Being Canadian, I didn’t grow up on Mister Roger’s Neighborhood. Yet not long after I moved to the United States, I had heard many praises of both the show and the man behind the screen. His positive legacy is that strong. And so, I felt curious to read Let’s Talk About It: Adoption by Fred Rogers.
According to the preface, Fred Roger’s sister “was adopted into our family when I was eleven years old”. Her adoption knocked him out of the elite position of being an only child. “Understanding all of that came very gradually for me–and for my sister.” Hence, the book Let’s Talk About It: Adoption, in which Fred Rogers invites parents and their children to talk about adoption.
Now something you need to keep in mind is that Mister Roger’s Neighborhood was aimed at young children from ages two to five. This is also about the age I’d consider appropriate for Let’s Talk About It: Adoption. Most pages have one sentence or sometimes or even only half a sentence. The page with the most text has only four sentences. The phrasing is simple and gentle: “Everyone has lots of feelings about being in a family. There are times when you feel happy. And there are times when you don’t feel happy.” Anyone who grew up with fond memories of Mister Roger’s Neighborhood, or simply want a safe book with which to start a discussion about adoption, will appreciate the calm and comforting style of Let’s Talk About It: Adoption.
Through this book, children will learn that everyone needs a family, being in a family means belonging, and one can belong to family by being born into or by being adopted. Rogers refers to adoption as “a special kind of love story” where the parents needed and wanted a child to love and the child needed parents to love and care for him. Rogers assures his young readers that ALL families have good and bad times; being angry doesn’t mean that love will go away. He tells them that the reasons they can’t stay with their birth parents all have to do with adult reasons, not with anything they did. He also says that if they have questions, it helps to talk.
Let’s Talk About It: Adoption would make a good book to start with for younger readers. If you’re looking for a book for older readers, I’d encourage you to turn to other books in my round-up. Many of them will also appeal to a broader range of ages. They will also will provide a more concrete overview of the process.
PS Being Canadian, I grew up on Mr. Dressup instead of Mister Rogers. In doing author research for this review, I found it interesting to learn that Rogers was friends with Ernie Coombs, the creator of Mr. Dressup, which is considered similar in many ways to Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Mr. Dressup also used some of the songs that were later featured on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
My rating? Read it: Borrow from your library or a friend. It’s worth your time.
Américas Award for Children’s & Young Adult Literature
CLASP founded the Américas Award in 1993 to encourage and commend authors, illustrators and publishers who produce quality children’s and young adult books that portray Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinos in the United States.
The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.
The Carnegie Medal is awarded annually to the writer of an outstanding book for children. It was established by in 1936, in memory of the great Scottish-born philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie.
The Christy Awards are awarded each year to recognize novels of excellence written from a Christian worldview.
Coretta Scott King Award
The Coretta Scott King Book Award titles promote understanding and appreciation of the culture of all peoples. It is given to African American authors and illustrator.
children and young adult blogger literacy awards
Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award
The Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award was initiated in 2000 to recognize authors, illustrators, and publishers of high quality fictional and biographical children, intermediate, and young adult books that appropriately portray individuals with deve
Hans Christian Anderson Award
The Hans Christian Andersen Awards is given to a living author and illustrator whose complete works have made a lasting contribution to children’s literature. The award is the highest international recognition an author can receive.
Kate Greenaway Medal
The Kate Greenaway Medal was established in 1955, for distinguished illustration in a book for children. It is named after the popular nineteenth century artist known for her fine children’s illustrations and designs.
Middle East Book Award
The Middle East Book Award recognizes quality books for children and young adults that contribute meaningfully to an understanding of the Middle East and its component societies and cultures.
Mythopoeic Fantasy Award
Honors fantasy books for younger readers, in the tradition of The Hobbit or The Chronicles of Narnia
Newbery Medal Award
The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.
Pura Belpré Award
The award is named after Pura Belpré, the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library. It is presented annually to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino experience.
Red House Book Award
The Red House Children’s Book Award is a series of literary prizes for works of children’s literature published during the previous year in England.
Sydney Taylor Award
The Sydney Taylor Book Award is presented annually to outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience.