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Three Names of Me

by Mary Cummings; illustrated by Lin WangAlbert Whitman & Company; $15.95; ages 4-8



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When my five-year-old saw the Chinese girl on the cover of this new book, Grace was intrigued.

The narrator of Three Names of Me was named Ada by her adoptive parents. Her first name, “whispered to [her] by [her] first mother,” is known somewhere in her heart; Wang Bin was the name given by her orphanage nannies. The illustration of a woman holding a newborn next to the text, “I am from someone I don’t even know,” may bring tears to parents and children alike. But, like a child’s moods, the book switches between having fun with friends and worrying about looking different, between family games and curiosity about where her traits came from. “Too sad” was my daughter’s take on Three Names of Me, yet she refused to let the book out of her sight for several days after that first reading.

Reviewed by Lee McClain, Ph.D., a professor of creative writing at Seton Hill University and an adoptive mom who lives in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.

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