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Rebecca's Journey Home Library Binding – November 1, 2006

9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 4–Jacob and Gabe, ages eight and four, prepare for their mother's trip to Vietnam to bring home their new baby sister. The author is successful in explaining both the intricacies of adoption procedures as well as details of life in an observant Jewish home. A smattering of Vietnamese culture is also included. The appealing and bright watercolor illustrations show touches of whimsy and lightheartedness that add to the story. The true multicultural aspect of this book emerges as the baby is immersed into the Mikvah (ritual bath) and given her Hebrew name. She is Vietnamese, American, and Jewish, and, Mrs. Stein says, she'll be many more things someday. Mr. Stein replies, You can be as many things as you want to be. Or at least you can try.–Lisa Silverman, Sinai Temple Library, Los Angeles
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

... [Tells] the international adoption story in words and pictures that confront adoption issues with sympathy and love, including the painful facts of biological parents forced to abandon their children. [...]

Sugarman, who has an adopted daughter from Vietnam, draws on her experience to tell a moving story of a Jewish family and their baby girl "who will always be Vietnamese and Jewish and American." Much of the story is told from the viewpoint of the American siblings, Jacob and Gabriel, who see their mother leave for Vietnam, eagerly read her e-mails with photos, and hug their baby sister in welcome. The graphic-style pictures show the family bliss at home, the ritual of the baby's conversion to Judaism, and the ongoing celebration of her rich cross-cultural heritage. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
  • Library Binding: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Kar-Ben Publishing; 1st edition (November 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580131573
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580131575
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 8.3 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,255,711 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Brynn Olenberg Sugarman graduated from SUNY Binghamton with a BA in Creative Writing and from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem with an MA in English Literature. She is the author of "Rebecca's Journey Home", an award-winning picture book. "Midnight at the Taj Mahal" is her first novel and reflects her lifelong love of travel and fascination with time travel. It is the first book in the "Out-of-School Adventures" series. Brynn lives with her husband and three children in Ra'anana, Israel, close to the sparkling Mediterranean Sea.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jewish Book World Magazine on March 13, 2007
Format: Library Binding
Mrs. Stein is eager to adopt a new baby girl to add to her family, consisting of herself and Mr. Stein, along with Jacob (age 8), and Gabe (age 4). As she tells her family," There were so many babies and children in the world whose parents had loved them, but could not take care of them". The story follows familiar territory- over a period of a year, Mrs. Stein gets ready for the big day; she needs to fill out documents, answer questions, and attend meetings until she is finally told there is a baby waiting for her in Vietnam. While in Vietnam, she patiently waits for permission to take the baby home and spends her time shopping and emailing her family who can't wait to meet baby Rebecca. Back in the United States, the focus is on Rebecca's Judaism; on Shabbat, a special blessing is made for her. When she is almost one; Rebecca is taken to the mikvah and given the Hebrew name, Rivka Shoshanah. As her mother proudly states, " She is now Vietnamese, American, and Jewish!".

This endearing picture book perfectly captures the growing trend of international adoption among the American Jewish community. Warm, stylized pastel double-spread illustrations complement the text and make this a great book for sharing aloud. The author, a mom with an adopted Vietnamese baby, draws on her own experiences, to realistically portray the excitement and joy of having a new family member. For all families, this title would be especially useful in a Jewish preschool or temple library.

Ages 4-8.

Reviewed by Debby Gold
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rachel Kamin on January 27, 2007
Format: Library Binding
A picture book portraying a Jewish-American family adopting a child from overseas is long overdue and Rebecca's Journey Home handles the subject with sensitivity and warmth. The beautifully written text explains how the Stein family, with two biological children, wish to build their family and share their home with one of the many children in the world "whose parents had loved them but could not take care of them." Each Shabbat since the beginning of their adoption process the family blesses their two boys and includes a blessing for their new daughter in Vietnam. They explain to their sons that while their new sister Rebecca will always be Vietnamese, she will also be American and Jewish. The story ends with Rebecca's trip to the mikveh where she receives her Hebrew name. This book will especially appeal to families with adopted children and libraries who wish to celebrate the diversity of the Jewish community.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Heidi Estrin on January 24, 2008
Format: Library Binding
Hear an interview with Rebecca's Journey Home author Brynn Olenberg Sugarman on The Book of Life podcast's September 2007 episode "Seeing Through New Eyes," at [...] Brynn talks about the book's creation, and the inspiration for adopting her own daughter, Rachel.
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Format: Library Binding Verified Purchase
What a lovely journey for the reader as well! Not just another well written children's book that sends a loving message to the reader of how an Israeli family is an all-inclusive one, but sharing with the reader - young and old, that indeed 'home is where the heart is' and how families in Israel are a living testimony to 'walking the walk' when embracing children - regardless of ethnic origin - into a warm, loving, family circle. I like to think of how this is reflective, too, of the current situation in Israel - and recall what Golda Meir said...'Israel will have peace when the Arabs love their children more than they hate ours...' Perhaps this is not the essence of this lovely 'journey' , but a journey that needs to be taken, as well...by Israel's neighbors. Hazak, hazak! Go from strength to strength!
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Format: Library Binding
This touchingly illustrated book normalizes the adoption path toward building a Jewish family. The author describes the process of adding a Vietnamese-born child to a Jewish family. The text resonnates with its simplicity. Even though it is filled with warm emotions, it is never corny and respects the diversity that it added to a family in a multi-cultural adoption as an addition of greater wealth of identities. This book would appeal to children as young as 3 and up to about 8.
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