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Grace from China
By Jacqueline Kolosov
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Review by Allison Martin

Grace from China is an intriguing novel for older children and adults about a family's adoption from China. But in addition to being a poignant book about an adoption journey, it is also the story of how the protagonist, ninth grader Jess, begins to recover from the unexpected death of her father. Jess's father was killed in a car accident as their family was in the process of adopting a baby from China. In a gesture of faith in life and a desire to continue his dream of providing a home for a waiting baby girl, Jess's mother makes the decision to continue with the adoption. Jess is still wrapped in grief over her father's death, but she rises to the challenge of bringing her sister home. When they travel to China, their family reaches out to new experiences - meeting their facilitator, the other tour members and visiting various spots around Guangzhou. They get to know their new baby in China, and the novel ends happily with her first Christmas at home.

This is a gentle book that I think many children and adults who are unfamiliar with adoption, or those who are older and whose family has adopted, will enjoy. The grief that Jess feels throughout the book is sad, but the overall theme is one of life going on.

Grace from China provides real insight into Jess's grief and her gradual re-entry into the world outside herself. It also brings to life the adoption journey. For adoptive familes, the book does a commendable job in explaining the importance of their family celebrating Chinese culture. I do wish there was a bit more actual information on China today and its history for these families, as this has such an impact on adoption and adoptees. However, for the general audience the complexity and depth of modern China is revealed through the eyes of the traveling Americans in the book. Overall, the images of China are memorable and you get a real feel for what it is like traveling with an eclectic adoption group in China. (Certainly different from traveling in Vietnam!)

I heartily recommend this book to anyone interested in adoption from China.

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