I am always in search of books that reflect Jewish diversity. Also, since our youngest child was adopted, I love books that can help her understand that adoption is just another way to grow a family. Rebecca’s Journey Home, a picture book by Brynn Olenberg Sugarman, combines both of these.
As a Jewish American mother of a Chinese daughter, I was able to immediately connect with the story. It was an emotional read from the dedication page onwards for me. Like us, the author chose to adopt after having biological children and, like us, she is raising her family with a strong connection to Judaism. There were many obvious differences between our families. Unlike the author’s family and the fictional family, we live in Hong Kong which is where our daughter is from. Our daughter was also much older when she was adopted. But, the similarities are more than enough that the story rings true.
But you don’t need to have similar ties to the story for the book to strongly resonate. The book gives young readers a glimpse at a culture that is likely very different from their own. The story beautifully helps explain, to young children, how people can have multiple ethnicities and identities. It is an excellent start to conversations about Jewish diversity, American multi-culturalism, and adoption.
Written by Brynn Odenberg Sugarman
Illustrated by Michelle Shapiro
Age Range: 3 and up
Publisher: Kar-Ben Publishing