In Emily Out of Focus by Miriam Spitzer Frankin, 12- year-old Emily flies with her parents to China to adopt and bring home a new baby sister.
Emily is excited but nervous to travel across the world. She's uncertain about the new baby. After twelve years alone with her parents, her life is about to change.
In the adoption trip group, Emily meets Katherine, a Chinese American girl whose family returned to China to adopt a second child. As the girls become friends, Katherine reveals a secret: she's determined to find her birth mother, and she wants Emily's help.
With her parents busy with the new baby, Emily is eager for adventure. But helping Katherine means sneaking out of the hotel to post fliers in the park where Katherine was left as a baby. Emily wants to be a good friend. Plus, she has a feeling that snapping photos of Katherine at her "finding spot", the spot where her birth mother left her, will help her win an important photo contest.
I loved how Emily grows throughout this story. Initially jealous of her new sister, trips to the orphanage and Katherine's "finding spot" help Emily learn to appreciate the meaning of family.
This book is full of rich setting details. The author adopted a daughter from China, and this story overflows with the scents and sights she experienced. Perhaps more importantly, it depicts the intense emotion of international adoption. I was left with the sense that we all have common bonds--adopted moms and dads with their children, adopted siblings with each other, and adopted children with their biological families.
My rating: Five stars
About the author:
Miriam Spitzer Franklin is a former elementary and middle school teacher who currently teaches homeschooled students and is a writer in residence with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. She lives with her husband, two daughters, and two cats in Charlotte, North Carolina.