[Book Review] Megan's Birthday Tree

Author Jennifer Davidson reviews this children's book about nurturing the tie between child and birth parents in open adoption. Reviewed by Jennifer Davidson

Megan's Birthday Tree

Albert Whitman & Company; 2005; Ages 3-8

Buy Megan’s Birthday Tree: A Story About Open Adoption on Amazon.com >

When Megan was born, her birth mother, Kendra, planted a tree in her backyard. Every year on Megan’s birthday, Kendra decorates the tree and sends photos of it to Megan, in honor of their special bond. When Megan learns that Kendra will be moving, she can’t help but worry that her birth mother might forget her without the Birthday Tree to remind her. Megan goes to great lengths to ensure that the tradition lives on. Yet, in the end, it is Kendra who has an even greater surprise for Megan, a gesture of love that confirms the connection Megan was trying so desperately to save.

Told through the eyes of a young girl struggling to define her relationship with her birth mother, this compassionate story looks inside Megan’s heart as she moves through the fragile and very real emotions of open adoption. Because her loving parents understand the importance of their daughter’s relationship with her birth mother, Megan is able to turn to them for comfort, and she knows they support her in her search for answers that she must ultimately find on her own. The healthy adoption triad of child, birth, and adoptive parents is beautifully portrayed and validated.

Megan’s Birthday Tree, written by Laurie Lears, is a slice of every adopted child’s story—the need to confirm the connection with biological roots, be it in the form of family, customs, culture, or a homeland—to help them define who they are.

Written in simple language and beautifully illustrated with warm, detailed images that capture the human emotion of this story, Megan’s Birthday Tree is an ideal book to share with young children as their own adoption stories begin to unfold.

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