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My Progress:

12 / 30 books. 40% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
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My Progress:

28 / 51 states. 55% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

24 / 50 books. 48% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

23 / 50 books. 46% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

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48 / 50 books. 96% done!

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40 / 52 books. 77% done!

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27 / 40 books. 68% done!

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10 / 25 books. 40% done!

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12 / 26.2 miles. 46% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

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26 / 100 books. 26% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

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65 / 104 books. 63% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

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44 / 52 books. 85% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

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71 / 165 books. 43% done!
Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday: The Baby in My Mardi Gras King Cake

If you don't live in New Orleans, Louisiana, you might not realize that today is Mardi Gras.  The holiday has been celebrated annually in the city since the 1800's.  While the colorful parades and parties that typify the event have been cancelled this year due to the pandemic, the spirit of Mardi Gras lives on.  You can read all about it here.  Today's Top Ten Tuesday topic pays homage to the holiday by featuring book covers in Mardi Gras colors:  purple (represents justice), green (for faith), and gold (for power).  Since I've never experienced Mardi Gras for myself, nor do I really care to (a wild party for me is cuddling up with not one good book, but two), I'm going to go a little rogue with my TTT list today. 

On a Sunday back in 2008, my husband and I boarded a plane bound for New Orleans.  The beautiful baby girl we were about to adopt had just been born in the area and we were looking forward to getting her on Monday.  We had planned to spend Sunday playing tourists in NOLA, but then we got the surprise news that we could get our baby a day early.  From then on, the only sight-seeing we did in Louisiana was in a hospital and a hotel room. 
Adopting our sweet little girl was an incredible, life-changing experience.  I don't think it's a coincidence that it's a Mardi Gras tradition to bake a small baby toy into a king cake.  Whoever gets the slice with the trinket inside gets good luck and prosperity for the year.  We found our baby in Louisiana; since she has been nothing but a treasured blessing in our lives, we definitely feel like we were given the lucky slice!  

In honor of my daughter, I changed today's TTT list from Top Ten Purple, Yellow, and/or Green Book Covers (in honor of Mardi Gras) to Top Ten Books About Adoption.  I'm going to split my list into five that I've read and five that I want to read.

Before we get to that, though, I want to encourage you to join in the TTT fun.  It really is a good time and a great way to support this wonderful book blogging community that we all love so much.  Just hop on over to That Artsy Reader Girl for details.

Top Ten Books About Adoption   

Five I've Read:

1.  Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery—This book, which is one of my all-time favorites, features the mistaken adoption of a young orphaned girl by an aging brother and sister.  Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert intended to adopt a boy so they would have someone to help on their farm.  Although fiery Anne is not exactly what they had in mind, they soon find themselves thoroughly charmed by their irrepressible new daughter.

2.  How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr—This beautiful YA novel is probably the best book I've ever read about adoption.  It hit me in all the feels, let me tell you!  The story revolves around two teenage girls—one whose grieving mother decides out of the blue to adopt a baby and one who has agreed to place her unborn baby with the family.  As the birth grows nearer and nearer, the three women (each of whom has her own agenda) must figure out how to understand each other, trust each other, and, ultimately, decide what's best for one tiny human when all of their hopes, dreams, and goals are on the line.  It's a lovely read.

3.  The Length of a String by Elissa Brent Weissman—I read this middle-grade novel earlier this year and loved it.  It's about Imani, a 12-year-old bi-racial girl who was adopted by a white Jewish couple when she was a baby.  As her bat mitzvah approaches, Imani begins researching the story of her adopted great-grandmother's WWII escape from Luxembourg while also secretly trying to find her birth parents.  It's a sweet, engaging tale about one girl's heartfelt search for her "real" identity.

4.  A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley—This memoir tells the fascinating story of the author's adoption from India by a white couple from Australia.  Although his adoptive home was full of love and acceptance, Saroo felt an intense, burning need to find his birth family in India.  The fact that he was able to locate them with so little information to go on is nothing short of miraculous.  This is an incredible book, which was made into a touching film called Lion.

5.  Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda—Another beautiful novel, this one tells the parallel stories of two mothers.  One is a California pediatrician who is devastated when she finds out she is infertile.  The other is a poor woman in India who knows she can't afford to keep her newborn daughter.  When the American decides to adopt a baby from an Indian orphanage, their stories converge.    

Five I Haven't:

1.  All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung—Chung's Korean parents placed her for adoption when she was a baby.  Adopted by a white couple and raised in a sheltered Oregon town, Chung experienced the pain of racism and feeling out-of-place in her mismatched family.  Her memoir, which talks about her experiences with transracial adoption, sounds like an intriguing and illuminating read.

2.  The Kindest Lie by Nancy Johnson—I'm not sure how much adoption actually features in this novel, but it still sounds like a good read.  It's about a Black engineer who returns to the dying Indiana factory town where she grew up.  As she digs into her past (including adolescence, when she was forced to give up her baby), she discovers some shocking truths.

3.  The Lost Daughters of China by Karin Evans—This non-fiction book sounds absolutely heartbreaking, but also totally fascinating.  It's about the history of China's one-child policy, which led to numerous adoptions of female Chinese babies.

4.  Silent Tears: A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage by Kay Bratt—This memoir is about a foreign woman's experience as a volunteer in a Chinese orphanage.

5.  Half a World Away by Cynthia Kadohata—Adopted Jaden thinks he's an "epic fail."  No wonder his parents are traveling to Kazakhstan to adopt another baby!  When they all arrive at the orphanage, they discover "their" baby has already been adopted.  As the family attempts to choose another on the spot, Jaden makes a sweet new friend and comes to some realizations about himself and his family.  

There you go, five books about adoption that I loved and five I plan to read.  Has your life been touched by adoption?  Is it a subject you enjoy reading about?  Which books have you loved on the subject?  If you did the Mardi Gras prompt, which book covers did you choose?  I'd truly love to know.  Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on your blog.

Happy TTT!

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