, this debut picture book tackles the complexity of racial, cultural, and ethnic identity within a warm, reassuring family unit. The author earned a B.A. degree in creative writing from the State University of New York's Binghamton University and an M.A. in English literature from Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She has published poetry in a number of journals.
Whether depicting a close-knit family welcoming Shabbat, two brothers beaming with pride while looking at photos of their baby sister, or a father embracing his daughter as she prepares for the mikvah, the ritual bath, the pastel-colored cartoon-like illustrations convey excitement, anticipation, and affection. The few scenes in...